Letter Names and Alphabet Book Reading by Senior Kindergarteners: An Eye Movement Study


  • This research was supported by a grant from the Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network (CLLRNet) to both authors. We thank the after-school centers Le Garde-Amis and Le Platinum for their exceptional collaboration, Mireille Babineau and Annie Jalbert for their assistance with conducting the experiment, and Mike A. Lawrence for his statistical advice.

concerning this article should be addressed to Mary Ann Evans, Department of Psychology, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada N1G 2W1, or to Jean Saint-Aubin, École de Psychologie, Université de Moncton, Moncton, NB, Canada E1A 3E9. Electronic mail may be sent to evans@psy.uoguelph.ca or to jean.saint-aubin@umoncton.ca.


The study monitored the eye movements of twenty 5-year-old children while reading an alphabet book to examine the manner in which the letters, words, and pictures were fixated and the relation of attention to print to alphabetic knowledge. Children attended little to the print, took longer to first fixate print than illustrations, and labeled fewer letters than when presented with letters in isolation. After controlling for receptive vocabulary, regressions revealed that children knowing more letters were quicker to look at the featured letter on a page and spent more time looking at the featured letter, the word, and its first letter. Thus, alphabet books along with letter knowledge may facilitate entrance into the partial alphabetic stage of word recognition.