Journal of Psycholinguistic Research

, Volume 48, Issue 1, pp 221–242 | Cite as

The Influence of Presentation Format of Story on Narrative Production in Chinese Children Learning English-as-a-Second-Language: A Comparison Between Graphic Novel, Illustration Book and Text

  • Tracy K. S. Chan
  • Simpson W. L. WongEmail author
  • Anita M.-Y. Wong
  • Vina Wing-Hei Leung


Past studies have shown that multimodal presentation of story can improve story-retelling performance in the first language. The purpose of the present study was to investigate whether similar multimedia effects can be observed in second language learning and graphic novel reading. A total of 51 Chinese elementary school children, aged 7–8, who were learning English as a second language were recruited. They were randomly assigned to one of the three experimental conditions that differed in the format of story presentation: English text, English text with pictorial illustrations or graphic novel. After reading the same story, the children retold the story in English. The narratives produced were then rated by two independent raters. The results of group comparison showed that children from the three experimental groups had similar performance, indicating that multimedia presentation may not always facilitate narrative production in English as a second language. Within-subject comparison further showed that the children were relatively strong in language skills and capturing the main ideas of the story, while showing weakness in story structure awareness, elaboration, as well as local and global cohesion. Suggestions for the application of multimodal presentation of narrative texts are discussed.


Narrative production Cognitive theory of multimedia learning Illustration book Graphic novel Chinese learners of English-as-a-second-language 



We would like to thank all the students who participated in this study. We thank Ms Nek Mak for drawing the illustration book and graphic novel used in this study.


This research was supported by the General Research Fund from the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong (GRF845213).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Education University of Hong KongTai PoHong Kong
  2. 2.Department of Education StudiesHong Kong Baptist UniversityKowloon TongHong Kong
  3. 3.The University of Hong KongPok Fu LamHong Kong

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