News Release

The number of illustrations in storybooks influences children's word learning

Peer-Reviewed Publication


New research shows that the number of illustrations presented in a storybook can influence preschool children's ability to learn words from shared reading.

The study of 3.5-year-olds shows that children learn significantly fewer words from storybooks with double page illustrations compared with story books with single spreads; however, this effect can be removed if the person reading the book to the child gestures to the appropriate page when reading.

The findings may help shape future storybook research design and provide a stark reminder that less is sometimes more.

"Preschool children love hearing stories, but because they do not yet read themselves, they sometimes don't know where to look. As this study shows, it's important to guide children with pointing and gestures if we want to use storybooks to help children learn words," said Dr. Jessica Horst, co-author of the Infant and Child Development study.


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