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Abstract

Shared book reading positively effects language development, yet the causal pathways of this relationship are not understood. Evidence shows that the book complexity modulates caregiver talk, but the link between the book linguistic complexity and child syntactic development remains unclear (Noble, et al. 2017). This project describes the speech generated during book reading to see how it differs from typical child-directed speech and whether the picture-book sentence complexity is present in the speech that children hear. 12 families with children aged 30-37 months (MBCDI raw vocabulary 350-675 out of 680 total) recorded a total of 183 picture-book reading sessions in their homes. The books were controlled for word length (short: 125 words vs long: 1472 words) and syntactic complexity according to the 4 categories analyzed in Montag (2019): complex (17 tokens) vs. simple (0-7 tokens). Variability across families, books and constructions has been observed. Majority of complex language gets into child-directed speech. Ongoing work in our lab explores the factors of language modifications.
Introducing a Novel Corpus of Book
Reading Sessions Recorded at Home
Anastasia Stoops and Jessica L. Montag
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
There is a lot of evidence that shared book reading positively affects language
development (e.g. Demir-Lira, Applebaum, Goldin-Meadow, & Levine, 2019; Hoff, 2013; Payne, Whitehurst, & Angell, 1994; Pace, Alper,
Burchinal, Golinkoff & Hirsh-Pasek, 2018; among many many others!)
Yet, recent meta-analyses of home-book reading intervention studies report only small to
medium effect sizes (e.g. Flack, Field, & Horst, 2018; Mol, Bus, de Jong, & Smeets, 2008; Noble, Sala, Peter, Lingwood, Rowland,
Gobet, & Pine, 2018)
To adjudicate between these two conflicting perspectives we need to understand the
language that is generated during book reading
While caregiver talk and child-adult interaction during book reading are receiving a lot of
attention from many researchers world-wide, the role of book linguistic complexity
has been much less explored.
The goal of the project is to build a corpus of transcribed book
reading sessions recorded at home
We varied the books that we provided to the families by length and syntactic complexity.
See Methods section for more detail.
BACKGROUND
METHOD
RESULTS
Even in our skewed small college-town sample there is a large variability across
families, books, and syntactic constructions.
High number of “1”s in the proportion scores (Figure 3) points that language
complexity gets into the child-directed language.
On-going work in our lab is focused on:
understanding modifications of the syntactic constructions from the four
books that were given to the families
transcribing and analyzing book reading sessions with the books that families own
that we asked our participants to record, in addition to the four provided books
CONCLUSIONS
REFERENCES
Ece Demir-Lira, Ö., Applebaum, L. R., Goldin-Meadow, S., & Levine, S. C. (2019). Parents’ early book reading to children:
Relation to children's later language and literacy outcomes controlling for other parent language input. Developmental
science,22(3), e12764.
Flack, Z. M., Field, A. P., & Horst, J. S. (2018). The effects of shared storybook reading on word learning: A meta-
analysis. Developmental psychology,54(7), 1334.
Hoff, E. (2013). Language development. Cengage Learning.
Mol, S. E., Bus, A. G., De Jong, M. T., & Smeets, D. J. (2008). Added value of dialogic parent–child book readings: A meta-
analysis. Early education and development,19(1), 7-26.
Noble, C., Sala, G., Peter, M., Lingwood, J., Rowland, C., Gobet, F., & Pine, J. (2019). The impact of shared book reading on
children's language skills: A meta-analysis. Educational Research Review,28, 100290.
Pace, A., Alper, R., Burchinal, M. R., Golinkoff, R. M., & Hirsh-Pasek, K. (2019). Measuring success: Within and cross-domain
predictors of academic and social trajectories in elementary school. Early Childhood Research Quarterly,46, 112-125.
Payne, A. C., Whitehurst, G. J., & Angell, A. L. (1994). The role of home literacy environment in the development of language
ability in preschool children from low-income families. Early Childhood Research Quarterly,9(3-4), 427-440.
This work was supported by NIH Grant R03 HD096157, NSF grant BCS-1749594, and a James S.
McDonnell Foundation Scholar Award to JLM
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
caregiver
talk
child-adult
interaction
book linguistic
complexity
=?+
+
HOME BOOK READING COMPONENTS
=
+
20 hours of
audio recordings
183 individual book reading
occurrences 12 families
Digital Recorder: OLYMPUS VN-541PC
BOOKS
Book Title
Book
Length
(Word
Count)
Syntactic Construction Type Counts
Subject
Relative
Clause
Object
Relative
Clause
Oblique
Relative
Clause
Passive
Main
Clause
That is not a good idea
Short-Simple
(125)
0000
Oh the places you’ll go!
Medium-
Complex
(939)
5442
When dinosaurs came
with everything
Medium-
Simple
(1018)
0110
Stellaluna
Long-Simple
(1472)
6100
SYNTACTIC COMPLEXITY EXAMPLES
Object Relative Clause: The next thing I knew, she had him cleaning
the gutters ( from “When dinosaurs came with everything”)
Subject Relative Clause: More bats gathered around to see the strange
young bat who behaved like a bird ( from “Stellaluna”)
Oblique Relative Clause: The places you’ll go!
( from “Oh the places you’ll go!”)
Passive Main Clause: You’ll be left in a Lurch
( from “Oh the places you’ll go!”)
Participant demographics with mean (range) unless noted otherwise
Race
White:58
%; Asian:17%;
Asian
-White:17%; Other:8%
Education
PhD: 42
%; MA:4%;
BA:33
%;AS:21%
Income
$200,000+: 8%
$100,000
-$200,000:33%
$75,000
-$100,000:33%
$50,000
-$75,000:26%
# of non-children
books at home
200
(50-1000)
Parent
Child
Age 31 m.o
(27-37)
MCDI 49%
(5-98%)
# of children books
at home
200
(50-1000)
Figure 1. Reading
session duration by
family and book
1 dot = 1 individual
book reading session
Figure 2. Reading
session duration by book
Figure 3. Proportion of
syntactic constructions
uttered by type and book
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