A Read-Aloud Storybook Selection System for Prereaders at the Preschool Language Level: A Pilot Study Purpose Many well-accepted systems for determining difficulty level exist for books children read independently, but few are available for determining the wide range of difficulty levels of storybooks read aloud to preschoolers. Also, the available tools list book characteristics only on the basis of parents' or authors' opinions. We created ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 2015
A Read-Aloud Storybook Selection System for Prereaders at the Preschool Language Level: A Pilot Study
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Amy Louise Schwarz
    Texas State University, San Marcos
  • Anne van Kleeck
    The University of Texas at Dallas
  • Derek Beaton
    The University of Texas at Dallas
  • Erin Horne
    The University of Texas at Dallas
  • Heather MacKenzie
    Saint Catharines, Ontario, Canada
  • Hervé Abdi
    The University of Texas at Dallas
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Amy Louise Schwarz: amy.louise.schwarz@txstate.edu
  • Editor: Rhea Paul
    Editor: Rhea Paul×
  • Associate Editor: Sandra Gillam
    Associate Editor: Sandra Gillam×
Article Information
Development / School-Based Settings / Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 2015
A Read-Aloud Storybook Selection System for Prereaders at the Preschool Language Level: A Pilot Study
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2015, Vol. 58, 1273-1291. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-L-15-0056
History: Received February 7, 2015 , Revised May 27, 2015 , Accepted May 28, 2015
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2015, Vol. 58, 1273-1291. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-L-15-0056
History: Received February 7, 2015; Revised May 27, 2015; Accepted May 28, 2015
Web of Science® Times Cited: 2

Purpose Many well-accepted systems for determining difficulty level exist for books children read independently, but few are available for determining the wide range of difficulty levels of storybooks read aloud to preschoolers. Also, the available tools list book characteristics only on the basis of parents' or authors' opinions. We created an empirically derived difficulty-level system on the basis of 22 speech-language pathologists' (SLPs) judgments of specific storybooks used in preschooler read-alouds.

Method SLPs sorted 11 storybooks into ranked stacks on the basis of how difficult they thought the storybooks would be for preschoolers to understand when read aloud. SLPs described each stack globally as well as why they assigned each storybook to a particular stack. From transcriptions of the explanations, we derived a glossary of book characteristics using content analysis. We created a difficulty-level scale using a multivariate analysis technique that simultaneously analyzed book sorts and glossary terms.

Results The book selection system includes a glossary of book characteristics, a 4-level difficulty scale, and exemplar books for each level.

Conclusion This empirically derived difficulty-level system created for storybooks read aloud to preschoolers represents a step toward filling a gap in the read-aloud literature.

Acknowledgments
Hervé Abdi's work benefited from a (2014–2015) EURIAS fellowship at the Institut d'etudes avancées de Paris (France), made possible with the support of the European Union's 7th Framework Program for Research, and from funding from the French State managed by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche, program “Investissements d'avenir” (ANR-11-LABX-0027-01 Labex RFIEA+). Derek Beaton is currently supported by NIDA (F31 DA035039-01A1). Finally, this research would not have been possible without the master clinicians who took time from their very busy schedules to participate in this study.
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