Document Type

Research Paper


A developmental improvement in memory during the preschool years, specifically far greater improvement in recall than recognition, has been found in previous research. A consistent finding is that 5 year olds differ significantly from 3 and 4 year-olds. The purpose of this study was investigate verbal memory performance and language abilities in preschoolers on a story-reading task. It was hypothesized that 3 and 4 year-olds would be similar to each other and that 5 year-olds would show higher levels of memory performance than their younger peers. Twenty-eight children (12 females, 16 males) ranging from 3 to 5 years of age were subjects. Children were individually read a short story and was asked 5 recall questions about the story. If a child missed a recall question, he/she was asked a recognition question. Then all 4 and 5 year-olds and three of the 3-year olds were individually read a long story. Children were asked 12 recall (or recognition) questions about the story. Results indicated that overall memory for story content was high in short story and long story conditions. Contrary to expected findings, 4 and 5 year-olds were more similar to each other and had an higher memory performance than the 3 year olds. Three-year-olds made more errors on the short story than did 4 and 5-year-olds. Gender differences were found, mainly in terms of the language that children used for story content. These differences may point to different types of strategy usage in these individuals. Further research should examine the strategy usage employed by age and gender.

Publication Date


Journal Title

Conference Proceedings: Undergraduate Social Science Research Conference





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©1996 by the University of Northern Iowa



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University of Northern Iowa


Cedar Falls, IA