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Lapbooks: The Influence of Interactive Literacy Activities on Young Children's

Comprehension Skills
Carina Teo, Joey Lim, Wendy Yee, and Yeo Mei Xian
Abstract
The purpose of this research was to determine how the use of Lapbooks influence the
comprehension skills of young children aged 5 to 6 years old. This research study invited the
participants involvement in two key phases: 1) Reading of Swimmy by Leo Lionni followed
by the questioning technique, 2) Reading of Gingerbread Man Loose in the School by Laura
Murray followed by a Lapbook. The data collected were transcribed and analysed using a set
of eight predetermined comprehension skills. Differences in the frequency of comprehension
skills occurring in both phases of this research indicated the Lapbook a better tool in supporting
childrens ability to comprehend a story.

Key Words: Lapbook; comprehension skills, interactive activities, language development,


preschool

Results
Swimmy and Questioning Techniques.

Figure 3.1 Observation of comprehension skills used during pre-intervention


Analysis of the data collected identified few indications of childrens comprehension
skills. Fig. 3.1 shows the frequency of comprehension skills displayed by participants as they
answered questions that were posed during and after the story reading session. The reading of
the story, Swimmy by Leo Lionni, aimed to examine the effectiveness of questioning techniques
in a conventional preschool setting.
The participating children displayed certain comprehension skillspredicting, making
connections, and inferring, with the other indicators not observed. Their predictive skills
occurred four times based on the answers given by four children. Predictions were made at
various points when questions were posed, and short answers were obtained. It was also
observed that children faced difficulties when explaining their predictions through answering
of questions.
A few participants demonstrated the ability to make connections. Participants skill in
making connections between story events to their personal experiences occurred twice, with
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the data collected from two out of eight participants. Responses from the questions posed were
limited, and amidst the responses received, only two provided evidence of children making
text-to-self connections.
Most of the participants proved their abilities to infer. Participants inferencing skill
occurred 13 times, based on answers given by seven participants. Upon questioning, inferences
were made based on book illustrations, and answers were elicited from children with prompts
and ample thinking time. One participant whose answer did not contribute to this data provided
an answer that was too short to be deemed as relevant.

Gingerbread Man Loose in the School and the Use of Lapbook

Fig. 3.2 Observation of comprehension skills used during intervention


Analysis of the data collected identified great quantities of childrens comprehension
skills. Figure 3.2 shows the frequency of comprehension skills exhibited by participants as they
worked on the Lapbook after having read Gingerbread Man Loose in the School. The Lapbook
used in this intervention was designed to examine its effectiveness in supporting childrens
story comprehension skills.

All participants demonstrated the eight pre-identified comprehension skills listed in this
study. It is evident that amongst the comprehension skills, making connections was recorded
to be displayed the most number of times, while evaluating and determining importance were
displayed the least number of times.
The following sections will identify the activity(-ies) when a comprehension skill was
observed to be used for the most number of times:
Making Connections. Participants ability to make connections was recorded 39 times
based on the data collected from all participating children. Making Connections is one
comprehension skill that occurred the most number of times through two activitiesWhat Do
You Mean? and Questions in a Pocket. It was used 12 times during each of the aforementioned
activity. As participants worked on the activity What Do You Mean?, all were able to make
connections varying on individuals; participants made connections between the words and the
texts, illustrations, characters, specific events in the story or their personal experiences.
Similarly, through the activity Questions in a Pocket, participants demonstrated their abilities
to make text-to-self connections as they responded to questions in the activity.
Inferring. Participants inferencing skill was recorded 16 times based on the data
collected from six participating children. In the activity Questions in a Pocket, participants
inferencing skill occurred the most number of timesfive. Participating children demonstrated
abilities in inferring from texts or actions of the characters in the story while answering
questions from the activity.
Summarising. Participants summarising skill was recorded 16 times based on the data
gathered from all participating children. In the activity Run, Run as Fast as You Can!,
participants summarising skill occurred the most number of times16. Participants
summarised the story by sequencing picture cards provided in the activity as they recalled
the story sequence.

Prior Knowledge. Participants prior knowledge was recorded 13 times based on the
data collected from six participating children. Participants prior knowledge was tapped on six
times during the activity Make Your Own Gingerbread Man. As children determined the
ingredients needed to bake a Gingerbread Man, they used prior knowledge that were past
experiences gained at home or in school.
Predicting. Participants abilities in making predictions was recorded 4 times. Based
on the data gathered from four participating children, prediction was a skill demonstrated
mainly through the activity, What Do You Mean? Children displayed the skill as they predicted
the meanings of the words in the activity based on the characters roles, events in the story, or
illustrations.
Questioning. In the Lapbook, only two of the participants displayed the comprehension
skill of Questioning. This skill was noted when both participants responded to the question,
What do you want to ask the Gingerbread Man (or other characters)?. Other participants in
this study did not choose this question, given the limited time for each intervention session.
Evaluating. One out of eight participants demonstrated the comprehension skill of
Evaluating through the activity Questions in a Pocket. The occurrence of this skill was recorded
when the participant was asked an open-ended question during the activity What do you
want to ask the Gingerbread Man (or other characters)? In response to the question, the
participating child responded, I want to ask the principal if she would accept a cookie as a
student This skill was later observed when the participant mentioned that a cookie is too
fragile to be in the classroom, and he wondered out loud: If the principal allows a cookie to
join the class, she would also allow a wobbly jelly too!
Determining importance. Determining Importance is another comprehension skill
that occurred only once. However, this skill was not demonstrated through any of the five
activities in the Lapbook. Instead, the skill was noted when one participant shared with the

researchers that she preferred the version of Gingerbread Man that was read to the participants,
as compared to the classic version. She also supported her preference by identifying the moral
of the story, which was to tell children to always help people who are in need.