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Moving beyond WH-questions: Event knowledge in preschoolers

Put down the sequencing cards–other tasks better predict story comprehension.

May 8, 2021

How do you know when a child really understands a story? Research suggests that event knowledge is an important component of children’s story comprehension— and one that is often overlooked. Event knowledge involves a ton of vital language skills including vocabulary, grammar, working memory, inference, and background knowledge. In this new study, Dempsey measured preschooler’s event knowledge after reading a story to determine which measures are most strongly correlated with comprehension. They are:


  • Enactment: reenacting events given relevant props from the story
  • Sequencing: putting the events of the story in order, given four pictures
  • Verbal Account: telling a story in your own words (without pictures) …

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