Introducing a Novel Corpus of Book
Reading Sessions Recorded at Home
Anastasia Stoops and Jessica L. Montag
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
•There is a lot of evidence that shared book reading positively affects language
development (e.g. Demir-Lira, Applebaum, Goldin-Meadow, & Levine, 2019; Hoff, 2013; Payne, Whitehurst, & Angell, 1994; Pace, Alper,
Burchinal, Golinkoff & Hirsh-Pasek, 2018; among many many others!)
•Yet, recent meta-analyses of home-book reading intervention studies report only small to
medium effect sizes (e.g. Flack, Field, & Horst, 2018; Mol, Bus, de Jong, & Smeets, 2008; Noble, Sala, Peter, Lingwood, Rowland,
Gobet, & Pine, 2018)
•To adjudicate between these two conflicting perspectives we need to understand the
language that is generated during book reading
•While caregiver talk and child-adult interaction during book reading are receiving a lot of
attention from many researchers world-wide, the role of book linguistic complexity
has been much less explored.
The goal of the project is to build a corpus of transcribed book
reading sessions recorded at home
•We varied the books that we provided to the families by length and syntactic complexity.
See Methods section for more detail.
•Even in our skewed small college-town sample there is a large variability across
families, books, and syntactic constructions.
•High number of “1”s in the proportion scores (Figure 3) points that language
complexity gets into the child-directed language.
•On-going work in our lab is focused on:
•understanding modifications of the syntactic constructions from the four
books that were given to the families
•transcribing and analyzing book reading sessions with the books that families own
that we asked our participants to record, in addition to the four provided books
•Ece Demir-Lira, Ö., Applebaum, L. R., Goldin-Meadow, S., & Levine, S. C. (2019). Parents’ early book reading to children:
Relation to children's later language and literacy outcomes controlling for other parent language input. Developmental
•Flack, Z. M., Field, A. P., & Horst, J. S. (2018). The effects of shared storybook reading on word learning: A meta-
analysis. Developmental psychology,54(7), 1334.
•Hoff, E. (2013). Language development. Cengage Learning.
•Mol, S. E., Bus, A. G., De Jong, M. T., & Smeets, D. J. (2008). Added value of dialogic parent–child book readings: A meta-
analysis. Early education and development,19(1), 7-26.
•Noble, C., Sala, G., Peter, M., Lingwood, J., Rowland, C., Gobet, F., & Pine, J. (2019). The impact of shared book reading on
children's language skills: A meta-analysis. Educational Research Review,28, 100290.
•Pace, A., Alper, R., Burchinal, M. R., Golinkoff, R. M., & Hirsh-Pasek, K. (2019). Measuring success: Within and cross-domain
predictors of academic and social trajectories in elementary school. Early Childhood Research Quarterly,46, 112-125.
•Payne, A. C., Whitehurst, G. J., & Angell, A. L. (1994). The role of home literacy environment in the development of language
ability in preschool children from low-income families. Early Childhood Research Quarterly,9(3-4), 427-440.
This work was supported by NIH Grant R03 HD096157, NSF grant BCS-1749594, and a James S.
McDonnell Foundation Scholar Award to JLM
HOME BOOK READING COMPONENTS
20 hours of
183 individual book reading
occurrences 12 families
Digital Recorder: OLYMPUS VN-541PC
Syntactic Construction Type Counts
That is not a good idea
Oh the places you’ll go!
When dinosaurs came
SYNTACTIC COMPLEXITY EXAMPLES
Object Relative Clause: The next thing I knew, she had him cleaning
the gutters ( from “When dinosaurs came with everything”)
Subject Relative Clause: More bats gathered around to see the strange
young bat who behaved like a bird ( from “Stellaluna”)
Oblique Relative Clause: The places you’ll go!
( from “Oh the places you’ll go!”)
Passive Main Clause: You’ll be left in a Lurch
( from “Oh the places you’ll go!”)
Participant demographics with mean (range) unless noted otherwise
# of non-children
books at home
Age 31 m.o
# of children books
Figure 1. Reading
session duration by
family and book
1 dot = 1 individual
book reading session
Figure 2. Reading
session duration by book
Figure 3. Proportion of
uttered by type and book