Creating space for interactive dialogue during preschool circle time using play-based pedagogies and dramatic inquiry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study, we examined how preschool students with language delays engaged in interactive dialogue during regular circle time and dramatic inquiry activities. Using frequency recording of three preschool students’ linguistic engagement and multimodal analysis of classroom video data, this article explores how these students produced social, instructional, and academic language as well as multimodal actions to engage in interactive dialogue with their teachers and peers. Overall, students exhibited higher levels of linguistic engagement during traditional instruction; however, multimodal analysis revealed the ways students engaged in interactive dialogue during dramatic inquiry was far more complex. We conclude that dramatic inquiry created opportunities for students to learn and produce academic language and corresponding multimodal actions while regular instruction provided students opportunities to practice social and instructional language. Our analysis demonstrates the complexities of how preschoolers with language delays use different forms of verbal and non-verbal language to share their personal experiences and content knowledge with others. In all, this study emphasizes the importance of considering both quantitative and qualitative data when trying to understand how preschoolers engage in interactive dialogue in the classroom.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)387-403
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Early Childhood Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • dramatic inquiry
  • interactive dialogue
  • language
  • multimodal
  • preschool

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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