Maternal Language During Book-Sharing: Wordless Book verses Print

Jessica Nielsen, Utah State University

This work made publicly available electronically on April 3, 2012.


Studies have shown that maternal book reading strategies in the toddler years impact language and emergent literacy in the preschool years (Roberts, Jurgens, & Burchinal, 2005). The use of complex vocabulary and linguistic input has been shown to be associated with better language and literacy outcomes for children. Fifty-six motherchild dyads took part in a 15-minute free play activity during which time they were asked to read books and play with toys. The children were between 21 and 29 months of age. Interactions were orthographically transcribed and coded using Systematic Analysis of Language Transcripts (SALT). Each mother’s language input to her child was analyzed for responsiveness. Correlations were examined between maternal responsiveness and child language productivity. Results indicated that, in the context of reading wordless books, mothers were more responsive to their children than in the context of books that contained text, and maternal responsiveness was moderately to highly correlated with child language productivity.