How to do Dialogic Reading with your child in any language

In my last post, you found out about dialogic book reading and how to use books as props for conversations with your multilingual child in whatever language you need. (You can read about the 11 Principles of Dialogic Reading here.

There are two words to help you remember how to do dialogic book reading and they’re PEER & CROWD. In this post, you’ll find out how to do them. You can apply the techniques in your mother tongues in order to support their development and foster closer connections with your child through reading together. At the same time, you’ll also be building mother tongue vocabulary and grammar.

PEER stands for Prompt, Evaluate, Expand, and Repeat. You can use the PEER sequence for almost anything you read with a child from books to street signs.

Here are some examples: PEER

What to do What to say? Why do it?
P  Prompt Ask your child a question or invite them to talk about something on the page. You can say Oh look! Point at a picture and wait for them to take a turn.


You can prompt the child to name an object on the page or talk about something in the story.


What’s this? What’s happening?

It focuses their attention.


It engages your child in the story.


It helps them understand the plot.


It builds vocabulary.

E Evaluate Think about what your child says.


Think about what information can you add?

This helps you to give a model of adult grammar for your child


Keep it short but grammatical so they have a chance to imitate.

E Expand Add a few words to the child’s response. If they say big dog, you can say The big dog is running.


If you need to, gently provide the correct response.

It encourages your child to say just a little more than he or she would naturally


It builds vocabulary.

R Repeat Ask your child to repeat the expanded or correct response in a no-pressure way. Can you tell me that? Once is enough- if they don’t repeat, it’s not the end of the world. It encourages your child to use language.


CROWD is all about what you can say to your child and the kinds of questions you can ask when doing dialogic reading to develop their language.

What to do What to say? Why do it?
Completion This is useful in particular for books that rhyme or have a phrase that’s repeated. For example, once your child is familiar with the story, you can say: Little piggy, little piggy and wait for them to say let me come in.


I’ve been doing a version of this with Harry Potter where I know my little girl can predict that it’s Malfoy or Umbridge are about to appear by slowing down my reading and pausing and looking at her expectantly and she naturally starts to predict who is about to enter the story.

It encourages your child to listen, attend, and use language.
Recall Talk about what happens in the story- you can do this when you come to the end of the book or you can do it in the car on the way to school or as you’re about to start reading the book. It depends on your child’s age.


You can talk about what the characters did- I like to keep this authentic and not testing so I might say things like I can’t remember how Little Red Riding Hood was saved. And then pause.

This builds your child’s sense of a story and its components.


It also encourages them to pay attention to details.

Open-ended questions Saying things like Tell me what’s going on in this picture. This gives your child an opportunity to use their language in conversation.
Wh- prompts This involves pointing to something in a picture and asking What’s that called?/ What does George use it for? What colour is it? This encourages your child to use their language and it also helps to build vocabulary by focusing not just on the name of objects but on features such as colour, shape, number, location, and so on.
Distancing My little girl loves to ask questions like If you were in Hogwarts, what house would you like to be in? If you had to marry Malfoy or Snape, who would you pick? Who is your least favourite person?


The idea here is that you help your child link the story to their own lives. Again, your question will depend on their age and interests.

You can have wonderful conversations about all sorts of things using this technique.


It encourages your child to use their language and imagination.


Here are some videos that show dialogic book reading in action:

Dialogic Reading from Denver Read Aloud Program.

Dialogic Reading with Katy

PEER & CROWD Demonstration

Using WH questions

Another CROWD & PEER Demo


You don’t have to do this with every book. You can also download two hand-outs to help you remember how to do PEER and CROWD here: DR CROWD Handout  and here:  DR PEER Handout

I’d love to hear how you get on so be sure and leave a comment below. If you like this post, please share with your friends.

Let’s get talking!


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