Authentic language vs. decodable texts for reading aloud with kindergarten children: A study of understanding and recall

Susan K Poe, Tennessee State University


The foundation of reading comprehension begins with reading aloud to children. Beyond teaching basic literacy that hopefully expands as students grow and develop, teachers also seek to instill a love of reading in young minds and hearts and to foster a love of stories. Reading aloud is perhaps one of the most effective tools in both processes, especially if begun early and continued throughout childhood. The purpose of this study was to determine the impact on children's comprehension of reading aloud from two different types of texts, decodable texts and authentic language texts of the same difficulty levels. Comprehension levels were measured and compared by analyzing students' oral retelling responses to each of these textual forms. This research study also explored the extent of read-aloud practices through the use of a teachers' survey. In addition, the study employed an informal student interview in order to determine which types of texts the children preferred. The central research questions explored levels of comprehension and recall among kindergarten students for two different types of read-aloud texts, authentic language and decodable. The results from data analysis indicated that the majority of teachers participating in the survey regularly read aloud to their students, and tended to choose authentic language texts more often than decodable texts for read-alouds. Results from the study also indicated that higher levels of comprehension and recall of text were achieved through the use of authentic language read-aloud texts as compared to decodable texts. Implications from the study include the need to encourage educators to read aloud to students regularly, to use authentic texts as read-alouds on a regular, daily basis in order to promote reading comprehension and development of literacy skills, and to engage learners in oral retellings and additional follow-up activities in response to read-aloud texts in order to further enhance literacy development.

Subject Area

Curriculum development|Language

Recommended Citation

Susan K Poe, "Authentic language vs. decodable texts for reading aloud with kindergarten children: A study of understanding and recall" (2008). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3320205.