Dialogic Reading and How it Helps Your Baby's Brain!

If you’ve ever joined a book club, then you’ll be familiar with the questions in the back of some versions of books that are meant to help engage the reader and encourages thoughtful examination of the text.

This is a concept that can be started as early as infancy with dialogic reading—and blue manatee press has just the book series to help you get started!

What Is Dialogic Reading?

Dialogic reading is a type of reading that involves adults and children to have a dialogue around the text they are reading together. It invites the child to actively participate in the story and relate it to his or her life.

These conversations are meant to help with increasing the child’s vocabulary, improving their verbal skills, introducing story components and developing narrative skills, as well as engaging their curiosity and imagination.

Some families read naturally in a dialogic way (pausing to ask questions and expand, etc.), but many do not.

DR. Books Series!


Written by Dr. John Hutton and illustrated by Doug Cenko, our “DR. Book” series consists of three board books—and more on the way!—each centered around a specific animal!

“The ‘DR. Books’ are some of my favorite to illustrate,” says illustrator Doug Cenko! “They’re also some of the most fun to read to small children because of the interactive element.

“After I finished illustrations on Sleepy Solar System, I saw that blue manatee press posted in a forum that they were looking for an illustrator for a new board book called Dialogic Doggies, which later became Dogs!

“At the time, I was working at a stadium concert for Public Enemy and The Stone Roses in Manchester, England. So, in the time I was able to find between “Rebel Without a Pause” and “Don’t Believe the Hype”, I illustrated the first two spreads of the book. 

“I didn’t have a tablet or drawing supplies with me, so I had to use the trackpad on my laptop. That’s one of the reasons that it had a rougher, chunkier look than Sleepy Solar System. It ended up that blue manatee loved the sample images.”

The first book in the series, Dogs!, came out in April 2017.

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Dogs! follows dialogic reading by introducing crowd prompts and peer sequences:

CROWD Prompts

Completion (“When dogs talk, they say _____.”)
Recall (“Remember the dog on the last page?”)
Open-Ended questions (“Share your thoughts on that.”)
Wh- Questions (“Where does this dog live?”)
Distancing (“Does this dog remind you of ____?”)

PEER Sequence

Prompt (“What color is this dog?”)
Evaluate (“That’s right, it’s yellow!”)
Expand (“It’s a yellow, furry dog.”)
Repeat (“Can you say ‘yellow, furry dog?'”)


Cats! followed in September 2017!


"Reading to young children is the single most important thing parents can do to stimulate early language development. Dr. Hutton has provided an outstanding much-needed resource for parents (and teachers and librarians too!) to encourage thoughtful book-sharing interactions between parents and children. Sharing this book with children is sure to cultivate rich interactions that foster children’s language skills far into the future. " - Dr. Laura Justice, College of Education & Human Ecology Distinguished Professor, The Ohio State University

Cats! follows the same formula as Dogs! in reference to engaging readers with the illustrations and the text!

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Coming Soon!

The DR. Book series is growing! Cows!, the third in the series comes out April 2, 2019…with more titles to follow!

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Cows! continues the concepts found in both Dogs! and Cats!, with an added component of familiarity!

Cows!, as well as the upcoming DR. Books titles, includes familiar nursery rhymes that are themed with the book, as a reminder that no matter what you’re reading with your child, you can incorporate the lessons that dialogic reading offers!

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How has dialogic reading helped your child in better understanding a story? Tell us in the comments below, and don’t forget to follow blue manatee press on instagram @bluemanateepress for your daily dose of books, art, and inspiration!