Children's Problems in Text Comprehension: An Experimental Investigation

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Cambridge University Press, Sep 19, 1991 - Education - 241 pages
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Although some young children can read aloud with apparent fluency, they fail to understand fully or remember connected discourse. Much research on reading has focused on problems at the word recognition level and less attention has been given to comprehension difficulties. The authors of this 1991 work observed that teachers usually monitored reading ability by listening to children read aloud, or by using reading tests that concentrate on word recognition skills. Thus, comprehension problems could go unnoticed. The authors provide an introduction and an overview of adult and child text comprehension. They then describe their own research on children who have a specific comprehension deficit. Such children have difficulties in making inferences from text, in using working memory to integrate information into a coherent mental model and in reflecting on their own comprehension. The authors relate these findings to educational practice and make suggestions for comprehension improvement. Psychologists and educators will welcome this presentation of fresh, thorough research on an important topic.

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reading remembering and understanding
Processing words and sentences
Inferences and the integration of text
Allocating resources during reading
Metacognition and reading
Using cohesive devices in narrative discourse
Methods of improving poor comprehension
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About the author (1991)

Kate Cain, DPhil, is a Reader in the Department of Psychology at Lancaster University. Her research and publications focus on the development of language comprehension in children, with a particular interest in the skill deficits that lead to comprehension problems. Dr. Cain's recent journal articles report investigations into the relations that exist between children's reading comprehension and their inference-making skill, knowledge of narrative structure, interpretation of figurative language, vocabulary-learning mechanisms, and memory processes. She is an Associate Editor of the "International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders "and the "Journal of Research in Reading,"
Jane Oakhill, DPhil, is a Professor of Experimental Psychology at the University of Sussex. Since completing her doctorate on the topic of children's problems in reading comprehension, she has worked on various research projects--including deductive reasoning in children and adults, circadian variations in human performance, and adult language comprehension--but has always maintained a research interest in children's reading comprehension, particularly individual differences. Dr. Oakhill has published widely on children's reading comprehension. In 1991 she received the British Psychological Society's Spearman Medal; she was elected to a Fellowship of the Society in 2005.

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