Research to reveal whether reading aloud is key to early literacy

August 24, 2016

Study investigates the importance of reading aloud to children.The importance of reading aloud to primary school aged children is the focus of a new study underway at Murdoch University.

Dr Sue Ledger and Dr Margaret Merga have begun a two year study in Western Australia schools examining the frequency of parents and teachers reading aloud to children.

“The benefits of teachers and parents reading aloud to children are well established but very little is known about the regularity of this practice,” Dr Ledger said.

“We are particularly interested in discovering how common this practice is within immigrant or disadvantaged families.”

The Murdoch University researchers have begun surveys with children from 21 Western Australian primary schools, finding out about practices of reading aloud.

“As well as measuring how often these sessions take place, we want to know how long sessions go for,” said Dr Ledger.

“We are also particularly interested in finding out what barriers prevent or restrict the practice of reading aloud.”

Building on this widespread survey, the researchers will conduct in depth interviews with children in Years 3 to 6 from seven schools to explore the students’ perceptions of sharing the reading aloud experience with parents and teachers.

“This project will yield important insights into the current practice of reading aloud at school and home, and show whether this practice becomes less common as children grow older,” Dr Ledger said.

“This information will provide a foundation for future intervention in early literacy in Western Australia.”

The study, which is supported by the Collier Charitable Fund, will be completed in late 2017.

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