Reading personalized books with preschool children enhances their word acquisition

Kucirkova, Natalia; Messer, David and Sheehy, Kieron (2014). Reading personalized books with preschool children enhances their word acquisition. First Language, 34(3) pp. 227–243.




This study examines whether books that contain personalized content are better facilitators of young children’s word acquisition than books which are not personalized for a child. In a repeated-measures experimental design, 18 children (mean age 3;10) were read a picture book which contained both personalized and non-personalized sections, with unknown, real, target words embedded in each section. The book was read to the children on two occasions, with a one-week gap between each session. There were three testing points and these took place after the first reading session, just before the second reading session and immediately after the second reading session. At each testing point the children’s knowledge of the new words was assessed with picture comprehension, definition and emotional valence tests. The findings revealed that, at the second and third testing points, the children showed significantly better knowledge about the words that were in the personalized sections of the books than the words in the non-personalized sections.
The implications of these findings for future book reading research and practice are

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