The impact of expressiveness on the listening comprehension of storybooks by prekindergarten children
Mira, William A.
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The purpose of the study was to determine the effect of expressiveness on the comprehension of storybooks by four and five year old pre-kindergarten children. Ninety-two prekindergarten children (Mage = 57.26 months, SDage = 3.89) listened to expressive or inexpressive recordings of two similar stories. Story comprehension was tested by a free recall as well as a cued recall assessment consisting of three sub-scores and a total score. ANOVAs examined the effects of reading expressiveness, story type, and prosody comparison type, on comprehension scores. Children’s total cued recall scores were significantly higher (F(1, 88) = 6.127, p = .015, following expressive readings than inexpressive readings. The present study provides preliminary evidence that prosodic readings improve listening comprehension. Results support common recommendations to read expressively to young children as they may benefit the most from this practice due to limited working memory and enhanced sensitivity to prosody.