Twice Upon a Mind: Preschoolers’ Narrative Processing of Electronic and Printed Stories

Altun D.

Early Childhood Education Journal, 2020 (Journal Indexed in SCI Expanded) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume:
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s10643-020-01079-9
  • Title of Journal : Early Childhood Education Journal


© 2020, Springer Nature B.V.Advanced technology and the shift to a digital childhood have dramatically reshaped children’s early life experiences. Children’s literacy experiences are also evolving; in addition to printed storybooks, children are now exposed to electronic stories (e-stories). While previous studies have addressed the effects of e-stories on children’s comprehension, little attention has been devoted to the roles of theory of mind (ToM) and executive functions (EF) in this process. The goal of the present study is to expand our current understanding of the roles of ToM and EF in young children’s narrative processing of e-stories and printed stories. The participants consisted of 196 children who were five years of age. A matched comparison group design was used. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses were conducted to test the predictive power of ToM and EF for young children’s story comprehension after controlling for receptive vocabulary. A hierarchical multiple regression model accounted for 63% of the total variance in printed story comprehension and ToM had a higher predictive power. In relation to e-stories, EF had a higher predictive power, and the three predictors accounted for 66% of the total variance in story comprehension. The initial findings suggest narrative processes in e-stories are more related to EF and probably require more complex cognitive competencies. Thus, designers should create developmentally appropriate and well-designed e-stories that facilitate both story comprehension and EF.