The interactional achievement of reading aloud by young children and parents during digital technology use

Christina Davidson, Susan Danby, Stuart Ekberg, Karen Thorpe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Many studies that examine parent–child interactions while reading digital texts focus on the reading of e-books. Rather less is known about parent–child interactions and reading aloud of other screen texts that occur during young children’s everyday use of digital technologies at home. This article presents the findings from a conversation analytic study of a collection of 36 sequences of interaction between young children and their parents where the words ‘says’ or ‘say’ were used to refer to print on the screen. The collection involved interactions between seven parent–child dyads. Sequences were identified through repeated viewing of 29 hours of video-recordings made by parents. Analysis enabled systematic identification and description of two distinctive practices in talk that led to reading aloud from the screen. Reading aloud of the text was provided by either a speaker using a preface, such as ‘it says’, or solicited using a question. Discussion establishes how young children and their parents orient to and produce reading aloud practices, how reading aloud meets the instrumental purposes of children and the ways that young children competently enable reading aloud. It is concluded that reading aloud from the screen is an important information source for young children, enabled through parent–child interactions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)475-498
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Early Childhood Literacy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Reading aloud
  • parent–child interaction
  • digital technology
  • screen
  • conversation analysis


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