Increasing Young Children’s Contact With Print During Shared Reading: Longitudinal Effects on Literacy Achievement


  • This research was supported by Grant R305G050005 from the Institute of Education Sciences. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Institute of Education Sciences, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education. We wish to thank the many contributors to this project including Amy Sofka, Elizabeth Cottone, Tricia Zucker, Jill Pentimonti, Xitao Fan, and the participating administrators, teachers, and children.

concerning this article should be addressed to Shayne B. Piasta, The Ohio State University, Children’s Learning Research Collaborative, 356 Arps Hall, 1945 N. High Street, Columbus, OH 43207. Electronic mail may be sent to


Longitudinal results for a randomized-controlled trial (RCT) assessing the impact of increasing preschoolers’ attention to print during reading are reported. Four-year-old children (= 550) in 85 classrooms experienced a 30-week shared reading program implemented by their teachers. Children in experimental classrooms experienced shared-book readings 2 or 4 times per week during which their teachers verbally and nonverbally referenced print. Children in comparison classrooms experienced their teachers’ typical book reading style. Longitudinal results (= 356, 366) showed that use of print references had significant impacts on children’s early literacy skills (reading, spelling, comprehension) for 2 years following the RCT’s conclusion. Results indicate a causal relation between early print knowledge and later literacy skills and have important implications concerning the primary prevention of reading difficulties.