Shared-Reading Dynamics: Mothers' Question Use and the Verbal Participation of Children With Specific Language Impairment
PurposeIn this study, the authors used sequential analysis to explore bidirectional and dynamic dependencies between mothers' question use and children's verbal participation during shared reading. MethodThe sample was composed of mothers and their preschool-age children with specific language impairment (SLI; n = 14). Each mother and child extratextual utterance was transcribed and coded. Mother utterances were coded as "questions" or "other"; in turn, questions were coded for cognitive challenge and topic directiveness. Child utterances were coded as "verbal participation" (related to the book) or "other"; utterances designated as verbal participation were also coded for level of production (minimal, low, high) on the basis of their mean length of utterance. ResultsDescriptive data show variability in mothers' question use and some variability in the level of children's verbal participation during shared reading. However, mothers' question use did not facilitate higher levels of verbal participation by children. Furthermore, the level of children's verbal participation did not influence the cognitive challenge and topic directiveness of mothers' question use. ConclusionsThe findings were contrary to hypotheses and collectively suggest potentially unique and challenging verbal dynamics between mothers and their young children with SLI during shared-reading experiences. Future directions for research are discussed.