Testing Effects in Children's Storybook Reading

AbstractThe integration of testing practice into learning materials benefits long-term retention over simple studying, a phenomenon known as the testing effect. Although the benefits of testing are observed in adults, it is uncertain whether young children, who have more constraints on their memory abilities, benefit from learning materials that incorporate testing. Preschool-age children (2-5 years; N=50) learned and were tested on ten novel word-object mappings during repeated storybook reading. Results revealed that children’s testing performance during storybook reading was related to their performance on a final, delayed post-test for retention. Additionally, regression modeling revealed that children’s success in testing during storybook reading predicted later retention above and beyond children’s age. These results suggest that, while challenging young children through testing can support long-term word learning regardless of age, children need to be successful during the challenge to benefit from a testing effect.

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