The practice of using illustrations in materials for teaching children to read dates back over 250 years. In recent years, illustrations in books for beginning readers have become increasingly more colorful and engaging than in the past. Yet, there is virtually no research evaluating the effect of close proximity of text to colorful engaging illustrations on emerging literacy skills. However, there are theoretical and empirical reasons to believe that engaging colorful illustrations placed in close proximity to text in books for beginning readers may interfere with (rather that aid) emerging literacy skills. This research will examine (1) whether close proximity of text to illustrations, a typical layout in books for beginning readers, creates competition for attentional resources, thus interfering with reading fluency and comprehension; and (2) how the layout of books for beginning readers can be optimized to reduce competition for attentional resources and thus improve fluency and comprehension in beginning readers. <br/><br/>To address these questions, this project will use portable eye tracking devices to examine the patterns of attention allocation as children in kindergarten through second grade read books designed for beginning readers. Specifically, researchers will measure the number of gaze shifts from text to illustrations and the total time children spend looking at text and illustrations. It is hypothesized that frequent gaze shifts from text to illustrations are indicative of children being distracted by illustrations. Additionally, researchers will collect measures of reading fluency and reading comprehension. In a series of six studies, researchers will compare performance on measures of attention and reading when children read commercially available books to modified versions of the same books. The modifications to commercially available books will be aimed at optimizing the layout of text and illustrations to reduce competition for attentional resources. It is predicted that modified book layouts will lead to decreased frequency of gaze shifts from text to illustrations, and increased reading fluency and comprehension. Overall, this project has potential to uncover low-cost and easy to scale basic principles to achieve optimal design of reading materials to improve literacy skills of beginning readers.