Publication article


Roberta Michnick Golinkoff
University of Delaware
October 11, 2021

Imagine a parent and child in a quiet room. The child is burrowed into the caregiver’s lap listening intently to a picture storybook. Sharing a picture book together is about much more than hearing the words. Their physical closeness is striking as is the parent’s excited voice as the parent plays the role of one of the characters. In fact, parents report that one of the key reasons they read to their children is to promote these strong emotional bonds


Sharing a storybook is an opportunity for children to enter new lands, meet new characters, and learn new words and concepts. Because shared book reading is such a pleasure for both participants, learning take places almost incidentally. When a child asks, “What’s that?” pointing to a soup ladle, the parent says, “It’s a ladle, we use to put soup into a bowl.” And voilà! The next time the child sees a ladle in the book, they point it out to you!


Children are eager to enter the world of words their parents occupy. They want to learn their letters and the secret code that parents use to make sense of the squiggles on the page.


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