Journal Article

Children's Difficulties in Text Comprehension: Assessing Causal Issues

Jane Oakhill and Kate Cain

in The Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education

Volume 5, issue 1, pages 51-59
Published in print January 2000 | ISSN: 1081-4159
Published online January 2000 | e-ISSN: 1465-7325 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/deafed/5.1.51
Children's Difficulties in Text Comprehension: Assessing Causal
 Issues

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In this article we consider the difficulties of children who have a specific reading comprehension problem. Our earlier work has shown that good and poor comprehenders differ, in particular, in their ability to make inferences, integrate information in text, understand story structure, and monitor their understanding. We outline some studies that illustrate the poor comprehenders' problems and present two studies that use a comprehension-age match design to explore the direction of causality between comprehension skill and other abilities. We also present data from the first and second stages of a longitudinal study, when the children were 7 to 8 and 8 to 9 years old. Multiple regression analyses show that a number of factors predict significant variance in comprehension skill even after “general ability” factors such as IQ and vocabulary have been taken into account. These findings suggest that, not only can children have comprehension problems in the absence of word recognition problems, but that distinctly different skills predict variance in word recognition and variance in comprehension. The data support the view that single-word reading skills and the ability to build integrated text representations make independent contributions to overall reading ability. We discuss the implications of these findings for our understanding of children's problems in text comprehension, for deaf readers, and for remediation.

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Subjects: Education ; Linguistics ; Teaching of Specific Groups and Special Educational Needs

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