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A Meta-Analysis on the Variables of Storybook Reading Relative to Emergent Literacy Skill Development


Emergent literacy skills have been found to be an important predictor of future linguistic acquisition and academic success. Studies have also shown that children who are consistently exposed to good quality and regular quantities of sound-letter recognition, such as storybook reading, have improved trajectories for attaining literacy skills prior to beginning kindergarten. The underlying factor is the quality of storybook reading rather than the quantity. A seminal meta-analysis conducted by Scarborough and Dobrich (1994) found that parent-preschooler reading experiences explained only 8% of the variance in early literacy achievement. Shared reading supports oral language and non-language developments, but being read to is not enough (Meyer et al., 1992). Engaging children with the explicit purpose of expanding their literacy skills is essential for their cognitive, literacy, and numeracy development (Norris & Anderson, 2008). This meta-analysis was designed to examine the effects of specific variables impacting the overall effectiveness of storybook reading as an intervention in developing emergent literacy skills, specifically the effects of explicit instruction during storybook reading. Results showed that this additional factor of parents or teachers providing explicit instruction during storybook reading has been shown to have a larger effect size than storybook reading alone.

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