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Animated Electronic Storybook & Children's Chinese Language Development with Eye-Tracking

Tracing the Process and the Outcome: Abstract

More and more parents purchase on-screen products (e.g., electronic storybooks) for children as young as three years old to increase language exposure at home (Sun, Steinkrauss, Tenderio & de Bot, 2016). Well-designed animated e-storybooks seem hold great promise for children's emerging literacy, since such books can stimulate readers' visual, auditory and even kinaesthetic senses to comprehend a story and unfamiliar language via nonverbal sources (motion pictures, sound and background music) that match the narration (de Jong & Bus, 2002; 2004; Neuman, 1997; Verhallen, Bus, & de Jong, 2006). However, it is unknown how these programs influence children's learning over time and whether Mother Tongue Language (MTL) learners could ultimately benefit from exposure to them.

The current study will explore the efficacy of animated e-storybooks on Singapore children's MTL learning (4-5 years old).The relation between features of the animated e-storybook (i.e., motion, sound and background music) and children's visual fixation (as measured with eye tracking equipment) will be explored from the perspective of the theory of Complex Dynamic Systems. Children's vocabulary and reading comprehension will be compared after using an animated e-storybook and a corresponding static version. Three prize winning child stories, Little Kangaroo (Genechten, 2007), Pete on the Pavement (Veldkamp, 2004), and Cycling With Grandpa (Boonen, 2004) will be used as reading materials.

The current study has strong scientific and social relevance. It will be the first study to track children's e-storybook online processing from the perspective of Complex Dynamic Systems, and systematically reveal the impact of different book features on children's eye fixation in repetitive readings. Such findings will inform us about the nature of animated e-book learning and its advantages on children's language development, and provide parents and educators with pedagogical suggestions. Moreover, it will offer suggestions to e-learning designers to improve their products and optimize the learning result for the children.

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