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A comparative study of English language learners reading storybooks in traditional print and digital formats

, University of Miami, United States

University of Miami . Awarded


Research supports that guided repeated readings and independent reading are beneficial because they improve fluency and develop comprehension. This study explored if CD-ROM storybooks can provide a practical alternative to independent reading practice for English language learners (ELLs). The purpose of this study was to discover if ELLs differed on a measure of comprehension following the reading of a book in CD-ROM versus traditional print formats. Further, this study described children's interactions with a CD-ROM storybook to determine if reading in a digital context is a valuable literacy activity for ELLs during independent reading.

A 3 x 2 factorial ANOVA was used to examine the effects of the two independent variables: reading condition (reading a paper storybook with and without teacher support and reading a CD-ROM storybook) and reading ability (low and high). Forty-two Spanish speaking second-grade ELLs (43% female, 57% male) in an urban school district in the southeastern United States participated in one of the three reading conditions via random assignment. Comprehension after reading the paper or CD-ROM storybook was measured using a field-tested, open-ended comprehension instrument.

The reading scores indicated that there was no statistical significance in performance among the three reading conditions. However, when the data were analyzed by ability, it can be argued that the findings have practical significance. A large effect size (0.824) was found for mean reading comprehension scores between the paper storybook without teacher support and the CD-ROM storybook conditions for students of low reading ability, who scored 0.8 of a standard deviation higher than their peers reading without support.

Observations and interviews revealed that hypertext functions that support reading skills, including decoding and vocabulary, appeared to improve automaticity and also provided collateral benefits for ELLS of low reading ability. For students of high reading ability, the hypertext function appeared to distract the readers. Overall, a CD-ROM storybook appears to be a valuable tool for struggling readers during independent reading. The discussion focuses on the implications of these findings for ELLs and suggests expanding the notion of literacy to include digital technologies, but cautions educators to maintain a critical eye regarding their use.


Chiappone, L.L. A comparative study of English language learners reading storybooks in traditional print and digital formats. Ph.D. thesis, University of Miami. Retrieved November 15, 2019 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

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