Expanding retrieval practice: an effective aid to preschool children’s learning

Catherine O Fritz, Peter E Morris, Debra Nolan, Jillian Singleton

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


The benefits of expanding retrieval practice for preschool children were explored in two experiments. In Experiment 1, three groups learned names for six plush toy pigs using expanding retrieval practice, a reward incentive, or a control condition. Reward did not significantly improve learning but retrieval practice doubled recall. In Experiment 2, three groups learned names to soft toys, comparing recall following massed elaborative study with either expanding retrieval practice or expanding re-presentation. Recall was tested after 1 minute, 1 day, and 2 days. A very large effect size (d ¼ 1.9) indicated the very considerable benefit from expanding retrieval practice over the elaboration condition. Comparison with the re-presentation condition suggested that half of the benefit of expanding retrieval practice came from spaced scheduling and half from retrieval practice. Expanding retrieval practice provides an effective method to improve learning by young children
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007


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