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Minds and stories

Minds and Stories project logo

Thank you for your interest in the Minds and Stories project that is ongoing this spring and summer 2014! We are looking for 6- to 8-year-old children to participate!

The Minds and Stories project is a new study for 6- to 8-year-old children. The focus of the study is how young readers imagine and understand stories. We will be looking for children throughout the spring and summer to participate. On this page, you'll find more information about what the study involves and how to contact us to take part or get more information. This study is being conducted by Angela Nyhout, a senior graduate student, under the direction of Dr. Daniela O’Neill, a professor of psychology and the director of the University of Waterloo Centre for Child Studies.

What is this study about?

In this study, we are interested in learning more about how children are using their imagination when listening to or reading stories. When children are younger, most of the stories they encounter are in the form of picture books and television. However, as they learn to read, children must be able to build the story in their minds, because the stories they encounter are no longer accompanied by detailed pictures. Researchers are only at the beginning stages of understanding this aspect of children's reading development and how it may contribute to children’s reading and story comprehension. Your child's participation in this study, will make an important contribution to what we know about young children's story comprehension abilities.

Who can take part?

We are looking for children who are 6- to 8-years-old to take part in the study. We are looking both for children who enjoy reading stories and those who don’t enjoy reading stories.

What would be involved if my child takes part?

You and your child would come to the Centre for Child Studies at the University of Waterloo for a one time, 1 hour visit. During this time, your child would complete a series of activities with the researcher involving listening to short stories, as well as language activities and a spatial activity. Each activity takes approximately 5 minutes. With your permission, we would videotape the interactions to help with later analysis. You will be able to watch and listen to the interaction through a one-way window in the next room. Toys are also available in this room for any siblings that come along. Children are provided with juice and a snack during their visit. Participating children receive a small gift to thank them for their participation.

When can our visit to the centre be scheduled?

Your visit to the Centre can be arranged at for any day and time of week that is most convenient for you and your child. We can schedule visits for the morning, afternoon, early evening, during weekdays or weekends. Typically, because most of the children who have participated so far are in school, most of our families have come to the Centre in the late afternoon, early evening or on the weekend.

How do I get to the Centre for Child Studies at uWaterloo?

When you decide to take part we will provide you with detailed instructions on how to find us on the uWaterloo campus either by car or by bus. We have free parking just outside our building entrance where we will meet you at your car and escort you to the Centre. We can also arrange for transportation to the Centre if needed.

How can I contact you to take part or to get more information?

Angela Nyhout

  • Call Angela Nyhout at the Centre for Child Studies at 519-888-4567, ext. 35416
  • Email Angela at the Centre for Child Studies

Has this study received ethics clearance from the University?

Yes. This study has been reviewed by, and received ethics clearance through, the Office of Research Ethics, University of Waterloo.

Some feedback from our participants so far!

This is osom!

- Hugh 7

I had lots of fun here. I really like the treats. thank you for let me come here. I really like Angla. She is really fun.

- Kelsey!!

What a wonderful opportunity for my children to "help you learn how children learn". I have had all 3 of my children participate over the past several years. They get a kick out of this experience and are always treated so well from the staff at the centre. It is a warm, welcoming & inviting environment. I recommend doing these studies to all my friends!"

My son was apprehensive about coming, but he quickly warmed up to you [Angela] and participated well.

My daughter looked like she really enjoyed the activities, and her two brothers were thrilled to be offered a snack when she had her break time. Clean, fun playroom. A great place!

We look forward to hearing from you!


Our studies attempt to understand general trends in development, not to assess the performance of individual children. Names are not used in publications resulting from our research. Our studies are conducted on a voluntary basis. Parents and children are free to withdraw their participation at any time.

We appreciate your support of the uWaterloo Centre for Child Studies!