Content not form predicts oral language comprehension: the influence of the medium on preschoolers’ story understanding

Published on May 23, 2017in Reading and Writing
· DOI :10.1007/S11145-017-9750-4
Susan B. Neuman46
Estimated H-index: 46
(NYU: New York University),
Kevin M. Wong6
Estimated H-index: 6
(NYU: New York University),
Tanya Kaefer10
Estimated H-index: 10
(Lakehead University)
The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of digital and non-digital storybooks on low-income preschoolers’ oral language comprehension. Employing a within-subject design on 38 four-year-olds from a Head Start program, we compared the effect of medium on preschoolers’ target words and comprehension of stories. Four digital storybooks were adapted and printed for read-alouds. Children were randomly read two stories on the digital platform, and two by the assessors. Following the story, children completed vocabulary and comprehension tasks, and a brief motivation checklist. We found no significant differences across medium; children comprehended equally well regardless of whether the story was read digitally or in person. However, using repeated ANOVA measures, we found a significant main effect of the story read. This research indicates that the content of the book rather than its form predicts story comprehension. Implications for using digital media in the preschool years are discussed.
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