Mothers' and Teachers' Mental-State Discourse With Preschoolers During Storybook Reading

Margalit Ziv, Marie-Lyne Smadja, Dorit Aram

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mothers and teachers play a pivotal role in promoting preschool children's theory of mind. This study explored and compared mothers' and teachers' mental-state discourse during storybook reading with children, focusing on their use of mental terms and references to three mental-state aspects: false belief, mental causality, and different points of view. Participants were 60 mothers and their children, and 60 teachers and 300 preschoolers. Mothers read the book to one child and teachers read the same book to groups of 5 children. The book involved a central false-belief theme. Main findings revealed that mothers and teachers elaborated on book-related mental states. However, teachers' discourse included more mental terms and more references to mental causality and different people's perspectives. The findings suggest that reading books with rich mental-state contents encourages rich discourse on mental-state elements. Parents and teachers should be guided in how to use their unique knowledge and relationships with children to enrich their mediation of books' mental-state aspects and discuss them with children. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-119
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Cognitive Education and Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014


  • Psychology
  • Studies
  • Cognition & reasoning
  • Books
  • Mothers


Dive into the research topics of 'Mothers' and Teachers' Mental-State Discourse With Preschoolers During Storybook Reading'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this