Bilingual Children’s Language Proficiency and Visual Attention in Animated eBook Reading

Bilingual Children’s Language Proficiency and Visual Attention in Animated eBook Reading

First Author: He Sun -- National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University
Additional authors/chairs: 
Adriana Bus
Keywords: Digital literacy, Bilingualism, Book Reading, early childhood (age 4 - 6), Eye-tracking
Abstract / Summary: 

This study examined Mandarin-English bilingual children’s changes in fixation time over repetitive readings of Mandarin animated Books and static books. 60 four to five-year-old preschoolers in Singapore were assigned to either the animated eBooks (+sound+motion) or the static eBooks condition. Three stories were displayed to children each four times over two weeks, and their visual attention was traced with an eye-tracker. The results demonstrated that the animated eBooks maintained higher attention from children compared to that of children in the static condition across the four repetitive readings. Nevertheless, children’s bilingual language proficiency significantly modulates the conditional effects of attention. In the animated eBook reading condition, children with lower bilingual language proficiency fall behind their peers with a higher proficiency level in total fixation time in the first two readings and are able to catch up in the third and fourth reading. However, in the static eBook reading condition, those with lower bilingual language proficiency keep lagging behind their counterparts with higher proficiency across all four readings. Our results imply that children with lower language proficiency might benefit more from the repetitive animated eBook readings.