Audio Stories as Incidental Language Teachers: A Compensatory Approach for Migrant and Low-SES Children in Germany


Audio stories offer a unique blend of narrative entertainment with language learning opportunities as a user’s enjoyment is dependent on their processing of the linguistic content. A total of 138 third- and fourth-graders from low socioeconomic status and migrant families recruited from a metropolitan area in Germany participated in a randomized pre–post follow-up intervention study with a control group. Children listened to a tailored crime story of approximately 90 min over a period of 3 days within the classroom setting. Entertainment value for the age group was established in a pilot study. Outcome variables included semantic and grammatical skills in German and were administered before (pretest), shortly after intervention (posttest), and 2 weeks later (follow-up). We used nonverbal intelligence, reading, comprehension skills, age and sex as control variables. Results indicate a strong positive effect of media reception on language skills. The effectiveness of the intervention is discussed with reference to different linguistic domains, entertainment value, and compensatory effects in populations at risk of language learning deficits.

Journal for Media Psychology, 33, 60-71
Timo Lüke
Timo Lüke
Professor of Inclusive Education and Improvement of Instruction

Interested in instruction, and assessment, especially for learners with disabilities or at risk. Special educator with a focus on learning & intellectual disabilities, and enthusiastic user of single-case research methods.