Does it matter what medium we use for reading development?

Does it matter what medium we use for reading development?

First Author: Maria T. Sikkema - de Jong -- Leiden University
Keywords: Computer-Assisted, Literacy Skills, Reading development, Eye movements, Emotion
Abstract / Summary: 

Besides the amount of reading there is another concern these days: does it matter what medium we use for reading development? The proposed symposium aims at investigating the pros and cons of reading from digital devices. The purpose of the symposium is to present papers that discuss the use (Dias & Britto) and effect of digital devices on the act of reading (Bergamin & Werlen; Ben-Yehudah, Caspi & Eshet-Alkalai) and the result of reading, i.e., reading comprehension and print knowledge (Ben-Yehudah, Caspi & Eshet-Alkalai; Roy-Charland, Perron, Clutier, Huot & LaForge; Van Dijken & Bus;).
The papers are theoretically related but differ in the studies’ design (experimental, correlational), the population studied (pre- and kindergarten children, G1, G2 and high school students), the devices tested (smartphone, tablet, SMART-board), the outcome measures (print knowledge, reading comprehension, empathy) and the methods used (eye-tracking, paper– and pencil c.q. computer tasks, automated facial recognition, questionnaires).

Symposium Papers: 

Do interactive animations influence comprehension of electronic picture books?

First Author/Chair:Gal Ben-Yehudah -- Education and Psychology Department, The Open University of Israel
Additional authors/chairs: 
Avner Caspi; Yoram Eshet-Alkalai

The prevalence of smart devices has led to a rapid increase in electronic books (e-books). In children’s e-books, pictures are often replaced by interactive animations and words are highlighted at the reading speed of an adult narrator. Text and animations often appear together, which can result in overlap between the narrator’s voice and animation sounds. Purpose. Given the characteristics of commercial e-books, we asked whether children’s pattern of interaction with animations would influence story comprehension. We investigated the impact of two factors on comprehension: 1. interaction pattern, 2. screen size (smartphone vs. tablet). Method.45 preschool children (4.5-6.5 years) listened to a story without adult mediation. During the e-book activity, children could touch the animations without restriction. Story comprehension was measured by true/false questions and story recall. Literacy knowledge and working memory ability were assessed. Results. In contrast to our hypothesis, screen size did not influence story comprehension. Child-animation interactions were analyzed per screen and categorized by: number of total touches, touch type (single, repetitive, advanced) and time of first touch relative to narration onset. Based on this analysis, we identified three patterns of child-animation interactions: (1) controlled, (2) repetitive and (3) hesitant. These interaction patterns were not related to children’s success on the comprehension questions, their age or their digital experience. Interestingly, children with higher working memory used more controlled interactions and advanced touches. Conclusions. For the commercial e-book tested here, the pattern of children’s interaction with animations does not impair or facilitate their comprehension, nor did screen size.

The impact of attention-orientation strategies on discourse comprehension in shared book reading

First Author/Chair:Annie Roy-Charland -- Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada
Additional authors/chairs: 
Mélanie Perron ; Chelsea Cloutier ; Danielle Huot ; Christian LaForge

In shared book reading, research revealed that the use of non-verbal strategies aiming at attraction attention to print increased such behaviour. However, it remained unclear if these interventions lead to beneficial or detrimental effects on comprehension of the read material. Purpose. The current study investigated the effect pointing to and highlighting the words on discourse comprehension during shared book reading. Method. Thirty children (19 Grade 1; 11 Grade 2) participated. For each condition (pointing, highlighting and no intervention), an easy and a difficult book were presented while eye-movements were recorded. After each book, eight comprehension questions were asked, half targeting implicit and half explicit contents. Results. Results revealed more time on the text with both interventions than in the no intervention condition, more for the easy than the difficult book and more for second than first graders. For explicit questions, participants were more accurate for the easy than the difficult book and second graders were better than first graders. No effect of intervention was observed. A correlation was observed between accuracy for explicit questions and time on text for the pointing condition. For implicit questions, a three-way interaction was observed. Results suggested higher accuracy for second graders, on the easy book in the highlight compared to the pointing condition. Correlations were also observed between the time spent on the text and the accuracy for the implicit questions in the highlight condition. Conclusion. While the pattern is complex, results suggested a modest beneficial impact of orienting strategies on discourse comprehension.

Emotions and empathy of college students while reading digital texts

First Author/Chair:Per Bergamin -- Swiss Distance University of Applied Sciences
Additional authors/chairs: 
Egon Werlen

Purpose. The role of emotions while processing information on digital devices is an upcoming issue in reading research. The results of actual research are rather heterogeneous. One reason could be found in the individual differences of emotional empathy. We assume that differences in emotional reactions can be based on various levels of empathy. Therefore we hypothesize that, while reading the same texts with different sources of emotional induction, individuals with higher empathy show more intense emotions as well as more conformity with the induced emotion.
Method. In an experiment with college students (N=100; 85% female; average age: 17.5 years) we varied the induction of valence in the text content, the readability of the text and the available screen size. Emotional reactions have been measured with an automated facial recognition system. After having read the texts emotional empathy has been observed and classified by data of the TEQ (Toronto Empathy Questionnaire) and by emotional mimicry reactions while looking at a sequence of pictures (faces and nature) using again the automated facial recognition system.

The impact of shared e-book reading on a SMART-board

First Author/Chair:Marianne van Dijken -- Leiden University

Purpose. This study examines the possibility to enhance different domains of early literacy in a classroom-focused intervention using Print Referencing technique with shared e-book reading on a SMART board. The study tests the hypothesis that children can be trained simultaneously in print knowledge-, vocabulary- and phonological awareness development without a loss of impact in either skill learning. It is also hypothesized that the impact of a Print Referencing embedded tools on learning capacities will be different for children varying in executive control functioning. Method. A pretest-posttest within subject design is used. Three different storybooks in 2 different formats (1. a simple e-book format with the written story text and a voice over 2. the same format including a print referencing tool) are read out on a SMART board to children between 5 and 6 years old. Results. Print knowledge and phonological awareness increase significantly after the print referencing intervention compared to the control conditions with large effect sizes. Print referencing did not hinder children to learn new words: vocabulary increases equally and significantly in all conditions with large effect sizes. Conclusions. Print Referencing is a highly beneficial method to enhance print knowledge, phonological awareness and vocabulary at the same time and highlights the importance to use this method in kindergarten. The impact of print referencing is especially beneficial for children with low executive functioning skills.


First Author/Chair:Discussant: Maria T. Sikkema - de Jong