The Role of Television Viewing in the Development of Reading Comprehension.Report as inadecuate

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Given the central role of television in most children's lives, it is important to understand its potential positive and negative effects on a variety of cognitive, academic, social, behavioral, and attitudinal outcomes. A study aims to explore the relation between early television viewing and later reading achievement. Motivating the research is the growing evidence that young children's attention to and comprehension of television is more sophisticated than previously thought. Although preschoolers have some difficulty understanding full-length adult programs, they are adept at making sense of televised segments produced specifically for their age group. Results of recent research suggest that there is considerable overlap between the comprehension processes that take place during reading and those in prereading television viewing. Present research uses a longitudinal design in which media habits, various kinds of television and text comprehension skills, and background variables for children at three time periods spaced two years apart are assessed. To date, 28 preschool four-year-olds and 95 first grade six-year-olds in the Minneapolis area have been tested. Participants view televised programs (episodes of "Rugrats") and then complete a range of comprehension tasks. In addition, they receive a series of comprehension and early literacy tests. Preliminary results reveal that although both groups perform better on the television memory and comprehension test than on the test of aural story memory and comprehension, individual differences are highly consistent across media. Performances on the memory and recall tasks were very strongly related. Once data collection is completed, other analyses will be conducted. (Contains 30 references.) (NKA)

Descriptors: Early Childhood Education, Emergent Literacy, Longitudinal Studies, Reading Achievement, Reading Comprehension, Reading Research, Television Viewing, Young Children

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Author: van den Broek, Paul


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