UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Parent-child shared reading : the affordances of print, digital, and hand-held electronic storybooks Kim, Ji Eun


This study examines affordances of books involving different media in parent-child shared reading. Children and families increasingly use books and other literacy materials in digital format (Unsworth, 2006) in addition to those in traditional print/paper format. Although there have been studies about parent-child shared reading of digital books, the present study, by employing systemic functional linguistics (SFL) as the analytic tool, provides more in-depth and nuanced understandings of how different digital/physical features of books are related to types (e.g., questions) and processes (e.g., ways to build meanings) of parent-child interactions during shared reading. Based on Vygotsky’s socio-historical development theory and SFL, this study examines the verbal interactions of 20 dyads and their construction and negotiation of meanings while sharing of different books (one print [PB], one electronic [LB] and two digital books [DB1 and DB2]). The analysis revealed that the dyads used certain types of talk considered to encourage expansion of children’s thinking more often in the PB and LB contexts than in the other two contexts. Also, the dyads had more sustained interactions in the PB and LB contexts, which allowed them to negotiate meanings through these conversations and discussions. Furthermore, the foci of the dyads’ talk were different across the contexts: some digital features of the LB and DB1 appeared to lead the talk more towards technical aspects rather than towards the meaning of the stories. These findings further suggest that shared reading of different formats of books provide children with different learning opportunities. The study enhances our understanding of differences in parent-child verbal interactions, and of contextual elements, as well as the relationship between the two. These in-depth understandings suggest implications for the development of better quality digital books, and for more productive uses of digital books at home and school. Moreover, the study provides further evidence of an alternative way to examine parent-child verbal interactions (cf. Hasan, 1989; Williams, 1994) by utilizing SFL, which allows researchers to examine interactions (e.g., questioning) and contexts (e.g., focus of talk) in detail. This detailed examination, in turn, complements the analysis of language in Vygotsky’s theory.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada