The Impact of Reading Expressiveness on the Listening Comprehension of Storybooks by Prekindergarten Children PurposeThe purpose of this study was to determine the effect of oral reading expressiveness on the comprehension of storybooks by 4‐ and 5‐year‐old prekindergarten children. The possible impact of prosody on listening comprehension was explored.MethodNinety‐two prekindergarten children (M age  =  57.26 months, SD  =  3.89 months) listened to an expressive ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 2013
The Impact of Reading Expressiveness on the Listening Comprehension of Storybooks by Prekindergarten Children
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • William A. Mira
    University of Georgia, Athens
  • Paula J. Schwanenflugel
    University of Georgia, Athens
  • Correspondence to William A. Mira: wam2r@uga.edu
  • Editor: Marilyn Nippold
    Editor: Marilyn Nippold×
  • Associate Editor: Shelley Gray
    Associate Editor: Shelley Gray×
  • © American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Article Information
Development / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Research Article
Research Article   |   April 2013
The Impact of Reading Expressiveness on the Listening Comprehension of Storybooks by Prekindergarten Children
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, April 2013, Vol. 44, 183-194. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2012/11-0073)
History: Received September 22, 2011 , Revised February 8, 2012 , Accepted December 18, 2012
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, April 2013, Vol. 44, 183-194. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2012/11-0073)
History: Received September 22, 2011; Revised February 8, 2012; Accepted December 18, 2012
Web of Science® Times Cited: 3

PurposeThe purpose of this study was to determine the effect of oral reading expressiveness on the comprehension of storybooks by 4‐ and 5‐year‐old prekindergarten children. The possible impact of prosody on listening comprehension was explored.

MethodNinety‐two prekindergarten children (M age  =  57.26 months, SD  =  3.89 months) listened to an expressive or inexpressive recording of 1 of 2 similar stories. Story comprehension was tested using assessments of both free recall and cued recall.

ResultsChildren showed statistically significantly better cued recall for the expressive readings of stories compared to the inexpressive readings of stories. This effect generalized across stories and when story length was controlled across both expressive and inexpressive versions. The effect of expressiveness on children's free recall was not significant.

ConclusionHighly expressive readings resulted in better comprehension of storybooks by prekindergarten children. Further, because recordings were used, this effect might be attributed to the facilitation of language processing rather than to enhanced social interaction between the reader and the child.

Acknowledgments
We thank Pedro Portes and Nancy Knapp, who provided valuable input on a previous version of this manuscript. We thank Stephanie Lai and Dianne Tolentino for their help in data collection and Rebekah Benjamin for her assistance in creating story recordings. We thank the parents, children, and staff of the Child Development Lab at the McPhaul Center of the University of Georgia, and Down's preschool, for their participation in this research.
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