11. Mothers’ talking about early object and action concepts during picturebook reading

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Early picturebooks mostly contain pictures of static objects that are useful in introducing rules of book behavior (Kümmerling-Meibauer & Meibauer, 2005). Yet, they do not evolve narratives with a temporal or sequential structure. Our study was motivated by the approach suggested in Mandler (2000) stating that the conceptualization of an object is less complex than of an event, because events involve relations among objects. We therefore raised the question, whether early picturebooks do not provide a verbal organization in form of e.g. a temporal sequence, because they are mostly about single objects and not about events. For the investigation, we observed 10 mother-child dyads longitudinally, while they engaged in two different book-reading scenarios. Our analyses focused on the question whether maternal verbal behavior differed depending on the book content. Results reveal that an early form of narratives, proto-narratives, was elicited more often in books about events.


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