Teachers’ use of questions during shared book reading: Relations to child responses

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Posted on April 9, 2022 by lperronne


October 2021


Early Childhood Research Quarterly

CLI Author:

Tricia A, Zucker, PhD


This study examined the extent to which preschool teachers used different types of questions during classroom-based shared book reading. Our goals were to describe the question wording teachers use to elicit child responses and to consider sequential relations between types of question wording and student responses. Participants included 96 preschool and kindergarten teachers who read aloud a standard narrative text to their whole class of students. All the sessions were video-recorded, transcribed and then coded by trained coders. During reading, teacher total extra-textual utterances included 23.74% questions (n = 5207 questions). The wording of these questions mostly included Wh-question forms (who, what, when, where) or question forms that required only a yes/no response. Yet sequential analyses demonstrated that less frequently occurring question forms, such as Why-questions and How-procedural questions elicited longer, multiword responses from students. Results further suggested that students readily answered most questions accurately; although, Why-questions produced more inaccurate student responses, this level of challenge is likely appropriate. Unfortunately, most teacher questions were easy for children to answer accurately or with a single word, thereby indicating teachers are not demonstrating Vygotskian principles (1978) of adjusting their questioning techniques to a level of challenge that is just above children’s overall level of mastery. Important implications of these findings are discussed for educators as well as curriculum developers.


Deshmukh, Richa & Zucker, Tricia & Tambyraja, Sherine & Pentimonti, Jill & Bowles, Ryan & Justice, Laura. (2021). Teachers’ use of questions during shared book reading: Relations to child responses. Early Childhood Research Quarterly. 49. 59-68. 10.1016/j.ecresq.2019.05.006.