Activity and imagined activity can enhance young children's reading comprehension

Arthur M. Glenberg, Tiana Gutierrez, Joel R. Levin, Sandra Japuntich, Michael P. Kaschak

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

265 Scopus citations


The Indexical Hypothesis suggests a new method for enhancing children's reading comprehension. Young readers may not consistently "index,ω or map, words to the objects the words represent. Consequently, these readers fail to derive much meaning from the text. The instructional method involves manipulating toy objects referred to in the text (e.g., a barn, a tractor, a horse, in a text about a farm) to simulate the actions described in the text. Correctly manipulating the objects forces indexing and facilitates the derivation of meaning. Both actual manipulation and imagined manipulation resulted in markedly better (compared with rereading) memory for and comprehension of the text material, thereby lending strong support to the Indexical Hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)424-436
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Educational Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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