My name’s Nicholas Dowdall. I am a Doctoral
Researcher at Oxford University where my research focuses on early childhood development, particularly
in impoverished contexts. Book sharing interventions can have a profound influence on young children’s
ability to focus – their sustained and focal attention. Even in a relatively short period
of time, for example over the 8 week intervention, we’ve seen impressive gains on both expressive
and receptive language of these young children – so, comprehension and the ability of children
to express more words and we’ve seen that both in parent’s self-report, but also in
objective observed measures of child language. And that’s been well demonstrated over three
decades of research but in high income countries. What our research has demonstrated is that
these kinds of interventions can also have similar, or even more profound effects on
child language in impoverished contexts and in contexts where parents themselves maybe
aren’t as educated and where there isn’t a culture of book sharing and that’s really
exciting. One of the other important impacts that we’ve seen is that parents become much
more sensitive as a result of book sharing interventions. And by sensitive, we mean that
they facilitate, for example, book sharing much better; they follow the interest of their
child; they are a lot less likely to intrude or have coercive behaviours; they bring in
positive aspects, for example praise, and that has important implications for child
development more broadly. So I think what our research and research from all over the
world clearly demonstrates, is that book sharing is a universal activity and that all children
across the world, regardless of their socioeconomic status or culture, can benefit immensely from
this activity and that all families should be practicing book sharing with their children
on a daily basis because we know that it’s one of the most powerful things that a parent
can do to give their child the best start in life.