Does an activity-based learning strategy improve preschool children's memory for narrative passages?

Janna E. Biazak, Scott C. Marley, Joel R. Levin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Contemporary embodiment theory's indexical hypothesis predicts that engaging in text-relevant activity while listening to a story will: (1) enhance memory for enacted story content; and, (2) result in relatively greater memory enhancement for enacted atypical events than for typical ones (Glenberg & Robertson, 1999, 2000). To date, indexical hypothesis predictions and applications have been examined only with adults and elementary school-aged children. The present study extended previous research by comparing an activity-based listening strategy to a listening-only strategy with 56 preschool children. The first hypothesis was supported in that children in the activity-based condition recalled more story actions than children in the listening-only condition. At the same time, this effect was relatively greater for children who were initially better at remembering story content than for initially poorer story rememberers. Consistent with previous research findings, no statistical differences between conditions were observed on memory for nonaction story content. The second hypothesis - that children in the activity-based strategy would exhibit comparatively greater memory enhancement for atypical story events relative to typical ones - was not supported. Theoretical and practical implications of the findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)515-526
Number of pages12
JournalEarly Childhood Research Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Activity
  • Experiment
  • Learning strategy
  • Manipulatives
  • Preschool
  • Quantitative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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