In this study, we investigated the effects of previewing on children's comprehension of a televised story. Using a variation of Ausubel’s advance organizers, a 1½-min edited video was constructed to provide children with a brief overview of the basic plot structure before seeing the televised story Soup and Me. Study 1 examined the effects of previewing with 48 second graders using a multiple-choke test of 20 items, which assessed their recall of central, incidental, and inferential story information. Our results indicated that viewing a preview before a televised story significantly increased students' comprehension of plot-essential information, but did not influence their learning of incidental information or their ability to draw inferences from the story. Study 2 examined previewing’s effects on free recall with 39 first graders. Those students in the preview group recalled the episodic structure of the story significantly better than the control group did. Previews appeared to act primarily as a cuing device, drawing children's attention to certain central aspects of the story. These results indicate that previewing may be an effective mediational technique for enhancing children's comprehension and retention of plot-essential information from a televised story.
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