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Front Psychol. 2014 Mar 4;5:184. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00184. eCollection 2014.

Goodnight book: sleep consolidation improves word learning via storybooks.

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1
School of Psychology, University of Sussex Brighton, UK.

Abstract

Reading the same storybooks repeatedly helps preschool children learn words. In addition, sleeping shortly after learning also facilitates memory consolidation and aids learning in older children and adults. The current study explored how sleep promotes word learning in preschool children using a shared storybook reading task. Children were either read the same story repeatedly or different stories and either napped after the stories or remained awake. Children's word retention were tested 2.5 h later, 24 h later, and 7 days later. Results demonstrate strong, persistent effects for both repeated readings and sleep consolidation on young children's word learning. A key finding is that children who read different stories before napping learned words as well as children who had the advantage of hearing the same story. In contrast, children who read different stories and remained awake never caught up to their peers on later word learning tests. Implications for educational practices are discussed.

KEYWORDS:

language acquisition; memory consolidation; shared storybook reading; sleep; word learning

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