Early Literacy Research Library (ELRL) - Article

Assessing Shared Reading in Families at Risk: Does Quantity Predict Quality

O'Fallon, M.K., Alper, R.M., Beiting, M., Luo, R. (2022) Assessing Shared Reading in Families at Risk: Does Quantity Predict Quality? American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 31(5), 2108-2122.,

Access: FREE/Open Access

Publication year


study description

Secondary Analysis of a Treatment Study

core topic(s)

Shared Reading

Population Characteristics


Exposures, Outcomes, Other

Child Behaviors and Skills , Child Development (general) , Disparity/Adversity , Parent Knowledge, Attitudes, and Beliefs , Parent-Child Relationships/Interactions , Reading Frequency


This study aims to evaluate if and how reported reading frequency and duration are associated with parent and child print referencing, controlling for perceived parenting self-efficacy, developmental knowledge, and child sex.


Reading frequency and duration

outcomes evaluated

Print referencing


The data were collected between 2016 and 2018; participants were residents of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, or surrounding areas.


This study is a secondary analysis of baseline data from a treatment study with parents (N = 30) and children (1;1–2;3 [years; months]) from under resourced households. Parents reported weekly reading episode frequency and duration (in minutes). We coded parent–child book-sharing interactions to quantify use of print references.

sample size

n=30 (parents)


  • Measure of Print References: we analyzed videos and transcripts of shared-reading interactions…We coded print referencing behaviors during interactions using Mangold INTERACT software (Mangold, 2020). We labeled the function (i.e., print reference or nonprint reference) of all verbal, nonverbal, and paired verbal–nonverbal behaviors from parents and children. Print references included any behavior related to print, words, letters, or elements of book organization


  • Measure of Reading Quantity: parent responses to questions about reading frequency (i.e., How many times a week does your child read books?) and duration (i.e., For how many minutes each time?) to calculate weekly reading frequency (i.e., reading episodes) and time (i.e., minutes spent reading).


  • Measure of Parent Developmental Knowledge: Knowledge of Infant Development Inventory (KIDI)…assesses knowledge of motor, behavioral, language, social, and cognitive development


  • Measure of Parent Self-Efficacy: “teaching” and “play” subtests from the Self Efficacy for Parenting Tasks Index–Toddler Scale (SEPTI-TS)


Negative binomial regression modeling suggested that parents who reported more weekly reading episodes tended to use more print references during interactions. However, reported reading time in minutes was not significantly associated with parents' print referencing. Parents' print references were also associated with perceived self-efficacy, developmental knowledge, and child sex. In our sample, parents used more print references with male children. Neither reading frequency nor reading time was associated with increased print referencing from children.


Duration of reading did not positively predict children's use of print references. However, weekly reading frequency positively predicted parents' use of print references. Parent perceived self-efficacy and knowledge may predict early interaction quality similarly to quantity of reading.


Several videos included interruptions and instances where participants or objects were out of frame. To avoid overestimating print references, we only coded those that were entirely visible on camera. This conservative approach may have underestimated print references. In addition, our measurement of reading frequency did not differentiate between shared and independent reading. There may be variation in how parents interpreted the question, which may have impacted our findings. There is also a possibility that unmeasured variables, such as genetic data from dyads, influenced reading behavior... Similarly, this study focused solely on print referencing as a measure of reading interaction quality. This focus may have impacted our findings, and use of alternative or composite measures of interaction quality may lead to different results. The limited sample size in this study is another limitation. This may have reduced statistical power and contributed to the considerable variability in observed print references. The sample size also limits the generalizability of our results, particularly given the heterogeneity in child language outcomes in populations with a high socioeconomic risk (Hirsh-Pasek et al., 2015; Song et al., 2014). Similarly, our analyses used data from a single, brief parent–child interaction. The degree to which the limited amount of time analyzed is characteristic of all dyadic reading interactions is unclear.