[R-0014] S8. Ethical Practice

Citation: Al Otaiba, S. (2004). Weaving moral elements and research-based reading practices in inclusive classrooms using shared book reading techniques. Early Child Development and Care, 174, 575-589.

Abstract: Promoting moral, language and literacy development is particularly important for children in inclusive early childhood programs serving disadvantaged children. In the first section of this article, the author: (1) summarizes research about the gap between typically developing children in professional families and most disadvantaged children and children with disabilities in terms of language, social and emotional development; (2) provides evidence that current literacy practices in most early childhood programs serving disadvantaged children are unlikely to close that gap; and (3) describes recent legislation that mandates efforts to close the gap in order for all children to start school ready to learn. In the second section, the author focuses on shared storybook reading as an intervention and offers five steps to use this intervention to weave social and emotional development with language and literacy. In the final section, the author offers suggestions to improve professional development for early childhood teachers to help them translate this research into practice in inclusive early childhood settings that serve disadvantaged children.

Integration: It is important for early childhood researchers, program administrators, teacher educators and teachers who work in inclusive settings to be aware of the magnitude of the gap between typically developing children in professional families and most disadvantaged children and children with disabilities in terms of language, social and emotional development. Many children who attend early childhood programs for disadvantaged children are at a high risk for future reading difficulties. Without intervention, children who begin school with poor vocabulary and less exposure to print are unlikely to read as well as their peers (Francis et al., 1996). One intervention strategy that is consistent with this theoretical framework (Vygotsky, 1978) of moral development as well as researchbased literacy practices is shared storybook reading. Shared storybook reading differs from typical read-alouds by explicitly and systematically encouraging children to be active participants in the reading process (for example, Whitehurst et al., 1988; Bus et al., 1995). Over the past 25 years, a body of research has shown that adult-child shared storybook reading can be an effective strategy for enhancing language and literacy development for young children who are typically developing (Elley, 1989; Hockenberger et al., 1999) as well as for young children with disabilities (for example, Katims, 1991; Dale et al., 1996; Saint-Laurent et al., 1998; Crain-Thoreson & Dale, 1999). Five steps: Step 1: increase the amount of reading and provide more individualization. Step 2: select books carefully. Step 3: learn to conduct research-based shared story techniques.Perhaps the most widely researched form of shared storybook reading is called Dialogic Reading (Whitehurst et al, 1988; Zevenbergen & Whitehurst, 2003). Step 4: use repeated readings to practice vocabulary and literate talk. Step 5: prepare the environment to allow children to practice the moral theme.

Content Focus: Inclusion; Instruction and Teaching; Language and Literacy Experiences

Notes: This article focuses on typically developing children and children with disabilities.

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