BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    Enhancing preschoolers' executive functions through embedding cognitive activities in shared book reading

    Howard, S. and Powell, T. and Vasseleu, E. and Johnstone, S. and Melhuish, Edward C. (2017) Enhancing preschoolers' executive functions through embedding cognitive activities in shared book reading. Educational Psychology Review 29 (1), pp. 153-174. ISSN 1040-726X.

    15119.pdf - Author's Accepted Manuscript

    Download (3MB) | Preview


    Given evidence that early executive functioning sets the stage for a broad range of subsequent outcomes, researchers have sought to identify ways to foster these cognitive capacities. An increasingly common approach involves computerized ‘brain training’ programs, yet there are questions about whether these are well suited for fostering the early development of executive functions (EFs). The current series of studies sought to design, develop, and provide evidence for the efficacy of embedding cognitive activities in a commonplace activity – shared reading of a children’s book. The book, Quincey Quokka’s Quest, required children to control their thinking and behaviour to help the story’s main character through a series of obstacles. The first study investigated effects of reading with embedded cognitive activities in individual and group contexts on young children’s executive functions (EFs). The second study compared reading with embedded cognitive activities against a more-active control condition (dialogic reading) that similarly engaged children in the reading process yet lacked clear engagement of EFs. The third study sought to investigate whether the effect of reading the story with embedded EF activities changed across differing doses of the intervention and whether effects persisted 2 months post-intervention. Findings provide converging evidence of intervention effects on working memory and shifting in as little as 3 weeks (compared to more traditional reading) and maintenance of these gains 2 months later. This suggests the efficacy of embedding cognitive activities in the context of everyday activities, thereby extending the range of users and contexts in which this approach can be used.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: The final publication is available at Springer via the link above.
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Executive function, Cognitive development, Training, Shared reading, Preschool, Intervention
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Children, Families and Social Issues, Institute for the Study of (Closed)
    Depositing User: Ted Melhuish
    Date Deposited: 06 May 2016 13:53
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:23


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item