Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Communication Sciences and Disorders

First Advisor

Janet A. Norris


Six parent-child dyads participated in a single subject, multiple-baseline study evaluating the effectiveness of storybook reading as a context for parent training. Six children, ages 3;2 to 3;5 with specific language impairment, and their primary caregivers completed three-to-five baseline, eight-to-ten training, and two follow-up sessions. Parents were taught to use a complete reading cycle (CRC) based on a typical parent-child storybook reading format described by Ninio & Bruner (1978). The CRC consisted of four steps: (a) an attentional vocative to establish joint focus or topic for discussion, (b) a query to elicit a verbal response about the topic, (c) a response to reply to the query, and (d) feedback to provide information regarding the accuracy or clarity of the response. Parents also were taught to use language facilitating techniques, such as balancing communicative turns, matching the child's language level, responding contingently to the child's story initiations, and elaborating on the child's topic of interest. Changes in parent interaction style and child language productivity were obtained during each study session. A R$\sb{n}$ Test of Ranks was used to analyze the parent and child data for significant change across subjects. Significant changes occurred in parents' number of CRCs completed, percent of turns taken, mean length of utterance (MLU), and difference between parent and child MLU. Child language measures reached levels of significance for number of communicative turns, verbal turns taken, number of story initiations, and semantic diversity of utterances. Two measures, parent responses to child story initiations and child MLUs, did not reach levels of significance. However, analysis of within subject changes showed generally positive trends across parent and child behaviors. Results of this study showed that parent training using the CRC procedure for storybook reading produced positive changes in parent interaction style. These changes were reciprocated by child increases in language productivity. Although parents varied in the degree and types of changes, the children who completed follow-up sessions maintained training levels of change or continued to show improvements in communicative behaviors after training was completed.