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Digital Story Reading


Submitted By alwyn321
Words 2934
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Digital Story Reading
As a Tool for Vocabulary Acquisition among Preschool Children

Maiya Bianca Aguila, Alwyn John Lim & Catherine Francia
De La Salle University Manila
August 2013

Vocabulary acquisition is an essential part of young children’s literacy development, particularly their reading skills. It has been seen that acquiring a normal vocabulary is prerequisite for reading comprehension (Becker, 1977; Chall & Conard, 1991: Chall et al., 1990). This means that for a child to become a successful reader by the time he enters elementary he must be able to acquire the vocabulary necessary for his age.
However, unlike phonics and other literacy skills, building basic vocabulary requires continuing support and there must be ongoing effort to introduce and explain new vocabulary (Hassan, 2012). Although the usual approach of presenting students with list of words to be mastered has been proven effective, research tells us that a great deal of vocabulary acquisition can take place through reading (Cho &n Choi, 2008; Elley, 1989, 1991; Vivas, 1996; Mason & Krashen, 2004; Krashen, 2004; Wang & Lee, 2007). As early as infants, children are being exposed to printed storybooks where they encounter new words to enhance their vocabulary. Research shows that reading to babies and toddlers yields promising results. Children who were exposed to story reading at an early age demonstrate greater language comprehension and larger vocabularies (Jacobson, 2006).
Early childhood educators are now looking at other possibilities as to how story reading can become more effective as well as more interesting to young children to support vocabulary acquisition even further. One of these possibilities is the using technology as a tool for story reading and, consequently, for vocabulary acquisition. Technologies such as smart phones, tablets, computers and video games are accessible and can be easily operated by young children.

It is important to note that technology cannot and should not replace human interaction or relationships, or take the place of activities such as reading stories together or sharing conversations with children. Properly used, however, computers and software can serve as catalysts for social interaction and conversations related to children’s work (Clements & Nastasi 1993).
Nowadays, digitized version of classic children’s books is becoming popular among children. Teachers and parents are starting to use this kind of technology in reading stories to children as a substitute to printed story books. The purpose of this study is to examine whether digital story reading using the abovementioned version of classic children’s books can support the vocabulary acquisition among preschool children.

Vocabulary Acquisition and Story Reading

Children’s rich vocabulary is considered to be one of the important vehicles for reading comprehension and academic achievement as well as life success (Beck & McKeown, 1999, Morrison, 2009). Children’s vocabularies grow rapidly during early childhood, and the vocabulary level at kindergarten age predicts children’s reading and comprehension in school (Hiebert & Kamil, 2005).
One of the most popular and researched instructional activity designed to increase vocabulary knowledge, book print and literacy is story reading. In most preschools, there is an allotted time for Story Time wherein children enjoy listening to stories. As children are exposed to frequent story reading, they are more likely to use complex sentences, have better comprehension of the story, are more likely to generate questions and, overall, improve in academic achievement

experiences for children. While critics express concerns that computer will inhibit language development and lead to social isolation (Cordes & Miller, 2000; Healy, 1998), research shows that computer can even encourage longer, more complex speech and the development of fluency (Davidson & Wright, 1994).
Having the need to make reading more appealing to young children, digitized form of storybooks is now being used for instruction. Digitized books can be read on a desktop computers, laptops, handheld devices, kindles, web-browsers, etc. These books can also be in CD-ROM, DVD-ROM and PDF (portable document format). Digitized books can also be downloaded from websites and occasionally called online textbooks, web-textbooks, or digital textbooks (McFall, 2005; McFall, Dershem, & Davis, 2006; Morton, Foreman, Goede, Bezzant, & Albertine, 2007; University of Georgia, 2006). This digitized form of a book usually includes multimedia effects, such as written text, oral reading, oral discourse, music, sound effects, and animations. The oral reading of the text by the narrator, accompanied by the highlightened text, can provide the users insights into the nature of the written text, by allowing the children to carefully follow the written words, phrases, or passages which are being read out to them (Korat, 2006).
In relation to this, Grimshaw (2007) believes that rich multimedia features such as audio narration, sound effects and animations embedded into electronic books can very much help children improve their reading comprehension skills. The reasoning is that these features support the text, help the child "decode" new words and children actually improve on their understanding of the text. Furthermore, Reinking (1997) agreed that the computer’s technological features that allow for a combination of text with visual presentations, animations, and audio-linguistic features facilitate greater interaction between readers and the text.
Teachers and researchers agree that today’s students need and deserve the skills, strategies, and insights to successfully exploit the rapidly changing information and communication technologies that continually emerge in the world. (Isbell, Lindauer, & Lowrance, 2004). In addition, storybook reading is seen as an efficient way to enhance oral language; preliterate children thus encounter unfamiliar words in a meaningful story context (Weizman & Snow, 2001). It also has been found to benefit vocabulary growth in young children (Penno, Wükinson, & Moore, 2002).
Schiller (2000) states that between the ages of two and six years, children become capable of longer periods of attention and are rapidly developing a more sophisticated vocabulary. For this reason, it is imperative that young children receive as much instructional activities, such as story reading, for them to increase their vocabulary during this stage. Beck and McKeown (1999) stated that children’s rich vocabulary is considered to be one of the important vehicles for reading comprehension and academic achievement. Hiebert and Kamil (2005) agreed that children’s vocabularies grow rapidly during early childhood, and the vocabulary level at kindergarten age predicts children’s reading and comprehension in school. Moreover, it is well known that there is an enormous difference in the vocabulary volume between young children, and that this affects their future literacy and academic progress (Chall, Jacobs, & Baldwin, 1990; Hart & Risley, 1995; Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998).
While story reading is considered as an effective way to enhance vocabulary among children, it is important that storybooks are colorful and have attractive illustrations, in addition to being presented in a way that holds the interest of the listeners and reaches their emotions (Cruz de Quiroz, 2008).
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) promotes the use of reading materials to be familiar and predictable. The familiarity and predictability of the stories help the child grow in self-control and self-confidence in their ability to learn how to read (Barclay, 1992).

Technology in Story reading

Clements et al. stated that technology use in kindergartens should not be isolated but rather integrated with classroom routines and activities for a learning environment to offer meaningful

Thomas’ Snowsuit published by Discis Knowledge Research (Munch, 1994). Another one is The New Kid on the Block which provides word animation features that assist children learn unfamiliar words (Broderbund, 1999). In a study made by Higgins and Cocks (in press), it was found that animated cues from electronic books significantly increased some students’ scores in their vocabulary test.
A lot of educators and researchers believed that educational electronic books and its various features effectively support children’s language and literacy development (Leferver-Davis & Pearman, 2005; Neuman, 2009). Several studies validated that ebooks enhance vocabulary of young children (de Jong & Bus, 2004). Eshet-Alkalai (2004) also added that technology are effective due to their provision of multiple features (text, voices, pictures, and animations) of related content.

The Milken Family Foundation has studied the effects of audio books on children’s reading ability and found that programs that included the use of audio books enhanced children’s reading proficiency more than programs that did not include them (Serafini, 2004). Moreover, Baskin and Harris reported in an article in the Journal of Reading that audio books have a legitimate place in reading programs and offer alternatives to struggling readers that are unable to read independently (Serafini, 2004).

CD-ROM Storybooks
CD-ROM storybooks enhance vocabulary development. According to Pearman & Lefever-Davis, 2006, they allow readers to use background clues to figure out the meaning of unfamiliar words and the animated graphics and audio effects help readers in understanding the text. CD-ROM storybooks also allow students to click on unfamiliar words and a link would take them to the definition of the word (Pearman & Lefever-Davis, 2006). Moreover, Reinking and Rickman (1990) found that students were less likely to access the definitions when they had to go to a separate resource such as a dictionary, rather than to have it immediately defined by the computer (Pearman & Lefever-Davis, 2006).

As a result, literacy educators of all grade levels are recognizing the need to respond to the changing array of media technologies and resources used both within and outside the classroom to make education more responsive to today’s learners (Hobbs, 2006;Leu, 2002). Although there are issues regarding the use of technology in reading especially among young children, NAEYC believes that technology and media are tools that are effective when used appropriately. When educators appropriately integrate technology and interactive media into their classrooms, equity and access are addressed by providing opportunities for all children to participate and learn (Judge, pucket, & Cabuk 2004; Cross, woods, & Schweingruber 2009). Likewise, appropriate use of technology and media can balance and enhance the use of essential materials, activities, and interactions in the early childhood setting, becoming part of the daily routine (Adherson 2000; Van Scoter, Ellis, & Railsback 2001; Copple & Bredekamp 2009; NAEYC 2009). Northcote et al, 2007 also added to view technology as a natural part of life and expecting this technology to be used in children’s learning processes.
According to Heibert &Kamil (2005), it is during early childhood that children’s vocabulary grows rapidly and it affects their future literacy and academic progress. In some researches, it was stated that there are various possibilities to enhance vocabulary acquisition with the help of technology. These are digitized books, electronic books with multimedia features and CD-ROM storybooks. In this technological era, children of today are exposed to electronic storybooks (e-books), which are available on the internet or on CD-ROMs (Korat, 2009). With this, the National Reading Panel (2000) suggested that in order to foster children’s vocabulary, technology tools should be used.
Electronic Books
There are various electronic books available in the market. Most of which can read whole stories, phrases and individual words. There are some that provide word pronunciation and verbal definitions on some selected words. Here are some of the examples of electronic books:

Table 1 Analysis of Results

Literature Arguments | Discussion | Implications to the Research | Argument 1 * Vocabulary acquisition is a prerequisite to reading skills.Argument 2 * Story reading is an effective way to enhance preschool children’s vocabulary.Argument 3 * Technology can enhance preschool children’s learning. Argument 4 * Digital versions of story books can enhance vocabulary acquisition of preschool children. | * Vocabulary words that preschool children acquire will be an essential tool as he learns to read and comprehend what he reads. * Story books provide opportunities for preschool children to encounter new vocabulary words. * The different features of technologies can enhance young children’s vocabulary acquisition. * The different features of the digital version of story books such as written text, oral reading, oral discourse, music, sound effects, and animations can help promote preschool children’s vocabulary acquisition. | * It is imperative that vocabulary acquisition is well supported among preschool children. * Story reading should be a part of preschool classrooms. * Vocabulary acquisition of preschool children should be supported by technology inside the classroom. * Digital story reading using the digital versions of story books should be a part of preschool classroom to support vocabulary acquisition. | Table 1 explains how digital story reading can be a tool for enhancing vocabulary acquisition among preschool children.
Different studies have shown the importance of vocabulary acquisition in preschool children as a prerequisite to reading skills. The words that children have acquired prior to entering preschool can be an advantage as they learn how to read. It is, therefore, essential to promote vocabulary acquisition among preschool children especially those who are lacking vocabulary. Educators have been using printed story books as a tool for vocabulary acquisition for many years. Studies have proven the effectiveness of exposing young children to story books with words that they can acquire as the story is being read to them. Though printed story books have been very efficient in enhancing vocabulary acquisition among preschool children, it would be more beneficial if new ideas would be considered in order to support the vocabulary acquisition of young children.

Nowadays, young children are exposed to and are very much interested in different multimedia technologies. One of these is the digital version of story books. Putting technology and story reading together as a tool for vocabulary acquisition is now being considered to be a part of the preschool classroom.

Conclusions and Recommendations
Children nowadays have been exposed to different technologies that some experts consider as distractions. However, other experts argued that if technology is used appropriately, technology can actually balance and increase learning inside the classroom. If schools will take the steps in learning more about the different technologies available for classroom instruction, preschool children’s interest in multimedia technology such as digital story books can be an opportunity for educators to support vocabulary acquisition and, eventually, their reading skills.

Leferver-Davis, S., & Pearman, C. (2005). Early readers and electronic texts: CD-ROM storybook features that influence reading behaviors. The Reading Teacher, 58, 446–454.
Morrison, G. S. (2009). Early Childhood Education Today Eleventh Edition. New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.
Munch, R. (1994). Thomas' Snowsuit. [CD-ROM storybook]. Toronto, Ontario: Discis Kowledge Research.
National Reading Panel (2000). Report of the National Reading Panel: Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction: Reports of the subgroups. Rockville, MD: NICHD Clearinghouse
Neuman, S. B. (2009). The case for multi-media presentation in learning: A theory of synergy. In A. G.
Northcote, M., Marshall, L., Dobozy, E., Swan, P. and Mildenhall, P. (2007). Podcasting: Links to literacy teaching and learning. Practically Primary, 2(2), 17-21
Penno, J.F., Wilkinson, I.A.G., & Moore, D.W. (2002). Vocabulary acquisition from teacher explanation and repeated listening to stories: Do they overcome the Matthew effect? Journal of Educational Psychology, 94.
Serafini, D. F. (2004). AUDIOBOOKS & LITERACY. New York: Random House, Inc.
Scoter, J.V., D. E. (2001). Technology In Early Childhood Education, Finding A Balance. Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory.
Technology and Interactive Media as Tools in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth through Age 8. (2012). A Joint Position Statement of the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the FRed Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children's Media at Saint Vincent College.
Thares, S. K. (2010). Using Music to Teach Reading in the Elementary Classroom.
Weizman, Z.O., & Snow, CE. (2001). Lexical input as related to children's vocabulary acquisition: Effects of sophisticated exposure and support for meaning. Developmental Psychology, 37(2), 265-279.
Zygouris-Coe, V. (2001). BAlanced Reading Instruction in K-3 Classrooms.


Broderbund Software, Inc. [Online document]Broderbund. (1999). Available:
Bus & S. B. Neuman (Eds.), Multimedia and literacy development: Improving achievement for young learners (pp. 44–56). New York: Taylor & Francis.
Clements, D. H., Nastasi, B. K., & Swaminathan, S. (1993). Young children and computers: Crossroads and directions from research. Research in Review Young Children, 48(2), 56–64. de Jong, M. T., & Bus, A. G. (2004). The efficacy of electronic books fostering kindergarten children’s emergent story understanding. Reading Research Quarterly, 39, 378–393.
Ellis, D. R. (2001). Technology In Early Childhood Education (Finding the Balance). Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory. Eshet-Alkalai, Y. (2004). Digital literacy: A conceptual framework for survival skills in the digital era.
Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, 13(1), 93–106.
Hiebert, E. H., & Kamil, M. L. (2005). Teaching and learning vocabulary: Perspective and persistence issues. In E. H. Hiebert & L. M. Kamil (Eds.), Teaching and learning vocabulary: Bringing research to practice (pp. 1–23). Routledge Taylor Francis Group.
Higgins, N., & Cocks, P. (in press). The effects of animation cues on children's vocabularydevelopment. Reading Psychology.
Isbell, R. S., Sobol J., Lindauer, L., & Lowrance, A. (2004). The effects of storytelling and story reading on the oral language complexity and story comprehension of young children. Early Childhood Education Journal, 32, 157-163.
Jacobson, L. (2006). Reading to Toddlers could boost literacy. Education Week. Vol. 25. Issue 43.
Korat, O. S. (2006). The Educational Electronic Book as a Tool For Supporting Children's Emergent Literacy in Low Versus Middle SES Groups.
Korat, O. (2009). Reading electronic books as a support for vocabulary, story comprehension and word reading in kindergarten and first grade. Computers & Education 55: 24–31.
Lau, J. Design of Electronic Text. Students’ experience of using electronic textbooks in different levels of education. Retrieved July

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...M.A. Digital Culture and Technology Digital Effect Dissertation Proposal Introduction The aim of this dissertation is to question the nature of digital cinema and its relationship to analogue filmmaking. I would like to argue that “pure” digital or analogue cinema does not exist anymore. Even films which are shot and edited using digital technology, in most cases, eventually will be printed onto film in order to be projected. I am interested in the transformation of storytelling and narration caused by digital revolution. I will analyse the shift that occurred in cinema after 1997, when the video techniques became more popular. I would like to avoid simplifying or dismissive statements about the aesthetics developed by digital techniques. It is a very rare occurrence for a film to be entirely analogue or digital. Therefore, I intend to talk about the intersection of digital and analogue techniques and the effect that digital practices have upon the tradition of storytelling. In their analysis of new media, Anna Everett and John T. Caldwell describe this intersection of analogue and digital with a term “digitextuality”. This fusion of “digital” and “intertextuality” illustrates the process in which old media acquire new shape and form: M.A. Digital Culture and Technology New digital media technologies make meaning not only by building a new text through absorption and transformation of other texts, but also by embedding the entirety of other texts (analogue and digital)...

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