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Preschoolers’ word-learning during storybook reading interactions: Comparing repeated and elaborated input


Purpose: Previous research shows that shared storybook reading interactions can function as effective speech and language interventions for young children, helping to improve a variety of skills—including word-learning. This study sought to investigate the potential benefits of elaboration of new words during a single storybook reading with preschoolers. Method: Thirty-three typically developing children ages 35-37 months listened to a storybook containing novel words that were either repeated with a definition, repeated with no additional information, or only said once. Their receptive word-learning for these novel words was then evaluated via a preferential looking task. We analyzed children’s correct looks to target pictures and compared looking behavior across the three levels of presentation. Results: Results showed that preschoolers demonstrated successful receptive word-learning after a single storybook reading interaction with an adult when target words were repeated, either with or without elaboration. Within this context, elaboration was not required for preschoolers’ receptive word-learning. Conclusions: These results support the use of storybook reading with young children as a way to foster early receptive word-learning and highlight the importance of repeated exposure to novel material either with or without additional semantic information. (author abstract)

Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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