Reading in Early Childhood Setting: Promoting Socioemotional Development in the Digital Age

:speech_balloon: Speaker: Ma. Lovena Moneva @loviemoneva

:classical_building: Affiliation: Trnavská univerzita v Trnave; Universität Basel

Title: Reading in Early Childhood Setting: Promoting Socioemotional Development in the Digital Age

Abstract (long version below): This poster shows the outcome on socioemotional skills of the literature-based program implemented at Slovak Kindergarten classes with children between 4 to 6 years old. The 10-week program made use of high-quality picture books which was read and discussed by the classroom teachers to the children. The program was designed to facilitate preschoolers’ attention to characterization elements of story character traits that demonstrate socioemotional skills identified to be relevant to the digital age. The children’s home literacy environment, story comprehension skills, and age were also analyzed against socioemotional skills, which were all measured before and after the program implementation.

IGEL Poster_Ma Lovena Moneva 2.pdf (3.7 MB)

:newspaper: Long abstract


With the ever-changing world brought about technological advancements, it is important to have a strong sense of self and others to navigate the digital age. These changes in the environment brought about new risks and opportunities that young children face. Therefore, socioemotional development should be given attention especially in young children. One way to do this is by using picture books which is promoted in preschool classrooms, particularly in Slovakia (MŠVVaŠ SR, 2016). In this study, a literature-based program focused on picture book characters was designed and implemented in Slovak kindergarten classes. The characters demonstrate socioemotional skills by how they were portrayed in the illustration and the text, can serve as models of behavior through observational learning. The impact of the program was examined by comparing pre-test and post test results of socioemotional measures.

Aims and Purpose

This program aims to examine the effects on 4 to 6 year old children of this literature-based program focused on the portrayal of the story characters on the socioemotional skills relevant to the digital age. Additionally, the researcher hopes that the program design will be adapted and implemented by preschool teachers in Slovakia and in other countries, using picture books written in different languages.

Methodology and Methods

This is a quasi-experimental intervention study employed a quantitative approach using a pre-test and post-test design. The intervention group received a literature-based program designed to focus on characterization elements of picture books characters. On the other hand, the control group did not receive the program.

Both intervention and control groups underwent a pre-test and post-test using two assessment tools that teachers used to rate the children’s socioemotional skills, namely the Preschool and Kindergarten Behavior Scales (PKBS) (Merrell, 1994) and the Five-factor Personality Questionnaire for Preschool Children (M5-PS-35) (Grist et al., 2012). Considering possible covariance, data on the children’s digital and non-digital home literacy environments were gathered through a modified version of the Home Literacy Environment Questionnaire (HLEQ) (Umek et al., 2005). Aside from that, the children’s story comprehension levels were also measured using the Comprehension of Coherent Story test (Zápotočná & Urban, 2020). Home literacy environment, story comprehension, as well as age were controlled in the analysis of socioemotional skills. Most of the instruments (except the Comprehension of Coherent Story test) were originally written in English. These were translated and checked for accuracy and validity by two experts from Slovakia: one in early childhood and one language translator. The assessment tools were also statistically analyzed for reliability.

Design of the Literature-based Program

The intervention for this study is a literature-based program which made use of high-quality children’s picture books, wherein the characters demonstrate socioemotional skills that have been identified as relevant for the digital age. The program is implemented for a period of 10 weeks, reading and discussing one book twice per week during class. The program procedure is detailed in a teachers’ manual designed by the researcher. Through this manual, the kindergarten teachers were instructed to facilitate children’s attention to character-indicators in the illustration and text.


The participants are 4- to 6-year-old children and their parents from Slovak State Kindergarten schools. The intervention group is composed of 107 children from 6 schools, while the control group is composed of 35 children from 2 schools. The samples from both conditions were matched to make sure that the intervention and control group have similar scores in the different measures.

Analysis and Results

At this moment, the pre-test and post test data are being analyzed and the results will be presented in time for the IGEL Conference. Controlling for home literacy environment, story comprehension, and age (covariates), the pre-test and post test results from the two socioemotional measures (dependent variable) will be analyzed to see if there are significant differences between the intervention and control groups. The two groups will be matched to make sure that the results are comparable. The analysis of the results will determine if the literature-based reading program focused on story characters had an impact on the development of socioemotional skills of children in early childhood.


Grist, C. L., Socha, A., & McCord, D. M. (2012). The M5–PS–35: A Five-Factor Personality Questionnaire for Preschool Children. Journal of Personality Assessment, 94(3), 287–295.

Merrell, K. W. (1994). Preschool and Kindergarten Behavior Scales. Test Manual. Clinical Psychology Publishing Company Inc.

MŠVVaŠ SR. (2016). Štátny Vzdelávací Program Pre Predprimárne Vzdelávanie V Materských Školách. MŠVVaŠ SR.

Umek, L. M., Podlesek, A., & Fekonja, U. (2005). Assessing the Home Literacy Environment: Relationships to Child Language Comprehension and Expression. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 21(4), 271–281.

Zápotočná, O., & Urban, M. (2020). Predškolské indikátory úspešného vývinu čitateľskej gramotnosti. Gramotnost, Pregramotnost a Vzdělávání, 4(2).