Preschoolers’ word learning and story comprehension during shared book reading
Jimenez, Sofia Renee
Providing vocabulary instruction during book reading is an effective way to support word learning for preschool-aged children. We test the placement of such instruction to provide insight into the cognitive abilities that support word learning and story comprehension. 3-to-5-year-olds (N = 83) were read a storybook that included instruction on six new words. Instruction was provided either during (inside) or before/after (outside) the story. Children were then tested on their ability to identify the named items, generalize to unfamiliar exemplars, and comprehend the story. Word learning and story comprehension were above chance and similar across the inside and outside conditions. However, memory skills were stronger predictors of word learning and story comprehension in the inside condition. These results suggest that interactive vocabulary instruction during the story may place more demands on preschoolers’ cognitive resources and may not be equally appropriate for all children.