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Preschoolers' Listening Comprehension of Digital Storybooks

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posted on 01.05.2012, 00:00 authored by Kathleen A. Paciga
Research has shown that the activity, the text and the individual contribute to text comprehension. This study examines listening comprehension outcomes from a digital storybook environment. Prior to listening to a digital storybook, 152 at-risk preschoolers were assessed for knowledge (receptive vocabulary, topic knowledge, domain knowledge of computers) and interest in the storybook. Each student was randomly assigned to listen to one of four presentation formats of Stellaluna (Canon, 1993) that varied in the audio and visual components of its presentation and its interactivity. Following the story listening activity, each child’s listening comprehension was assessed. To examine the effects of various features of digital storybooks (e.g., interactivity, animation, extra-textual supports) on listening comprehension a MANOVA was run and yielded significant effects of story listening condition and age on the combination of listening comprehension measures (picture sequencing task and explicit/implicit comprehension probes). A Condition X Age interaction was not detected. Planned contrasts indicate the presentation format with extra-textual, inter-character dialogue to support the story’s plot may have been related to higher explicit listening comprehension scores. To examine the relationship between variables associated with the individual and listening comprehension outcomes, each measure of listening comprehension was entered as a criterion variable with knowledge variables as predictors in multiple regression. Interest variables were omitted from these analyses because of low return rates and ceiling effects. Results indicate receptive vocabulary, domain and topic knowledge are not significant predictors of story sequencing for any age group participating in this study. Receptive vocabulary, domain and topic knowledge are significant predictors of both explicit and implicit comprehension, with more of the variance in explicit and implicit comprehension of three-year-old participants accounted for by domain, or computer, knowledge. This study concludes that the digital storybooks employed insufficiently supported preschoolers’ listening comprehension; very low means were exhibited on all listening comprehension outcomes. This study also recommends that the field continues advocating for purposeful inclusion of technology with young children in schools, particularly in communities at-risk for reading failure where parents are less likely to have access to the newest technologies. Limitations and implications for future research are discussed.



Lawless, Kimberly A.


Curriculum & Instruction

Degree Grantor

University of Illinois at Chicago

Degree Level


Committee Member

Teale, William H. Raphael, Taffy E. Yin, Yue Korat, Ofra

Publisher Statement

Dissertation 2011

Issue date


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