Young children's attention to print during shared storybook reading

Williamson, Karen
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University of Guelph

To examine young children's attention to print during shared storybook reading from a developmental perspective, 76 boys and girls between the ages of 3 and 5 years were each read two storybooks that had been specially formatted. For half of the children, the experimenter tracked the text with her finger during reading. The storybook sessions were videotaped and later coded for children's looking-time at the text vs. the illustrations of the books. After each book was read, children were asked to recognize elements of the illustrations and print from among a set of foils. In general, the percentage of time that the children spent looking at the print was quite low, but increased significantly with age and finger tracking. Finger tracking was also associated with print recognition accuracy at some ages. Selected measures of the children's print knowledge were also significantly related to print-looking time and print recognition over and above patterns associated with general cognitive development.

young children, attention, print, shared storybook reading, developmental perspective, print-looking time, print recognition, age, finger tracking