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Preschoolers' Quarantining of Fantasy Stories

The main goal of this research was to investigate which type of books, real stories or fantasy
stories, learn children about solving the real world problems they encounter in life later on.
With the beginning of the research it was expected that children will solve real world
problems better after reading a book that was realistic. This assumption was based on a
research that was similar to one described in article, in which children performed better in
solving problems after they have been read realistic story rather than a fantasy.
In this study there were 33 children aged 3 to 5 of which there were 17 boys and 16 girls.
The majority, 75.8% of the participants were Hispanic, 9.1% were African American, 3.0%
were Caucasian, 6.1% were some other ethnicity, and 6.1% declined to indicate their
In a experiment children were divided randomly into two groups. Children were randomly
divided into two groups. One group had a fantasy story read to them, while a second group
had a realistic story told. The story was read one-on-one, to each child the story was read by
the experimenter in a quiet corner of their preschool classroom. The experimenter read the
stories in a way typical for young children, for instance mimicking character voices. Children
could comment books but there was not any additional interaction related to the story. After
storybooks were read to them, children were asked to solve problems that were similar to the
ones they heard about in the stories. Second experiment investigated if children would have
better results in solving problems if the stories were read to them in a classroom because
classroom presents a setting in which children expect to learn. The procedure was the same as
in the first experiment but books were not read one-on-one, books were read to the whole
For the research there were two types of book stimuli. One type of book was fantasy book that
was professionally produced and was available for purchase while the other type of book was
a fantasy story that was made for the purpose of the research but it was made to match the
fantasy book, it was printed and bound so there would be no difference to a realistic book.
After the research was done results showed that there was a notable difference in solving of
the problems between children who heard a fantasy story and the ones who heard a realistic
story. Children who heard a realistic story had better results in solving problems than the ones
who heard a fantasy story. In the second experiment there was no difference in comparison to
the initial experiment. Although children had better memory results there was no difference in
solving of problems.
The conclusion of this study is that children have more benefits from reading realistic stories
than fantasy stories. Children can learn more from realistic stories about solving problems
and dealing with the situations in life. Although the outcome of this research benefits realistic
stories fantasy story should not be neglected.

For young children,
pictures in storybooks are rarely worth a thousand words

Children often misinterpret illustrations in books and it is important that teachers provide a
feedback while they read-aloud to young children because it improves their skill in story
comprehension. If teacher does not provide a good feedback children often think they were
right while they actually misinterpreted illustration.

The main problem with illustrations is that children do not yet have enough knowledge to
interpret illustrations in the right way. Illustrations are a work of art that must be interpreted
and children do not yet have enough experience at interpreting at that age.

The purpose of this article was to give teachers information about what makes the most
confusion in interpreting illustration. They also offered four strategies that could help teachers
to successfully explain to children the meaning of illustrations.

First strategy is to point out important details, explain any act that was not shown in the
illustrations but happened in the story. It is also important that children understand that
illustrations are sometimes abstract and that they do not always show realistic events. That
way children will spend more attention in understanding the illustration rather than jumping to
the conclusion based on the first impression of the illustration.

Second strategy suggests that teachers pay attention to the children background knowledge. If
children do not have enough experiences they will not be able to interpret illustrations and
there is no way for teacher to explain an illustration to them.

In the third strategy it is advised that teachers reread text because one of the reasons children
misinterpret illustrations is they have not listened to the story careful enough.
In the last strategy it is recommended that teachers encourage children to think about
illustrations so they could come to conclusions about meaning of the illustrations themselves.

To conclude, it is important that teacher puts needed effort in nurture of oral vocabulary as
well as comprehension. Children have many benefits from listening to teachers reading a
story, such as learning new words and their meaning and many other benefits that teacher
should encourage them to learn.


Richert, R. A., Smith, I. E. (2011). Preschoolers Quarantining of Fantasy Stories. Child
Development, 82 (4), 11061119.

Schickedanz, J. A., Collins, M. F. (2012). For young children, picutres in storybooks are
rarely worth a thousand words. The Reading Teacher, 65 (8), 539-549.