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The differential effect of storybook reading on preschoolers' acquisition of expressive and receptive vocabulary

    • Published online: 01 February 1997

The present study was conducted to assess the effect of didactic techniques used during storybook reading on young children's acquisition of new vocabulary introduced in storybooks. Thirty children for each group of three- and four-year-old children were read one storybook individually. The study included three storybook reading conditions: single-reading, repeated-reading and questioning. In both the repeated-reading and the questioning conditions, the storybook was read three times. Children in the questioning condition were asked, during each reading of the storybook, to label target items with the novel words. Listening to multiple readings of a storybook facilitated children's acquisition of expressive and receptive vocabulary, whereas answering questions during the multiple readings was more helpful to the acquisition of expressive than receptive vocabulary. These findings suggest that, under certain conditions, didactic techniques used by adults have differential effects on preschoolers' receptive and expressive vocabulary.

Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Monique Sénéchal, Department of Psychology, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, K1S 5B6. E-mail:
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This research was supported by a GR6 grant from Carleton University. Aspects of the results were reported at the March 1993 Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, New Orleans.
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Journal of Child Language
  • ISSN: 0305-0009
  • EISSN: 1469-7602
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-child-language
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