Small group read aloud with nonfiction and fiction literature in preschool
The purpose of this study was to investigate teacher’s roles and children’s responses during small group read aloud with fiction and nonfiction literature in one preschool classroom. This instrumental case study draws from three theoretical orientations: sociocultural theory, reader response theory, and the emergent literacy perspective. Two preschool teachers and 19 children were video and audio recorded as they participated in small group read aloud events that occurred during choice time in their classroom twice per day. Transcripts of interviews and small group read aloud sessions were analyzed. Analysis included open coding, axial coding, and constant comparative techniques to reach data saturation. Research findings suggest that teachers employed similar and different scaffolding and modeling strategies when reading fictional and nonfiction literature, differentiated instruction for younger and older children, as well as responded aesthetically to fictional stories and efferently to nonfiction texts. Children utilized a range of meaning making strategies and responded both aesthetically and efferently to both types of text. Older children served as peer models for their younger classmates. This study has several implications. Future research should investigate read aloud with fiction and nonfiction literature with different populations of teachers and children, repeated readings of nonfiction literature, and large versus small group read aloud in preschool. Implications for preschool teachers include careful selection of fiction and nonfiction literature, employing additional reading strategies for nonfiction, differentiating instruction for younger and older preschoolers, and reading across the efferent-aesthetic continuum with both types of text. Preschool administrators should make reading instruction with fiction and nonfiction texts a priority. Early childhood teacher education faculty can support preservice teachers’ capacities to read fiction and nonfiction literature with children.