Shared reading with preverbal infants and later language development

Amber Muhinyi, Meredith Rowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Studies of parent-child book reading tend to focus on parents of toddlers and preschool children, but not infants. This study examined features of parents' shared reading with preverbal infants in relation to children's early language development. Forty-four mothers of diverse socioeconomic status and their 10-month-old infants were observed during shared reading. Their interactions were coded for quantity and qualities of maternal speech and gesture, and for children's interest in the activity. The results indicate that maternal questions and child interest during shared reading at 10-months predicted children's expressive, receptive, and pragmatic language skills at 18-months, controlling for children's earlier skills and maternal education. Few relations were observed between family/child factors (e.g., education, child age) and features of the shared-reading interaction. Encouraging caregivers to question their preverbal infants during reading, and to help keep them engaged in the activity, could promote children's language learning.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology
Early online date19 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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