Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



Speech and Hearing Science

Committee Chair

Brenda L. Beverly, Ph.D.


Emergent literacy skills are foundational to the development of reading and writing. Young children’s early emergent literacy skills are correlated with later academic success (Lonigan et al., 2000; Spira et al., 2005; Whitehurst & Lonigan, 1998), and emergent literacy skills are known to be learned through activities such as shared book reading (Wasik & Bond, 2001). Findings on the effectiveness of shared book reading interventions have been mixed for both caregiver measures and children’s outcomes (Dowdall et al., 2020; Lingwood et al., 2020; Noble et al., 2020; Piasta et al., 2012; Wasik & Bond, 2001). This study assessed six mothers’ engagement behaviors when reading to their 4- year-old children after the mothers and children participated in one of two different shared book reading tele-training interventions. The mothers’ shared book reading behaviors were transcribed from videotaped interactions, coded with investigator-developed codes, and analyzed using a language sampling program. Despite the low participant numbers, a treatment effect emerged. The four mothers who received the 8- week training for talking about the print aspects of books and reading showed gains in these skills specifically. The two mothers whose training focused on talking about story content did not increase talking about the print aspects. Given the remote, tele-training nature of these interventions, significant changes in the mothers’ engagement behaviors could support low-cost, effective literacy enrichments in the homes.