The Efficacy of Multimedia Stories in Preschoolers' Explicit and Implicit Story Comprehension
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Oral language provides a foundation for reading comprehension. Story comprehension is a fundamental oral language skill; it covers making inferences, identifying main ideas, monitoring, perspective-taking, and applying working memory capacity. Complex reasoning and perspective-taking are key factors in deep reading comprehension. Preliterate children's deeper story comprehension skills can be initial indicators of their later reading comprehension. Thus, the purpose of this research is to investigate preliterate preschool children's story comprehension skills in detail. This study focuses on the additional multimedia features of digital storybooks and whether they hinder or promote young children's explicit and implicit comprehension in a small group reading activity. The findings revealed that (a) children in the multimedia-enhanced storybook group outperformed the print storybook group in terms of both explicit and implicit story comprehension, (b) explicit story comprehension was higher than implicit story comprehension for both groups, and (c) the children recalled significantly more story elements and the length of the story retellings was greater with the aid of animated illustrations. The findings indicate that a digital storybook provides close temporal contiguity of text and visuals and may enhance story understanding by concretizing the narration. The study provides evidence that multimedia stories can foster children's implicit story comprehension and inferential thinking about the content of the story.