Main Article Content
Vocabulary, emergent literacy, nonfiction, read alouds
Children enter kindergarten in the United States with large differences in their background knowledge, vocabulary, and early literacy experiences. There is a strong relationship between language development during the early years and reading ability in the primary grade and teachers must understand the importance of developing vocabulary and its relationship to literacy. It is essential that teachers provide time and effort to quality language experiences. One researched based strategy to accomplish this is the use of interactive read-alouds. Teachers have traditionally used fictional literature in the classroom, but there is growing research that nonfiction or informational literature are also needed to provide children with quality vocabulary building experiences in the early school years. This research study examined the results of a survey that was given to childcare providers and preschool through 2nd grade teachers about the amount of time they read aloud to children and the amount of time they spend reading fiction compared to nonfiction text. Results showed that teachers in classrooms (pre- through 2nd grade) reported reading to children almost every day, though the time devoted to this activity was a small percentage of the total time spent in class. Also, nonfiction literature was a small percentage of the literature that was being read to children. The findings in this paper have implications for practice in the field. Because vocabulary development is a key ingredient in the learning-to-read process and is a predictor of success in future reading skills, teachers in the early grades should be aware of the benefits of using interactive read alouds and the genre of nonfiction literature in vocabulary development.