Young children's visual attention to environmental print as measured by eye tracker analysis

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Neumann, Michelle M
Acosta, Camillia
Neumann, David L
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2014
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Abstract

Environmental print, such as signs and product labels, consist of both print and contextual cues designed to attract the visual attention of the reader. However, contextual cues may draw young children ' s attention away from the print, thus questioning the value of environmental print in early reading development. Eye tracker technology was used to measure the extent that children attend to words in environmental print. The relationships between print fixations and letter and word knowledge, as well as differences in fixations across types of environmental print, were also examined. Preschool children ( N = 39) ages 3-5 years viewed photographs of nine environmental print items and their standard print equivalents while visual fixations were recorded. Children were found to attend to words in environmental print, although they showed more and longer fixations for standard print words without contextual cues. Children ' s fixations were not associated with print knowledge. However, fixations on words in environmental print varied by item type to suggest that print learning may be facilitated by using environmental print with larger and more centralized fonts.

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Reading Research Quarterly

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49

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2

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Early childhood education

Curriculum and pedagogy

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