Books and Toddlers in Child Care: Under What Conditions are Children Most Engaged?

Nicole Gardner-Neblett, Steven J. Holochwost, Kathleen Cranley Gallagher, Iheoma U. Iruka, Samuel L. Odom, Elizabeth Pungello Bruno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Although shared book reading is seen as an effective way to support children’s early literacy and language development, less is known about the factors associated with toddlers’ engagement with books. Objective: The goal of the current study was to examine younger and older toddlers’ engagement with books during one-on-one reading with a teacher in an interactive versus non-interactive manner and during independent exploration. Method: Using single-case design, the study examined how engagement among toddlers (N = 6) in a childcare classroom varied under different book reading/exploration conditions. Results: Results indicated that overall engagement was greater when teachers read interactively compared to when children explored books on their own, with this effect differing for younger versus older toddlers. Conclusions: Understanding how teachers reading to younger and older toddlers is associated with children’s engagement with books compared to children’s engagement when exploring books on their own can inform early care and education reading practices with toddlers. Implications for book reading with toddlers in group childcare are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)473-493
Number of pages21
JournalChild and Youth Care Forum
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017


  • Developmentally appropriate
  • Engagement
  • Teacher-child interactions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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