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Effects of storybook reading style on comprehension: The role of word elaboration and coherence questions

Research Findings: Two studies examined the effects of specific reading styles on the comprehension of stories of at-risk preschool Chilean children. Study 1 examined the effect of word elaboration on story comprehension with 72 children. Children who were exposed to elaborations of unknown words during storybook reading achieved better comprehension than those who were not after vocabulary and narrative comprehension skills were controlled. This effect was mediated by children's learning of the elaborated words and thus provides evidence for the causal role of word knowledge in story comprehension. Study 2 examined the effect of asking questions about coherence relations versus other kinds of open-ended questions such as requests for predictions, descriptions, and real-life connections. Children exposed to coherence questions achieved better story comprehension than those exposed to other open-ended questions after initial vocabulary, narrative comprehension skills, and attentiveness were controlled. Practice or Policy: These findings suggest the use of specific reading strategies for improving comprehension. Teaching rare words and asking coherence-related questions during reading leads to better understanding of the story. These are 2 easy methods that could be integrated into daily teaching practices to help improve children's narrative comprehension. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers

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