Educational media can broaden young readers’ access to informative texts

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Diving Brief:

  • A study published in the American Journal of Educational Research found that exposing young children to informational texts—knowing how to find information—through free public educational media can provide inexpensive, scalable, and equitable access to effective learning opportunities.
  • The findings provide encouraging evidence that access to research-based content can support early childhood literacy development at home and in school, said study co-author and director Naomi Hupert. from the Center for Children & Technology to the Education Development Center.
  • Exposure to informational text is essential for learning, but children tend to have less exposure throughout elementary school compared to narrative and other forms of text, according to the study.

Overview of the dive:

According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the The state’s Common Core Standards recommended that 50% of elementary-aged children’s reading — including teachers’ read-alouds — consist of informational text.

Informative text can provide background knowledge and vocabulary essential for reading comprehension, NAEYC said in a 2019 article.

The study published by the AERJ said that informational text “is essential to everyday life and fundamental to literacy”.

The researchers focused the study work on Molly of Denali, a animated series developed and produced by GBH, a Boston-based station within the Public Media System, in partnership with the Public Broadcasting Service and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

CPB participates in Ready to learn initiative, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, that provides free educational resources on television and digital media to children ages 2-8 to promote early learning and school readiness, highlighting the focus on supporting children from low-income communities.

Researchers conducted two nine-week, multi-state, randomized controlled trials with 263 first-graders from low-income communities. The first study found positive effects of the intervention on children’s outcomes with only one hour per week of program access, with the treatment group outperforming the control group in their ability to use informational texts to respond to questions. questions or solve real-world problems. The second study replicated these results.

“This study confirms again, like many of our previous studies, that yes, children can learn when media is extremely well designed, follows learning trajectories, but it is also engaging, fun and engaging,” said said Hupert, who is also a senior. researcher at EDC.

Although the study focused on in-home exposure to informational texts, Hupert said schools can also access public education media videos and online games, as well as additional materials, to enhance learning and make connections between learning at school and at home.

“One of the things that informational text lends itself to is modeling what you can do in your own bedroom,” Hupert said. “So you can watch an episode and then see where some of these activities can be played with the kids in your class.”

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