Child Care and Early Education Research Connections

Skip to main content

Supporting inferential thinking in preschoolers: Effects of discussion on children's story comprehension

This study examines the effects of low- and high- cognitive demand discussion on children's story comprehension and identifies contributions of discussion, initial vocabularies, and parent reading involvement. A total of 70 English learner preschoolers took baseline vocabulary tests in Portuguese and English, were randomly assigned to experimental or control conditions, and were read pairs of books in small groups. In the experimental condition, 1 book per pair was discussed using low- cognitive demand (literal) talk. The other was discussed using high-cognitive demand (inferential) talk. In the control condition, books were read aloud without discussion. All children took story comprehension tests (new literal and inferential questions) following books' third readings. Findings showed significant effects of discussion on comprehension. Repeated measures analyses indicated significant effects of high-demand discussion on both question types, particularly inferential questions. Regression indicated significant contributions of high-demand discussion beyond English vocabulary and home reading. Practice or Policy: High-demand discussion significantly influences chigldren's inferential thinking skill, contributes benefits over and above expected impacts of initial vocabulary, and may offer benefits over low-demand talk for literal details. Teachers need not wait to engage young language learners in cognitively challenging discussion. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

Related resources include summaries, versions, measures (instruments), or other resources in which the current document plays a part. Research products funded by the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation are related to their project records.

- You May Also Like

These resources share similarities with the current selection.

COVID-19 impacts: Spring 2020: Think Small survey of Ramsey/Hennepin County providers

Reports & Papers

Effects of a play program on creative thinking of preschool children

Reports & Papers

What support do preschool practitioners need to foster young children's mathematical thinking?

Reports & Papers
Release: 'v1.55.0' | Built: 2024-02-23 07:59:10 EST