Narrative Fiction and Expository Nonfiction Differentially Predict Verbal Ability

Raymond A. Mar, Marina Rain
2015 Scientific Studies of Reading  
Although reading is known to be an important contributor to language abilities, it is not yet well established whether different text genres are uniquely associated with verbal abilities. We examined how exposure to narrative fiction and expository nonfiction predict language ability among university students. Exposure was measured both with self-report and with recognition tests of print exposure. Verbal ability was measured in the form of synonym knowledge, analogies, sentence completion, and
more » ... nce completion, and reading comprehension in 4 different studies. Across all studies, narrative fiction was a better predictor of verbal abilities relative to expository nonfiction. When examining unique associations, controlling for demographic variables and the other genre, fiction remained a robust predictor, whereas nonfiction became a null or weak negative predictor. In light of this evidence, it appears that what we read plays an important role in how reading contributes to language development. Correspondence should be sent to Raymond A.
doi:10.1080/10888438.2015.1069296 fatcat:3tbbwhwokfbxjlrx3iwsrxmvze