Words from "Sesame Street": Learning vocabulary while viewing

The present study was a longitudinal investigation of preschool children's viewing of “Sesame Street” and their vocabulary development. Five 1-week diaries of television viewing were collected for 2 years from 2 cohorts of children; 1 group was followed from ages 3 to 5 (n=160) and another from ages 5 to 7 (n=166). Child and family measures included children's vocabulary skills, gender, presence of siblings, parent education, parent encouragement of “Sesame Street” viewing, and parent positive attitudes about television. Cross-age multiple regression in conjunction with within-age regressions, suggested a positive effect of “Sesame Street” viewing from ages 3 to 5, with declining benefits from ages 5 to 7. Neither positive nor negative effects were evident for viewing other kinds of children's programs, such as cartoons. Results suggest that the content and presentation formats of “Sesame Street” are well suited to preschoolers' development of reading vocabulary, independent of parent education, family size, child gender, and parental attitudes. The findings suggest the feasibility of tutorial uses of the video medium.

Rice, M., Huston, A., Rosemarie, T., & Wright, J.
Developmental Psychology, Vol. 26 (3), 421-428.
Related Research
Content Area: 
Grade Level: 
birth to preschool
IDEA Disability Category: 
emotional disturbance
intellectual disability
major-other health impairment
multiple disabilities
specific learning disability
speech or language impairment
Instructional Support: 
multiple formats of text and notation
opportunities to learn concepts