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Comparison of Video and Text Narrative Presentations on Comprehension and Vocabulary Acquisition

This 1998 study investigated the effect of video and narrative presentations on children's comprehension and vocabulary acquisition. Participants were students in four heterogeneously grouped eighth-grade English classes (n=16, 22, 21, and 11) in a rural school district in southwestern New York.

The short story selected was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Red-Headed League." It was chosen for its difficulty level--the text is at the instructional level of most of the students involved. Each class received a different mode of instruction: one class read the story to themselves; another class viewed a video rendition of the story; another class saw the same video but had captions included on the screen; the final class both read the text version to themselves during class and then viewed the video the following class period. A pretest (a matching test) and a posttest (the same matching test with answers in a different order, a series of multiple choice questions to measure comprehension and recall, and a short-answer evaluation question to measure critical thinking) were given.

Significant findings are that students who read the text had greater vocabulary acquisition, while students who viewed the video showed a greater comprehension of the story. It appears that video watching has a positive effect on comprehension, and vocabulary acquisition seems to be positively affected when coupled with text. Closed captioning is a recent positive addition to teaching reading through television and video. Authors: Podszebka, Darcy; Conklin, Candee; Apple, Mary; Windus, Amy.

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Tags: research, captioning