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The influence of educational television programming on preschoolers' emergent literacy: A review of the literature

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Abstract

For over two decades educational researchers and practitioners have placed tremendous emphasis on ensuring children acquire a solid literacy foundation during the preschool years in order to successfully learn to read once in school (Pelletier, 2008). This focus is predicated on research that suggests children who enter school without a literacy-rich foundation on which to build rarely catch up to their peers who have acquired such a foundation, placing them at risk for a myriad of difficulties across subject areas (Desrochers & Glickman, 2008). The purpose of this systematic aggregative review was to summarize research reporting the effects of educational television viewing – an increasingly prevalent approach to promoting preschoolers' cognitive development – on preschool viewers' emergent literacy growth. Review findings may provide a range of educational partners, including early childhood educators, teachers and parents, further information on which to draw when planning activities for more fully supporting children's early reading development.
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The influence of educational television programming on preschoolers’ emergent literacy:
A review of the literature
Erin A. Schryer, PhD
University of New Brunswick
Erin.Schryer@unb.ca
Abstract
For over two decades educational researchers and practitioners have placed tremendous emphasis on ensuring
children acquire a solid literacy foundation during the preschool years in order to successfully learn to read once in
school (Pelletier, 2008). This focus is predicated on research that suggests children who enter school without a
literacy-rich foundation on which to build rarely catch up to their peers who have acquired such a foundation,
placing them at risk for a myriad of difficulties across subject areas (Desrochers & Glickman, 2008). The purpose of
this systematic aggregative review was to summarize research reporting the effects of educational television viewing
an increasingly prevalent approach to promoting preschoolers’ cognitive development – on preschool viewers
emergent literacy growth. Review findings may provide a range of educational partners, including early childhood
educators, teachers and parents, further information on which to draw when planning activities for more fully
supporting children’s early reading development.
Introduction
Meta-analysis of over 30 years of research on the popular children’s program Sesame Street indicates that children
can learn various concepts and skills, including important language and literacy skills, from viewing educational
television (Mares & Pan, 2013). In spite of this research, little has been done in Canada on a wide-scale to capitalize
on the potential of television for teaching preschoolers literacy concepts that are related to later literacy success,
however. This represents a missed educational opportunity for preschoolers as one in four Canadian children arrive
at school without the literacy foundation they require for learning to read (Pelletier, 2008).
Purcell-Gates (1996) proposes that the most influential cultural contexts impacting young children’s language and
literacy learning are the home and community, with television and other screen-media increasingly forming a key
part of these environments. Data aggregated from the Canadian Health Measures Survey (Statistics Canada, 2009,
2010, 2011) reporting on the activity levels of Canadian preschoolers, reveals that Canadian children aged 3-4 years
spend an average of 2.2 hours in front of a screen each day (Active Healthy Kids Canada, 2013). A review
conducted by Common Sense Media (CSM) (2011) in the United States specified that American children 0-8 years
spend an average of 1 hour 44 minutes watching television in a typical day, and that television viewing continues to
dominate their screen usage representing 74% of their media diet versus just 13% for the computer and 4% for cell
phones, iPods, and iPads.
Despite preschoolers’ continued preference for television, a limited number of empirical studies have explored the
influence of contemporary educational programs on viewers’ cognitive development, including literacy. New
research in this area is necessary to determine whether contemporary television programs, particularly those being
promoted as educational, achieve their goals or claims of teaching various concepts and skills to young viewers. The
amount of time preschoolers spend watching television underscores the importance of conducting this review as an
exploratory first step in determining whether television can be used as a more deliberate and widely-scaled learning
context for preschool children who may not otherwise receive the quality and quantity of emergent literacy exposure
and stimulation necessary in the early years to prepare them adequately for formal schooling and learning to read.
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In the following section, the theoretical framework and research questions guiding this review’s approach and focus
are described. Methods for conducting the review are then delineated followed by review results, which are
organized into three main sections described in more detail below. The research literature examined indicates that
an evidence-based foundation exists for exploring further the instructional and outreach potential of utilising
educational television as an emergent literacy intervention context for young children.
Theoretical Framework and Research Questions
Emergent literacy theory as it relates to children’s reading development provides the conceptual frame for this
literature review. Emergent literacy theorists believe that young children begin to acquire literacy from birth and that
certain emergent literacy skills are foundational to children’s learning to read (Hammill, 2004; Justice, 2006; Lever
& Sénéchal, 2010). Empirical and theoretical prediction studies have demonstrated that nearly every literacy
behaviour children exhibit in the preschool years is linked to later literacy achievements (e.g. National Early
Literacy Panel, 2008). Research indicates, for example, that a child’s knowledge of letter names and forms in
kindergarten can be used to predict, with great accuracy, their ability to master the alphabetic principle a critical
skill that facilitates the encoding and decoding of text (Adams, 1990; Stahl & Murray, 1994). In fact, children’s
emergent phonological awareness, print knowledge, and oral language development have all been causally
associated with children’s success in learning to read (Storch & Whitehurst, 2002).
To determine whether and to what extent preschoolers’ television viewing influences their literacy development, it
was necessary to aggregate literature exploring the cognitive effects of children’s television viewing on various
emergent literacy skills. Specifically, this literature review sought to summarize what researchers have demonstrated
regarding the influence of contemporary television programs on preschoolers’ emergent literacy and the implications
of this literature for policy and practice. This literature review is part of a larger research study exploring the
educational merit of a screen-based intervention program for positively influencing preschoolers’ emergent literacy.
As such, investigating the role of contemporary television programs on child emergent literacy skill acquisition was
necessary.
Method
Search Strategy and Inclusion Criteria
An aggregative approach to conducting a systematic review (Gough, Thomas, & Oliver, 2012) was followed for
searching the Education Resources Information Centre (ERIC), the Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health
Literature (CINAHL) and the Psychological Information Database (PsycInfo) for sources related to preschoolers’
emergent literacy and television exposure. The following search terms were used in various combinations:
‘emergent literacy’, ‘early literacy’, ‘literacy’, ‘reading’, ‘preschool’, ‘kindergarten’, ‘television’, ‘educational
television’, and ‘media’. Date parameters were limited to 1999 to 2013 for conducting a recent review given the
rapid pace with which media offerings for children, including television programs, change. Many television
programs viewed by preschoolers more than 14 years ago are qualitatively different from those offered today.
Contemporary educational television programs such as SuperWhy!, Between the Lions and Martha Speaks were also
included as part of the search since these programs specifically target preschool audiences and children’s literacy
development. Subsequently, relevant websites associated with Ready-to-Learn Television, a multi-million dollar
public media initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, were reviewed to ascertain relevant
research. Finally, reference lists of the identified sources were examined to identify additional sources not identified
in the previously described database searches.
To be included in this review, studies had to be publicly accessible and experimental or quasi-experimental in their
design. The review includes international investigations published in English. Finally, included studies must have
explored whether viewing a television program positively or significantly influenced one or more emergent literacy
skills among a population of preschool children. For the purposes of this review, preschoolers were defined as
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children aged 2-6 years of age. Sources included were comprised of both research articles and research reports on
the topic of emergent literacy development and television viewing. Table 1 summarizes included studies.
Analysis
Each source was examined through the lens of the two research questions described above. A matrix was developed
to organize studies and to delineate the literacy skill or skills investigated, the stimulus television program viewed,
mean age of participants, and main findings. The matrix was then reviewed to identify the emergent literacy skills
investigated among the included sources. Quality assurance tests were not conducted on each identified source
because concepts examined through an aggregative review process typically include predefined concepts (e.g.
specific emergent literacy skills) that are investigated in a specific and predefined manner (e.g. through an
experimental design), as was the case in this review. In this way, the inclusion criteria adequately address quality
assurance issues. Configurative reviews, in contrast, explore concepts or ideas that are examined through various
methods and more iterative processes (Gough, Thomas & Oliver, 2012; Volis, Sandelowski, Barroso & Hasselblad,
2008); therefore, it is necessary to examine each individual study for quality, and thus inclusion, more closely.
Findings
All of the television programs investigated in the included studies were educational that is, they were produced
with the intent of teaching a specific skill or concept to viewers. This qualitative distinction is important since not all
television programs are made alike. Many are entertainment programs that generally do not promote children’s
development, cognitive or otherwise (Fisch, 2004). Data analyzed from the 10 experimental studies included in this
review indicated that for the majority of literacy indices, viewers outperformed non-viewers on various literacy tasks
after a predetermined intervention or viewing period. Gains were statistically significant among experimental
viewing groups on many measures, though findings were mixed in some cases, while in other cases findings were
moderated by specific indicators, such as reading-risk status (See Linebarger, Kosanic, Greenwood & Doku, 2004).
The emergent skills investigated represent well the range of literacy skills that have been causally linked to early and
conventional reading achievement (NELP, 2008; Justice, 2006), including children’s emergent phonological
awareness, vocabulary, and narrative understanding.
The following sections summarize relevant research investigating the capacity of educational television to support
preschoolers’ emergent vocabulary growth, narrative knowledge and phonological awareness. Skills are presented
in this manner to capture effectively and efficiently the range of skills targeted by the included sources. An
additional important dimension of emergent literacy targeted by many contemporary television programs for
children is print knowledge, which includes comprehension of both letters and print concepts, for example, that
print is read from left to right. Given the wealth of studies focused on this construct, an entire separate manuscript
has been developed for detailing this research in detail. In brief, however, findings from that review indicate that
children can acquire foundational print knowledge from viewing educational television programs, including letter
names, letter sounds and various print concepts (Linebarger, 2000; Linebarger, Kosanic, Greenwood, & Doku,
2004; Uchikoshi, 2006). In the following section, findings as they relate to children’s emergent vocabulary
development are described.
Vocabulary
Prince, Grace, Linebarger, Atkinson and Huffman (2002) investigated the influence of viewing Between the Lions
(BTL) on children’s receptive vocabulary using the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT-III) (Dunn & Dunn,
1997). Two distinct populations of young children, those living in the Mississippi Delta (N= 69) and those living on
Mississippi Choctaw Indian Reservations (N= 93) were examined. Because of the highly unique characteristics of
each sample, comparisons were not made across groups; essentially, two separate studies emerged from this
research. Participants in each sample (Mississippi Delta and Mississippi Choctaw) included 4-year-old
preschoolers, kindergarteners, and grade one children. Once pre-testing was completed, the experimental group
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from each sample viewed BTL at least two episodes per week for a 7-month period, read a book related in some
way to the episode, and completed a related hands-on activity. Control sample children continued to receive
standard educational practices from their teachers.
In terms of generalized vocabulary growth, for both the Mississippi Delta and Choctaw samples, there were no
significant main effects for condition as measured by the PPVT -III. However, when considering the effects of
viewing by grade, some significant interactions were detected for the Delta group though the relationship was not
stable. At the preschool level a significant main effect for group emerged whereby the control group outperformed
the experimental group; at the kindergarten level a significant main effect for group emerged again, but this time in
favour of the experimental group; at the grade 1 level, no significant main effects were detected. Results from this
study must be interpreted with caution since the intervention also included the use of books and activities led by
teachers.
Another television program being actively investigated by Ready-to-Learn Television is Martha Speaks. Linebarger,
Moses and McMenamin (2010) investigated the impacts of viewing this program on preschoolers’ vocabulary
development. Much like Prince (2002), two distinct samples of children participated in the study with no cross-
sample comparisons conducted. The samples were labelled urban and rural. Because the focus of a larger study
being conducted by the authors (Linebarger, Moses, Liebeskind & McMenamin, 2013) was to determine whether
placing on-screen print of target vocabulary words enhanced vocabulary acquisition, groups were divided into: 1)
viewing with no print; 2) viewing with print; and 3) control condition who received no instructions to view the
program at all.
For both the urban and rural groups, viewers outperformed control peers on the post-test with researcher-developed
measures of program-specific receptive and expressive vocabulary. While there were no direct effects of viewing
group for either urban or rural children on PPVT-4 raw scores, the authors’ analyses of potential moderating factors
including age, gender and family socio-economic status revealed that program-specific vocabulary knowledge
translated into higher standardized vocabulary scores for urban boys and for rural low socio economic status (SES)
participants. The importance of analyzing potential moderating factors is highlighted by these findings, especially
when examined in comparison to Prince et al. (2002) where it is unknown whether such moderators exist.
Baydar, Kagitcibasi, Kuntay and Goksen (2008) examined the effects of a local television program on at-risk
preschoolers in a large metropolitan area of Turkey. Children and their mothers were randomly assigned to one of
three conditions: 1) an experimental group who watched Will You Play With Me? every weekday for 13 weeks; 2) a
control group who watched an alternative entertainment program that was broadcasted at the same time as Will You
play With Me? on a different channel for 13 weeks, and; 3) a natural observation group informed about Will You
Play With Me? and its potential benefits for children but who were not asked to watch. As part of their pre- and
post-testing, children’s receptive vocabulary knowledge was measured using tests developed by the researchers
given the absence of standardized cognitive tests in Turkey for this age group. Additionally, to determine whether
frequency of exposure to the program moderated study results, mothers were contacted via telephone to report on
how many times during the week they watched Will You Play With Me? with their child.
Post-test data indicated that the experimental group exhibited significant gains in their vocabulary development
compared to the control group regardless of exposure level. More specifically, while children in the experimental
group who had high exposure (viewed three or more times a week) exhibited significant gains in their vocabulary, so
did children in the experimental group who watched the stimulus program only once or twice a week. The
significant impact of exposure to Will You Play With Me? on participants’ emerging receptive vocabulary,
regardless of exposure level, is particularly noteworthy. A key question for researchers, educators and parents alike
in utilising television as an informal “teacher” are questions of intensity for ensuring children are watching the
desired program frequently enough for significant effects to manifest.
Narrative
Employing a quasi-experimental design, the study by Linebarger and Taylor-Piotrowski (2009) exposed
preschoolers aged 3 to 4 years (N= 311) to either expository stimuli (Zoboomafoo), embedded narrative stimuli
(Pinky Dinky Doo), or traditional narrative stimuli (Clifford the Big Red Dog) once a day for 40 school days. While
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narrative structures typically employ “dialogue and recurring characters” (Linebarger & Piotrowski, 2009) to tell a
story, expository stimuli seek to provide information about a particular topic using a more explanatory or
descriptive approach, while embedded narratives incorporate stories within an already existing narrative that is, a
story within a story.
Once random assignment to condition was completed at the classroom level and pre-testing completed, children in
viewing classrooms watched one television episode per day for 40 days. Post-tests were completed after viewing 20
episodes and again after viewing all 40 episodes using alternate forms of the pre-assessment measures. Post-test
data indicated that children in both narrative groups significantly outperformed children in the non-narrative groups
on measures of story structure. Narrative involvement and comprehension data were less straightforward and were
not significant in all cases, though the narrative groups again outperformed the expository groups on all of the
narrative-based skills measured, including story knowledge, narrative retelling and narrative comprehension.
In addition to examining the implications of program structure on children’s narrative development, researchers
have also examined commercially available programs that specifically target children’s narrative through their stated
curricular goals. One such children’s television program is Arthur. Uchikoshi (2005) examined the effects of Arthur
on children’s development of narrative skills over one academic year. Participants were recruited from Spanish-
English kindergarten classrooms in the United States. Using stratified random sampling, half of the students in each
of the six participating classrooms were assigned to watch Arthur (N= 51) while the other half were assigned to
view Between the Lions (N= 57) three times a week from October to May.
Pre-, mid-, and post-tests were used to collect data on children’s narrative skills using a researcher-developed
measure. To examine data, a descriptive analysis was conducted on the “total number of words, the mean clause
length, and the combined narrative measure” (Uchikoshi, 2005; p. 468). Individual growth modeling was then
employed to examine differences in the level and rate of change on the narrative measure among participants.
Compared to the control group who viewed Between the Lions, Arthur viewers had steeper narrative learning
trajectories at both the mid- and post-tests, indicating that children who viewed Arthur learned more narrative skills
than children who viewed Between the Lions.
Finally, to explore the innate role that the television medium may play in teaching narrative concepts to viewers
Kendeou et al. (2005) presented children aged 4-6 years with narratives either on the television or on the radio.
Then, after either viewing or listening, children were asked to recall the story and answer basic comprehension
questions. The authors found that measures of narrative comprehension across television and oral presentation were
highly interrelated, indicating that the mode of presentation was irrelevant. Interestingly, at follow-up 2 years later,
Kendeou et al. determined that, “narrative comprehension of aural and television narratives at age 6 directly
predicted reading comprehension at age 8, over and above the effect of word identification and vocabulary” (p. 95).
Phonological Awareness
Given the importance of developing strong phonological awareness skills in the early years, many contemporary
television programs focus on influencing children’s literacy by explicitly targeting phonological awareness skills.
Summative evaluations on the popular television program Between the Lions and Super WHY! have concluded that
both programs positively and significantly foster children’s phonological awareness (see Linebarger, 2000;
Linebarger, McMenamin, & Wainwright, 2008) utilising a range of phonological tasks, including rhyme and initial
sound measures.
In fact, empirical studies examining educational television and phonological awareness frequently make use of
excerpts from Between the Lions or entire episodes, given that the program explicitly targets children’s emerging
phonological awareness as evidenced by the program’s stated curricular goals. Linebarger et al. (2004), for
example, developed an intervention study using excerpts of BTL episodes to explore whether and to what extent
improvements in phonological awareness would be detected, and further, whether gains varied as a function of
children’s initial reading risk status. Consistent with research findings examined here, gains were mediated by initial
reading risk status; however, all children exhibited significant phonological awareness development regardless of
their risk-status.
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Prince et al. (2002) also examined children’s phonological awareness over the course of their study, discussed
earlier, that included children from the Mississippi Delta and Choctaw Reservation. There was no main effect for
condition (control or experiment) for Delta participants as measured by the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early
Literacy Skills (DIBELS); however, viewers’ learning growth was significantly steeper and consequently post-test
scores exceeded non-viewers on both the initial sound fluency and non-sense word fluency tasks, a task designed to
measure children’s emerging decoding and encoding abilities. Data for the Choctaw participants revealed no
significant effects for condition on any of the DIBELS tasks.
Also utilising BTL content, Uchikoshi (2006) examined individual growth rates of phonological awareness of
Spanish-English kindergartners attending 10 public schools in the United States (N= 150), as a result of viewing
either Between the Lions or Arthur a popular children’s program designed to foster children’s social and narrative
skills, discussed earlier three times per week over an entire school year. Individual growth modeling analysis
demonstrated that children who viewed Between the Lions had steeper growth trajectories than those who viewed
Arthur for each of the phonological awareness measures examined, including blending, segmenting, and matching of
initial and ending sounds of words. While lending support to the notion that children can learn foundational
phonological awareness skills from viewing television, this study also accentuates the importance of considering
content and purpose of the specific television program when attempting to foster skill development amongst
viewers.
Discussion
The sources just reviewed suggest that preschool children can learn many foundational emergent literacy skills from
viewing television programs that are produced with the intention to teach. Television programs used as stimuli in the
preceding studies included North American productions Martha Speaks, Super Why!, Between the Lions and Arthur
as well as one international production from Turkey titled Will You Play with Me? Each of these programs
successfully imparted key emergent literacy knowledge to viewers, including increased phonological awareness,
vocabulary and narrative understanding among viewing groups. This review updates and extends the research base
for understanding the important and significant contributions that appropriately designed television programs
contribute to young children’s emergent literacy skills.
For vocabulary growth, all viewers outperformed control group peers at the post-test in terms of program-specific
vocabulary (Linebarger, Moses & McMenamin, 2010) and expressive vocabulary growth (Baydar et al., 2008).
Receptive vocabulary scores were not significantly influenced by viewing as measured by the standardized Peabody
Picture Vocabulary Test (Linebarger et al., 2010; Prince et al., 2002), however. Televised narratives (Kendeou et
al., 2005) and traditional narrative structures (Linebarger & Taylor-Piotrowski, 2009) were shown to support
children’s narrative understanding while commercially available programs such as Arthur, produced with the
intention of teaching children narrative skills, were also documented to positively influence development
(Uchikoshi, 2005). Finally, studies investigating the relationship between television viewing and phonological
awareness revealed that children’s phonological skills, including initial sound fluency, blending and segmenting
can be positively and significantly influenced by viewing certain television programs (Prince et al., 2002;
Uchikoshi, 2006, respectively). While in some instances moderating variables existed, such as initial-reading risk
status (Linebarger, Kosanic, Greenwood & Doku, 2004), overall findings across this review suggest that television
programs can positively and significantly influence preschoolers’ emergent literacy development across a range of
key early skills.
One limitation of the studies described in this review is the frequent use of researcher-developed measures designed
to capture whether viewers learn specific concepts targeted in one episode, or across a number of episodes.
Linebarger et al. (2004), for instance, measured direct learning of program content through five different research-
developed tests including a speech to print matching test that was designed to measure various phonemic awareness
indicators, including children’s ability to discriminate initial consonants, final consonants, vowels and blends.
Linebarger and colleagues explicate that children were shown cards with three words printed on them and asked to
point to the word that the examiner said. The stimulus words were terms discussed in the Between the Lions
episodes that children in the experimental viewing group viewed over an intervention period. A major limitation of
these researcher-developed tests is that information concerning their validity and reliability is unknown.
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Conclusion
Examining the capacity of educational television to serve as an informal literacy teacher addresses a significant gap
in the literature around emergent literacy intervention models. Providing preschoolers with quality language and
literacy models on which they can build is imperative for facilitating their learning to read once in school (Justice,
2006). Focusing efforts on designing, piloting, and refining outreach models that are accessible to children requiring
this type of support is essential, especially given that nearly one quarter of Canadian children enter school without
the requisite language and literacy knowledge that enables them to learn to read (Jamieson, 2009).
Inherent in the notion of designing and implementing outreach models to better prepare more children before school
entry, whether at home or in daycare, is the issue of access. Concomitantly, then, outreach models investigated need
to be low-cost to end-users, whether that be early childhood educators or parents who are able to stay home with
their children. Cost-intensive interventions risk failing to reach all children requiring supplemental support in the
early years aimed at acquiring essential foundational literacy skills. Employing educational television as a
purposeful literacy support medium and strategy may address issues of reach and cost that existing curricula and
interventions typically do not.
The instructional potential of educational television to teach young children foundational early literacy concepts was
supported by the literature examined in this review and provides a compelling case for exploring further the capacity
of educational television to serve as an early literacy teacher for young children who may not otherwise receive the
quality and quantity of early language and literacy instruction they require in their regular care and educational
environments. Review findings may provide a range of educational partners, including early childhood educators,
teachers and parents, further information on which to draw for planning their activities with young for more fully
supporting children’s early reading development. Future research investigating the impact of interventions that have
incorporated components of educational television programming is necessary for more fully understanding the
educational potential of this medium and the efficacy of its integration into more explicitly educational contexts (e.g.
Schryer, Sloat & Letourneau, forthcoming).
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Table 1
Summaries of the 10 studies included in this review concerning preschoolers’ television viewing and emergent literacy develop ment
Author(s)
Year
Sample Size
Mean Age
Program Type
Outcomes
Baydar, N., Kagitcibasi, C., Kuntay, A., & Goksen, F.
2008
N=399
5.3
Educational
Phonological
awareness
Vocabulary
Linebarger, L., & Piotrowski, J.
2009
N=311
4.54
Educational
Entertainment
Narrative
involvement, recall
and comprehension
Linebarger, D., Kosanic, A., Greenwood, C., & Doku,
N.
2004
N=164
Grade 1= 7.10
Educational
Phonological
awareness
Concepts of print
Letter naming
Uchikoshi, Y.
2005
N=108
Girls= 5.6
Narrative recall and
comprehension
Uchikoshi, Y.
2006
N=150
Girls= 5.6
Educational
Phonological
Awareness
Letter recognition
Linebarger, Moses, & McMenamin
2010
N= 290
6.1
Educational
Receptive Vocabulary
Expressive
Vocabulary
Linebarger, D.
2010
N= 141
6.61
Educational
Phonological
Awareness
Letter
Knowledge
Print concepts
Writing
Linebarger
2000
N= 164
Grade 1= 7.10
Educational
Concepts of print
Phonological
awareness
Alphabet knowledge
Prince, Grace, Linebarger, Atkinson, & Huffman
2002
N= 162
Grade 1= 6.40
Educational
Receptive vocabulary
Phonological
awareness
Alphabet Knowledge
Print Concepts
Borzekowski & Henry
2010
N=160
4.9
Educational
Letter recognition
Early reading and
writing
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Chapter
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Conference Paper
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The author investigated caption use, sound, and the reading behavior of 76 children who had just completed 2nd grade. The present study indicated that beginning readers recognize more words when they view television that uses captions. The auditory element was important for comprehension tasks related to incidental elements and spontaneous use of target words, and the combination of captions and sound helped children identify the critical story elements in the video clips. Positive beliefs about one's competence in reading or watching television appeared to facilitate the recognition of words and, for boys, improve their oral reading rates. In sum, television captions, by evoking efforts to read, appeared to help a child focus on central story elements and away from distracting information, including sound effects and visual glitz. Implications are discussed.
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Article
Full-text available
The author investigated caption use, sound, and the reading behavior of 76 children who had just completed 2nd grade. The present study indicated that beginning readers recognize more words when they view television that uses captions. The auditory element was important for comprehension tasks related to incidental elements and spontaneous use of target words, and the combination of captions and sound helped children identify the critical story elements in the video clips. Positive beliefs about one's competence in reading or watching television appeared to facilitate the recognition of words and, for boys, improve their oral reading rates. In sum, television captions, by evoking efforts to read, appeared to help a child focus on central story elements and away from distracting information, including sound effects and visual glitz. Implications are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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