Culture & Language

Dialogic Reading that Supports Children Who Are Dual Language Learners and Their Families

ECLKC Professional Development Modules

This ECLKC Professional Development Module is designed to guide Head Start and Early Head Start program staff on using the dialogic reading strategy to support early literacy in children who are dual language learners (DLLs).

Will this module meet your professional development needs?
What are the goals and objectives of this module?
How do I complete this module?
What are some suggested follow-up resources and strategies?

Will this module meet your professional development needs?

Refer to the table below for tools you can use to determine your need for this module.

Tool Relevant Items

Dual Language Learners Program Assessment (DLLPA): Users' Guide

  • Section 4 b iv: Provide professional development opportunities to ensure that bilingual staff understand how and when to use their language skills to meet the needs of the children and families in the program.
  • Section 7 b iii and iv: Display and, when possible, read books in the home language of the children. Provide opportunities for children to see and learn, when possible, the alphabet of their home language.

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Standards [PDF, 260KB]

  • NAEYC Professional Preparation Standard #5: Using Content Knowledge to Build Meaningful Curriculum

Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS®)

Instructional Support Dimensions

  • Concept development
  • Quality of feedback
  • Language modeling

Your own professional assessment

  • Complete this based on your own tools

What are the goals and objectives of this module?

Goal: You will use evidence-based practice of dialogic reading as the foundation for book reading activities for preschoolers who are learning two or more languages.


Upon completing this module, you will be able to:

  • Plan small group dialogic reading experiences for children who are learning two or more languages;
  • Select a fiction or non-fiction book in English or home language;
  • Analyze the book in terms of the dialogic process;
  • Develop five Completion, Recall, Open-ended, Wh-, Distancing (CROWD) questions in the language of the book;
  • Practice the technique;
  • Read the story to a small group of peers;
  • Respond to reflective questions about the process;
  • Demonstrate ways to individualize for children who are learning two or more languages and;
  • Demonstrate ways to accommodate children with special needs.

How do I complete this module?

Table 1 includes the prerequisites, activities, resources, and evaluation for each credit-hour option of this module on dialogic reading. Use the table to select the links and follow the instructions for completing the option(s) you select. You must do the options in order, beginning with Option A, but you can stop at any time and are not required to complete the remaining options.

Table 1: Prerequisites, Activities, Resources, and Evaluation for the Dialogic Reading Module


Option A

Option B

Option C



Option A

Option A and B


  • Alone or with group, read the book, Tough Boris.
  • Read the information on using Tough Boris
    • Follow the instructions; and
    • Prepare the dialogic reading form and insert it in the book (Reading Activity 1, #6).
  • Complete Option A
  • Listen to interview with Jose Rodriguez on Early Literacy Development for ELLs (18 minutes)
  • Listen to interview with Theresa Roberts on Early literacy for English learners (12 minutes)
  • Try Tough Boris or your own dialogic reading example with your children
  • Complete Option A and B
  • View Segment II of OHS webcast Ready for Success webinar (48 minutes)
  • Complete Segment II activities in the Viewer's Guide for the Ready for Success



  • Print the questions for Tough Boris (Reading Activity 2, #3)
  • Create a set of Dialogic Reading CROWD questions for the children's book you selected.
  • Attach the questions to the back of your book.

In a journal, answer the following questions:

  1. Name one thing you learned about dialogic reading that you did not know before this lesson.
  2. Why is dialogic reading helpful for DLLs?
  3. After you tried your dialogic reading item with your children, what is one thing you think should be changed? Why?
  4. List two reasons why storybooks are a great literacy resource in preschool.
  5. List one key point from the webcast and one key point from the audio cast that you viewed as part of this module.
  • Print the Viewer's Guide and use it to take notes on the webcast.

What are some suggested follow-up resources and strategies?

Table 2: Follow-up Resources and Suggestions

Resources and Strategies for…


Continued Learning

Allowing Dual Language Learners to Show What They Know and Can Do

  • Substitute books in the languages of the children in the class for some dialogic reading activities
  • Work with a staff member or volunteer to create CROWD questions in the languages of every child in the class
  • Share this module to provide training for guest readers so they can conduct dialogic Reading activities in their home languages
  • If you are not fluent in the language a child speaks, encourage him or her to tell you what they think about the story and allow them to answer in their home language
  • Use a recorder to capture children's responses in their own language and ask a staff member or volunteer to translate later so you can make portfolio notes about the child's ability to answer each level of dialogic reading question. 

Measuring Improved Practices Related to This Module

Suggestions for looking at teacher practices before and after completing the module:

  • Observe the teacher using techniques learned in the module and discuss.
  • View a video of these techniques being used by a teacher and discuss.
  • Make a list of items needed to implement these techniques in the classroom.
  • Use CLASS, ECERS-R, ITERS, or your curriculum's implementation assessment to note where the techniques from the module are being used effectively and ideas for improvement.
  • Consider and pre/post module review of lesson plans.
  • Collect parent feedback about their child's progress in home language and English.
  • Use the Head Start Program Preparedness Checklist as a guide for observing and recording program changes as a result of this module.

Parent and Family Engagement

Possible strategies to help parents and families build more learning into reading with their children include:

  • When reading stories with your child:
    • Ask questions that have many answers, rather than questions that have right or wrong answers.
    • Ask questions that get the child to think, such as "Where do you think birds sleep? How do you think a rainbow gets in the sky? Where do you think the water goes after it goes down the drain?"
  • Ask your children to act out a story you've read to them to help them remember the story and be creative with new ideas about it.
  • Use Fun and Learning for Parents and Children: An Activities Handbook.

See also:
ECLKC Professional Development Modules