Early childhood educators are encouraged to read with infants, yet little is known about the educator–infant book-focused interactions that occur in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) centres. This study provides a systematic linguistic analysis of the naturally occurring interactions between one focal child Charlie (aged 21 months and 13 days) and two of his educators, as they each engaged in shared reading with Charlie and one or more of his peers during a typical day in his infant room. While both educators engaged in shared reading for pedagogical purposes, the meanings realised in their talk differed in subtle ways, providing Charlie and his peers with tacit and sometimes contradictory messages about how to make meaning from words and pictures. One educator's proportionally greater use of mental processes and polar questions construed shared reading primarily as an interpretive activity, while the other educator's proportionally greater use of WH questions and directives construed shared reading primarily as an instructional activity. Differences were also observed in Charlie's verbal participation during the two shared readings. The findings reveal how educators, through their own talk, create particular contexts in which infants may or may not participate during shared reading experiences.
- Early Childhood Education and Care
- infants and toddlers
- language development
- shared reading