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Vocabulary acquisition without adult explanations in repeated shared book reading: An eye movement study

When preschoolers listen to storybooks, are their eye movements related to their vocabulary acquisition in this context? This study addressed this question with 36 four-year-old French-speaking participants by assessing their general receptive vocabulary knowledge and knowledge of low-frequency words in 3 storybooks. These books were read verbatim to them 7 times over a 2-week interval. At the first and seventh reading, children's eye movements were tracked. Results revealed considerable stability in eye movements, with children spending the vast majority of their viewing time on the illustrations at both time points. Children made modest vocabulary gains on the words in the books, and as expected, these gains were related to their general receptive vocabulary. Most importantly, viewing time during the first reading on depictions of corresponding nouns in the story partially mediated the advantage that overall receptive vocabulary held. As such, this study points to active matching of picture with text during shared book reading and children's processing style when listening to stories as a mechanism for vocabulary acquisition. (author abstract)
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Reports & Papers

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