While educators and speech-language pathologists have been found to utilize informational texts far less than fictional texts when working with young children, informational texts can support young children's academic and language development. This study qualitatively analyzed how children engaged in informationally-based activities and how instructors interacted with children to support their engagement and learning. Fifty-three children from 4 Head Start classrooms participated in small and large group STEM-based instructional activities for 2 days each across 2 weeks. The instructional unit related to how plants grow and how they are used for food. The researchers reviewed and transcribed video recordings and coded turn exchanges as the children participated in 2 small group science-based activities in the first week of the unit, for a total of 8 analyzed sessions. Overall, children demonstrated positive verbal and nonverbal responses while participating in the science-based activities. Instructors were found to use facilitative strategies such as bridging the contextualized experiences to remote concepts, but did not utilize strategies consistently. Instructors were responsive to children's contributions and exchanges between children and instructors were typically 2-3 turns. Instructors could have further developed these exchanges by elaborating or asking thought-provoking questions to highlight targeted concepts. This study supported the idea that young children can respond positively to informational content. Educators and speech-language pathologists can purposefully utilize informational texts with young children and should attempt to help children connect immediate experiences to abstract STEM-based content and concepts.
College and Department
David O. McKay School of Education; Communication Disorders
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Griffin, Hayley Ann, "The Nature of Child Engagement and Teacher-Child Interactions Within STEM-Based Instruction in Preschool Classrooms" (2018). Theses and Dissertations. 6785.
science, literacy, engagement, informational texts, preschool, integrated