Eastern Connecticut State University
Center for
Early Childhood Education
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Dialogic Reading for Multi-Lingual Families

Funded by the Windham Area Women and Girls Fund of the

Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut



In December 2012, the Center was awarded a grant from the Windham Area Women and Girls Fund of the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut. The project, titled Dialogic Reading for Multi-Lingual Families, is designed to help address the fund's objective to advance economic security and foster positive engagement for women and girls under age 18. The project has two main goals:

Goal One: Promote reading to children in their native language as a method of ensuring first language proficiency

Research indicates that children who master their first language can easily translate those skills to English. Ensuring that children are read to in their native language by their mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and older sisters and cousins helps to continue develop their language and literacy skills in their native language.


Goal Two: Train women and girls who have caregiving responsibilities in dialogic reading strategies

Research indicates that children learn most from books when they are actively engaged and involved in the reading. In dialogic reading, the adult “helps the child become the teller of the story” (Whitehurst, 1992) by asking guided questions, listening to children’s responses, and helping the child to expand on her answer. Dialogic reading has been shown to improve children’s oral language skills and understanding of written language, which impacts their academic and economic success later on.


Training Sessions

The Center offered multi-lingual families, including high school students, the opportunity to participate in training sessions. Dr. Ann Anderberg, a bilingual associate professor of edcuation and expert on supporting English Language Learners, will led sessions on dialogic reading and supporting dual language learners. All participating families received children's books to keep in both English and their first language, as well as a certificate of completion from the School of Continuing Education.


Family Reading Time / La hora de lectura en familia Videos

Interested families were videotaped reading to their children in English and/or their first language. The edited videos have been turned into brief public service announcements that are being aired on local television stations to demonstrate the dialogic reading method in English and other languages. Finished videos are available for local early learning programs to share with families and use in parent education programs. Videos are also available on-line.


Project Staff

Dr. Ann Anderberg, Principal Investigator

Julia DeLapp, Project Coordinator and Producer

Dr. Carol Williams and Dr. Indira Petosky, Continuing Education and Recruitment Liaisons

Niloufar Rezai, CFDRC Liaison


Contact Information

For more information, contact Julia DeLapp, CECE Program Coordinator, at 860/465-0687.


Whitehurst, G. (1992). Dialogic Reading: An effective way to read to preschoolers.


Read about other projects and initiatives.