The paper, published in the Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, looks at how children in preschool and Kindergarten respond to being read to.
Dr Jessica Mantei, who co-authored the paper with associate professor Lisa Kervin, said that there is room to improve the way educators read to children.
“Of course, it is well known that we need to read to children, but their early literacy experiences would be enriched if they had input into what is read to them,” she said.
The researchers found that children are often given little autonomy over what they are read.
“Engagement would increase with greater student choice, thereby improving learning outcomes,” Mantei said.
The paper also recommends that teachers ensure they aren’t excessively guiding children toward certain interpretations of texts.
“Teacher questioning that seeks specific or ‘correct’ answers restricts the possibility for diversity and imagination in children’s response,” the paper says.
Mantei said that teachers should try and ask questions that go beyond simply testing children’s comprehension.
“Children can be really creative in the ways they deconstruct texts,” she said.
“Rather than just asking questions that check that kids have understood what has been read to them, teachers can develop the outcomes from reading aloud by allowing for creative and innovative responses.”