Improved Cognitive Development in Preterm Infants with Shared Book Reading

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To examine the effect of shared book reading on the cognitive development of children born preterm and to determine what factors influence shared book reading in this population.


Secondary analysis using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort, a large, nationally representative survey of children born in the United States in 2001.


One thousand four hundred singleton preterm infants (22-36 weeks gestation).

Main Outcome Variable:

Cognitive development measured using the Bayley Mental Scale score from the Bayley Scales of Infant Development Research Edition.


Adjusting for neonatal, maternal, and socioeconomic characteristics, reading aloud more than two times a week is associated with higher cognitive development scores in two-year-old children born preterm (p<.001). Race/ethnicity and maternal education affect how often parents read to their children. Shared book reading holds potential as an early developmental intervention for this population.

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