Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Program Name/Specialization

Developmental Psychology


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Dr. Alexandra Gottardo

Advisor Role


Second Advisor

Dr. Kim Roberts

Advisor Role

Internal Committee Member

Third Advisor

Dr. Eileen Wood

Advisor Role

Internal Committee Member


Issues pertinent to developmental psychology and education often intersect. For example, both literatures can inform the assessment of differences in early literacy and school readiness, as well as how to bridge the literacy gap for children coming from different backgrounds. In times of COVID-19, it is especially important that we research the impact of strategies that are accessible to all, and can be utilized both in the home, and in more formal learning environments. This study assessed how the use of wordless picture books impacted the quality and quantity of language output, and engagement in dialogue between mother and child. This behaviour was examined on an individual level and on an interaction level. Mothers received a questionnaire prior to the study session to measure for demographic variables, literacy levels, education, and first-languages/languages spoken in the home. Mother-child dyads were instructed to engage in two shared book reading tasks, one using a worded picture book and one using a wordless picture book, while being observed remotely. The child was also asked to tell their own story using the wordless picture book. The key findings of the study were that in the wordless condition, mother’s morpheme production significantly contributed to both the child’s word type production and utterances. None of the mother’s language production variables were significantly related to the child’s word type in the worded condition, but the mother’s production of utterances in addition to the words in the text was significantly related to the child’s utterances in the worded condition. This study informs the field of developmental psychology and education, specifically child language and literacy development, by providing insight on potential strategies that may encourage dialogic teaching and learning.

Keywords: dialogic teaching and learning, wordless picture book, language and literacy

Convocation Year


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