How much do preschool children look at print within storybooks when adults read to them? This study sought to answer this question as well as to examine the effects of adult verbal and nonverbal references to print on children's visual attention to print during storybook reading. Forty-four preschool-aged children participated in this study designed to determine the amount of visual attention children paid to print in 4 planned variations of storybook reading. Children's visual attention to print was examined when adults commented and questioned about print (verbal print condition) or pointed to and tracked the print (nonverbal print condition), relative to 2 comparison conditions (verbatim reading and verbal picture conditions). Results showed that children rarely look at print, with about 5%-6% of their fixations allocated to print in verbatim and verbal picture reading conditions. However, preschoolers' visual attention to print increases significantly when adults verbally and nonverbally reference print; both reading styles exerted similar effects. The authors conclude that explicit referencing of print is 1 way to increase young children's contacts with print during shared storybook reading.
"While some parents do this, a change toward more elaborate questions may not happen equally for all children. Given studies that stress the importance of questions for promoting children's interest in and understanding of letters and print (Justice et al., 2008; Massey et al., 2008), our results suggest that lower SES children may be at a disadvantage by having fewer of these interactions. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: When formal literacy instruction begins, around the age of 5 or 6, children from families low in socioeconomic status (SES) tend to be less prepared than children from families of higher SES. The goal of our study is to explore one route through which SES may influence children's early literacy skills: informal conversations about letters. The study builds on previous studies (Robins and Treiman, 2009; Robins et al., 2012, 2014) of parent-child conversations that show how U. S. parents and their young children talk about writing and provide preliminary evidence about similarities and differences in parent-child conversations as a function of SES. Focusing on parents and children aged three to five, we conducted five separate analyses of these conversations, asking whether and how family SES influences the previously established patterns. Although we found talk about letters in both upper and lower SES families, there were differences in the nature of these conversations. The proportion of letter talk utterances that were questions was lower in lower SES families and, of all the letter names that lower SES families talked about, more of them were uttered in isolation rather than in sequences. Lower SES families were especially likely to associate letters with the child's name, and they placed more emphasis on sequences in alphabetic order. We found no SES differences in the factors that influenced use of particular letter names (monograms), but there were SES differences in two-letter sequences (digrams). Focusing on the alphabet and on associations between the child's name and the letters within it may help to interest the child in literacy activities, but they many not be very informative about the relationship between letters and words in general. Understanding the patterns in parent-child conversations about letters is an important first step for exploring their contribution to children's early literacy skills and school readiness.
Frontiers in Psychology 06/2014; 5:632. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00632 · 2.80 Impact Factor
"To explain this inconsistency, we assume that a small amount of time preschool children spent on looking at print during book reading may be enough to learn about print. Even when eye fixations on print are brief, the sum total may result in growth of print knowledge (Justice, Pullen, & Pence, 2008). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Not all young children benefit from book exposure in preschool age. It is claimed that the ability to hold information in mind (short-term memory), to ignore distraction (inhibition), and to focus attention and stay focused (sustained attention) may have a moderating effect on children's reactions to the home literacy environment. In a group of 228 junior kindergarten children with a native Dutch background, with a mean age of 54.29 months (SD = 2.12 months), we explored therefore the relationship between book exposure, cognitive control and early literacy skills. Parents filled in a HLE questionnaire (book sharing frequency and an author recognition checklist as indicator of parental leisure reading habits), and children completed several tests in individual sessions with the researcher (a book-cover recognition test, PPVT, letter knowledge test, the subtests categories and patterns of the SON, and cognitive control measures namely digit span of the KABC, a peg tapping task and sustained attention of the ANT). Main findings were: (1) Children's storybook knowledge mediated the relationship between home literacy environment and literacy skills. (2) Both vocabulary and letter knowledge were predicted by book exposure. (3) Short-term memory predicted vocabulary over and above book exposure. (4) None of the cognitive control mechanisms moderated the beneficial effects of book exposure.
Reading and Writing 04/2011; 24(4):395-412. DOI:10.1007/s11145-010-9233-3 · 1.44 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although many studies have explored shared book reading between preschoolers and their families, very few have examined this practice within a large, nationally representative sample. Using the ECLS-B dataset, this study investigated shared reading among nearly 700 families of diverse ethnic, linguistic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Coding of families’ book-related discussion focused on the variety of types of talk that parents used during reading. Results showed that parents focused primarily on the meaning of the story, with little attention to the code of the text. The range of talk techniques that parents used was largely independent of background factors such as child gender, ethnicity, or age, as well as family home language. A wider variety of meaning-related remarks by parents was linked to more advanced language skills among preschoolers. Findings provide a portrait of the nature of shared book reading discussion among American families, a profile of the background factors that are linked to this talk, and a precise account of the unique contributions of this talk to key emergent language and literacy competencies.
Reading and Writing 02/2014; 27(2). DOI:10.1007/s11145-013-9445-4 · 1.44 Impact Factor
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