Contingent Responsiveness in Digital Storybooks: Effects on Children’s Comprehension and the Role of Individual Differences in Attention

AbstractExperiences of contingent interactions like referential cues (e.g., caregivers pointing to relevant text and pictures) during shared book reading predict better reading and language outcomes (Landry, & Smith, 2007). However, it is unclear whether contingent responsiveness in a digital book could provide similar support for children in the absence of contingent feedback from an adult. The effects on story comprehension using an interactive book with content-related animations that activated contingent on children’s vocalizations were investigated, with a focus on whether the interactive book might be especially useful for children with less developed attentional control. The present study used a within-subject design with data from 69 preschool-aged children. The use of the interactive book exhibited significantly increased comprehension, and was also found to be especially useful for children with less attentional control. Importantly, the associations between attention and comprehension gains were not entirely due to variance shared with verbal ability.

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