Multimedia as Bridges for Language and Literacy for Young Children

Multimedia as Bridges for Language and Literacy for Young Children

First Author: Ofra Korat -- Bar-Ilan University
Keywords: Vocabulary, TV, electronic books, Comprehension, Reading
Abstract / Summary: 

Yong children's of today are native user of multimedia tools including television, computers, tablets etc. In this symposium we examine these tools' design and their potential to enhance young children's language and literacy in educational settings. Our 5 presentations are based on data from 5 research centers, and participants' language was Turkish, Hebrew or English.
The presentations will include content analysis of educational television programs for young children (age 0 to 8), e-book use with multimedia features focusing on animations and music (children age 4 to 6), and e-books implementation in kindergartens and schools (grade 1 to 3) with or without educators' support and teachers' technology preparation to use these tools. Advantages and drawbacks of multimedia design (television programs or e-books), processes of teaching and learning using these tools, and their potential to support vocabulary, motivation for reading, reading, and text comprehension will be presented and discussed.

Symposium Papers: 

Background Music and Content Expansion Support Story Comprehension in e-Book Reading of Preschoolers

First Author/Chair:Anat Ben Shabat -- Bar Ilan University
Additional authors/chairs: 
Ofra Korat

Purpose: We examined whether multimedia components in e-books, which include background music and story content expansion, support preschoolers' story comprehension and retelling. Based on the synergic theory regarding learning, we assumed that the combination of the two multimedia components will support children's story comprehension better than each one separately.
Method: The study included 160 preschoolers (age 5 to 6) from low SES. We used an e-book which we developed, including quiet background music and automatic animations that support the storyline. The children were randomly assigned to one of 4 groups: reading an e-book (a) accompanied by background music and story content expansion; (b) without music but with expansions; (c) with music but without expansions; (d) without music and without expansions (control). The children read the e-book independently four times. Pretest and posttests examined the children's story comprehension and retelling.
Results highlights: The findings show that, as expected, the combination of background music and content expansion was the most efficient way for children's story comprehension and retelling compared to e-book reading in the other groups. Furthermore, content expansion support without background music was more effective than background music alone.
Conclusions: Multimedia additions of quiet background music and adaptive story content expansion in e-book reading may serve as a good vehicle for story comprehension and retelling for preschoolers. Although quiet background music in itself was less supportive for story comprehension, it created a beneficial synergetic effect when it appeared together with the story content.

Do multimedia in digitized storybooks support vocabulary development and which features are particularly supportive?

First Author/Chair:Burcu Sari -- Uludag University
Additional authors/chairs: 
Zsofia Takacs; Handan Asûde Başal; Adriana Bus

o Purpose – We found increased word learning for ebooks that include a film like presentation versus static stories. The main goal of this study was to differentiate between effects of animated pictures and music or sounds.
o Method –Turkish kindergarten children (N = 99) were randomly assigned to five conditions: 1. books with animated pictures and music/sounds; 2. books with animated pictures without music/sounds; 3. books with static pictures with music/sounds; 4. books with static pictures without music/sounds; and 5. control condition (where children did not listen to the stories).
The same books, available in all experimental formats, were read four times. The pretest included the PPVT and the post-test expressive and receptive tests of book-based words.
o Results - Overall findings revealed similar effects for all three assessments of book-based vocabulary: Children high on PPVT outperformed children low on PPVT, the experimental groups outperformed the control group, effects of animations and music/background sounds were positive but not significant, but there were significant interactions between animations and PPVT score. That is, especially the group scoring low on PPVT benefited from animations.
o Conclusions – Implication for app developers is that especially animations matching the story text can add to word learning. There was no evidence for positive effects of music/and background sounds, nor evidence for negative effects as was found in a group of SLI children (Smeets et al., 2014).

A Short-Term Longitudinal Study of Primary Grade Online Independent Reading: Implications for Will and Skill

First Author/Chair:Kathleen Roskos -- John Carroll University
Additional authors/chairs: 
Yi Shang ; Allison Taylor

Purpose: This longitudinal study tracks the influence of online independent reading time (IRT) on primary graders’ reading motivation and basic skills over a two-year period. Emphasis on independent reading at school waned in wake of the National Reading Report, which found no experimental evidence to support it as best practice. Interest has re-surfaced perhaps spurred by (a) the growing popularity/accessibility of e-books and (b) the importance of reading practice for developing close reading skills. The cumulative effect of independent reading in a digital context may be more impactful than past practice.

Method: Using a within subject design, participants include 96 diverse primary graders (G1-G3) and their teachers. IRT follows a15-20 minutes protocol implemented daily with good fidelity (80%). Students choose books within their reader instructional range from Raz Kids and Storia online collections. Measures include dashboard metrics, motivation surveys and reading fluency tasks. Relationships between reading frequency, motivation, grade, gender and reading skills are examined using a multiple regression model.

Results: Results of year 1 show no significant effects of IRT on motivation or skill, but reveal an accumulated gender difference where boys read more than girls significant at G3. Year 2 is in progress, providing more data points for observing trends and forecasting cumulative effects of IRT on reading development.

Conclusions: The greater personalization that digital reading platforms afford may be a game-changer for independent reading and more powerful for revealing cumulative effects of independent reading.

A Typology for Technology in Elementary English Language Arts (ELA) Instruction

First Author/Chair:Karen Burstein -- University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Additional authors/chairs: 
Renee Casbergue

Application of technology in classrooms, especially for English Language Arts (ELA) instruction, is of significant national interest, to the extent that the National Assessment of Educational Progress includes amount of computer use and teacher computer education as variables by which to disaggregate reading rates. States, especially those in the bottom quartile on reading performance, continue to look for any means possible to increase students’ reading rates; while, publishers continue to release devices, programs, applications, and ebooks. However, questions remain on how to effectively implement technology in ELA programs.
Based upon preliminary NAEP data indicating significant reading performance differences in low performing students in technology mediated classrooms, results of a quasi-experimental analysis of 12 high performing classrooms (top quartile reading scores in previous year), six kindergarten and six 2nd-grade classes, and six SES matched low performing classrooms are used to develop a typology for ELA technology implementation. Design-Based research (2003) informs the typology development to more efficiently implement technology in reading instruction. Typology components include teacher knowledge and preparation, curriculum type, inventories of amounts and types of reading materials and of technology assets (computers, devices, ebooks, apps, software); observations of time engaged in reading instruction and technology implementation, analysis technology integration in lesson plans, and environmental organization. Units of measure include 18 teachers’ technology, content and pedagogical knowledge, as measured by the TPCK (2012) and performance of 365 students on statewide grade-level reading measures. Preliminary findings indicate that teacher technology preparation is essential to increased reading performance.

The educational strategies inside preschool educational television

First Author/Chair: Deborah Nichols Linebarger -- Purdue University

A relatively large body of research indicates that TV programs targeting language and literacy skills do boost these while also encouraging a general interest in reading (Anderson, 1998 Anderson et al., 2001; Linebarger et al., 2004). One longitudinal study documented that watching educational television at age 5 predicted better grades, more leisure book reading, and stronger academic self-concept in adolescence (Anderson et al., 2001). Rice (1983) argued that children are able to actively listen and interact with TV; therefore, programs that use high-quality language- and literacy-promoting strategies have the potential to improve these skills in young children (Moses, 2008). In this comprehensive content analysis of educational preschool television programs, we examined the prevalence of molecular instructional strategies embedded in preschool educational TV that are known to support language/literacy development in print-based contexts along with three molar program characteristics (i.e., targeted viewer age, program structure, and curriculum emphasis). Overall, programs with literacy- and language-focused curricula tended to include effective language- and literacy-promoting strategies including modeling of conversations, asking questions, and engaging in higher-order thinking. These strategies were especially prevalent in narrative shows that modeled direct interaction with viewers. Programs targeting vocabulary acquisition often included instances where words were introduced without definitions or with the absence of a physical referent, missing opportunities to support language development. These practices overtax young children’s emerging learning abilities. Conversely, the inclusion of onscreen print and verbal discussion occurred regularly in programs that specifically targeted literacy development and have been linked to substantial gains in literacy development