Dialogic reading vs Screen Exposure intervention is related to greater cognitive control in preschool‐age children

Twait, E., Farah, R., Shamir, N., & Horowitz‐Kraus, T. (2019). Acta Paediatrica108(11), 1993-2000. https://doi.org/10.1111/apa.14841


Aim: Shared reading leads to better language and executive functions. This study was designed to examine the effect of dialogic reading compared to screen‐exposed intervention on executive functions using behavioural and electroencephalogram measures.

Methods: The effect of six weeks of dialogic reading intervention on executive functions was examined in 16 children (seven females, 61.73 months, SD 7.07, min–max 50–170) vs 16 children exposed to screen (six females, 64.31 months, SD 64.31, min–max 52–74) recruited through posted ads in daycares in the north of Israel. Behavioural and attention/inhibition electroencephalogram tasks were used to assess the effects of intervention.

Results: Comparisons using t‐test showed that the dialogic reading group demonstrated higher executive functions and language scores vs the screen‐exposed group. Greater accuracy rates, shorter reaction times and a smaller gap between P300 amplitudes were found for the dialogic reading group compared to the screen group for the electroencephalogram task.

Conclusion: Dialogic reading intervention is related to improved executive functions and language abilities compared to screen‐based story‐telling. Parents and teachers should consider employing this method in preschool children as a facilitator for future academic abilities.

Key notes

  • Previous studies demonstrated the positive effect of dialogic reading on linguistic abilities in children but the underlying mechanism for this effect is yet to be determined.
  • We found that dialogic reading is related to neurobiological changes related to improved executive functions.
  • Parents should consider using dialogic reading as a facilitator for future academic abilities.