Learning vocabulary from educational media: The role of pedagogical supports for low-income preschoolers

Neuman, S. B., Wong, K. M., Flynn, R., and Kaefer, T. (2018). Learning vocabulary from educational media: The role of pedagogical supports for low-income preschoolers. Journal of Educational Psychology. Advance online publication.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/edu0000278

This article reports on two studies designed to examine the landscape of online streamed videos, and the features that may support vocabulary learning for low-income preschoolers. The researchers found that the majority of the videos taught specific vocabulary – more educational content than critics might assume. They also found that 4-year-olds were actually paying attention and learning new words. However, a full third of the ostensibly educational videos didn't teach any vocabulary at all. The pacing was universally too fast for most kids to absorb. The research showed that children who already have strong verbal skills, who tend to be from higher income families, were learning much more from these videos than kids with weak verbal skills. One of the study's specific recommendations is for writers and producers to select their vocabulary words more carefully by referencing existing lists of important words for preschoolers to know.

"The man who does not read good books is no better than the man who can't." — Mark Twain