The role of attention in word learning from shared storybook readings

Flack, Zoe Martine (2018) The role of attention in word learning from shared storybook readings. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Shared storybook readings with an adult provide children with opportunities to imagine different worlds, experiment with new ideas and be inspired. Existing research shows that shared storybook reading also supports word learning. To date the role of attention in word learning from shared storybooks has been largely overlooked. The aims of this research programme were to investigate how changes to storybook reading interactions, or storybook formats might influence children’s word learning by making target words and objects more or less salient using various attentional manipulations which could be used in the real world.
Chapter 1 provides an introduction and literature review. Chapter 2 presents a multi-level meta-analysis of studies of word comprehension from shared storybook reading. Empirical chapters (Chapters 3-6) use bespoke storybooks controlling for story length and number of exposures to novel vocabulary to examine children’s word learning from storybooks. Participants are 3- and 4-year-old typically developing children. In Chapter 3 children’s eye movements are recorded while they are presented with repeated or different stories. We find no evidence of differences in eye movements or word learning between conditions. Chapter 4 demonstrates that presenting storybooks one page at a time (as in Chapter 3) improves word learning compared with when two pages are displayed at a time. Chapter 5 investigates whether illustration complexity (Experiment 1) or salient illustration features (Experiment 2a and b) affect children’s learning of the depicted novel words. We found no evidence to support this with the stimuli we used. Chapter 6 investigated the role of storybook repetition in learning new words and the development of narrative skills.
Overall, the research programme supports the idea that children’s word learning can best be supported by storybooks and reading styles which provide a suitable level of informational content and adult scaffolding from which they can learn.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1025 Teaching (Principles and practice) > LB1049.9 Reading (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1050.9 Educational psychology > LB1060 Learning
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1140 Preschool education. Nursery schools
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2018 14:43
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2018 14:43

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