To examine what kinds of parent–child interactions are elicited by different literacy-related activities, an exploratory study was conducted with 19 mother–child dyads. Although prompting boards are widely incorporated in pre- and primary school curricula, and in various family literacy programmes, scientific knowledge supporting their use is lacking. Within the context of the Dutch family literacy programme ‘Early Education at Home’ [Dutch Youth Institute. (2012). Early education at home. http://www.nji.nl/nl/Producten-en-diensten/Methodieken-en-instrumenten/VVE-Thuis-(3-6-jaar)], we compared levels of abstraction in parent–child interactions during prompting boards to an activity that has been researched extensively: shared reading. Our results show that children’s contributions to the interactions are significantly larger during prompting board activities than during shared reading. Utterances of a higher level of abstraction were generally more prevalent during shared reading. However, we also found that mother’s inference making utterances – the highest level of abstraction – were more characteristic of prompting board discussions. Implications for research and practice are discussed.