Original Research

Learning new words from an interactive electronic storybook intervention

Daleen Klop, Laurette Marais, Amanda Msindwana, Febe de Wet
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 65, No 1 | a601 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v65i1.601 | © 2018 Daleen Klop, Laurette Marais, Amanda Msindwana, Febe De Wet | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 May 2018 | Published: 13 September 2018

About the author(s)

Daleen Klop, Division of Speech-Language and Hearing Therapy, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Laurette Marais, Human Language Technology Research Group, Meraka Institute, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Pretoria, South Africa
Amanda Msindwana, Division of Speech-Language and Hearing Therapy, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Febe de Wet, Human Language Technology Research Group, Meraka Institute, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Children who enter school with limited vocabulary knowledge are at risk for reading failure. This study investigated the efficacy of an interactive e-book, implemented as a mobile application, to facilitate vocabulary learning in Grade 1 isiXhosa-speaking children (n = 65).

Objective: The purpose was to measure if an e-book intervention, specifically developed for use in the South African context, could facilitate the acquisition and retention of new words at different levels of lexical representation.

Method: A randomised pre-test and/or post-test between-subject design was used where an experimental group that received the e-book intervention was compared to a control group before the control group received a delayed intervention. Follow-up testing was performed to measure retention of the new vocabulary after eight weeks. Mixed-model repeated-measure Analysis of Variance (ANOVAs) were used to determine differences between the participants in the experimental and control groups.

Results: The short-term e-book intervention not only facilitated fast-mapping of new words but enabled participants to develop more robust lexical representations of the newly acquired words. Follow-up assessment showed that they retained their newly acquired word knowledge.

Conclusion: Multimedia technology can be used to provide explicit and embedded vocabulary training to young children at risk for academic failure. These findings are particularly relevant for South African environments where there is limited parental support and lack of educational resources to promote vocabulary learning in young children.


Keywords

vocabulary learning; multimedia intervention; electronic storybook

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