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Making sense of text: Skills that support text comprehension and its development

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Making'Sense'of'Text:''
Skills'that'Support'Text'Comprehension'and'Its'Development'
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... Approximately 10% of primary school-aged children have unexpectedly poor reading and listening comprehension relative to age-appropriate word-reading skills (Cain 2009). These children are often overlooked within their classroom environment due to their adequate ability to read aloud single words and sentences (Nation et al. 2004). ...
... This distinction between global and local coherence inferences has also been adopted in other studies with children (e.g. Cain andOakhill 2014, Currie andCain 2015) and adults (e.g. Long et al. 1994, Long andChong 2001) and these have previously been referred to as gap-filling and text-connecting/bridging inferences respectively (Cain and Oakhill 1999, Graesser et al. 1994, Baker and Stein 1981. ...
... Children with poor reading and language comprehension have problems with inference-making (Cain andOakhill 1999, Bishop andAdams 1992). A central priority for the diagnosis of comprehension difficulties and our understanding of why these difficulties arise is the development of valid assessment instruments. ...
Article
Background Reading and listening comprehension are essential for accessing the school curriculum. Inference-making is integral to successful comprehension and involves integrating information between clauses (local coherence) and integrating information with background knowledge (global coherence). We require appropriate methods to assess comprehension and inference-making in order to identify areas of difficulty and provide appropriate support. Aims Typically developing children's ability to generate local and global coherence inferences was assessed. The effect of text modality (reading and listening comprehension) and presentation format (stories presented in segmented and whole story format) was explored using two comprehension measures (question answering and story retell). The main aims were to determine whether there were advantages for reading or listening comprehension and for segmented or whole text presentation. Methods & Procedures Typically developing children in Year 3 (n = 33) and Year 5 (n = 40) either read or listened to short stories. Their ability to generate global and local coherence inferences was assessed in two ways: answers to inference-tapping questions and story retelling (scored for inclusion of necessary inferences). Stories were presented in either a whole format (all questions after the story) or a segmented format (questions asked at specific points during story presentation); the retelling was always after the complete story and questions had been presented. Outcomes & Results For both comprehension measures, there was developmental progression between age groups and a benefit for the reading modality. Scores were higher for global coherence than local coherence inferences, but the effect was significant only for the question-answering responses, not retells. For retells there was a benefit in presenting the text as a whole compared with the segmented format, but this effect was not present for the comprehension questions. There was a significant interaction between inference type and modality for both comprehension measures (question answering and story retell): for the local coherence inferences scores were significantly greater in the reading compared with the listening modality, but performance on the global coherence inferences did not differ significantly between modalities. Conclusions & Implications Clinicians, teachers and other professionals should consider the modality and presentation format for comprehension tasks to utilize areas of strength and support areas of difficulty. Oral presentation may result in poorer comprehension relative to written presentation in general, and may particularly affect local integrative processing. These findings have important implications for the development of appropriate assessments as well as for supporting children with comprehension difficulties. What this paper adds What is already known on the subject Reading and listening comprehension are critical for accessing the school curriculum and educational success. Inference-making is integral to successful comprehension and involves integrating information between clauses (local coherence) as well as integrating information with background knowledge (global coherence). Children have an awareness of the need to generate coherence inferences, but not all children will generate sufficient coherence inferences for adequate comprehension during text presentation. Existing assessment tools measure comprehension by asking questions after story presentation. This provides an overall indication of comprehension or inference-making ability and can identify children with comprehension or language and communication difficulties. What this paper adds to existing knowledge The study compared coherence inference-making in two presentation conditions: whole format (all questions after the story) or segmented format (questions asked at specific points during story presentation). Children (aged 7–10 years) were assessed in the reading or listening modality. Two comprehension measures were used (inference-tapping questions and story retell). There was developmental progression and a benefit for the reading modality for both comprehension measures. Scores were higher for global coherence than local coherence inferences for the comprehension questions. There was a benefit in presenting the text as a whole compared with the segmented format for story retells. What are the potential or actual clinical implications of this work? The results are important for clinicians and other professionals assessing and supporting comprehension skills. The results suggest that the modality and presentation format of comprehension tasks should be considered to utilize areas of strength and support areas of difficulty. The optimum form of input and structure may depend on a child's individual profile and the skill being assessed or supported. Targeted questions may identify a child's potential to generate an inference. This may assist identification of children who may require more targeted or specialist intervention. The reading modality may provide a means of support for development of verbal comprehension.
... Literacy and lexico-semantic skills are strictly interconnected (Cain, 2006(Cain, , 2009Cain & Oakhill, 2011;Duff et al., 2015;Perfetti & Hart, 2002;Protopapas et al., 2013;Stafura & Perfetti, 2017;Taylor & Perfetti, 2016). However, although measures of vocabulary knowledge have been used in numerous studies on people with dyslexia, specific interest in the impact of the condition on these specific areas of language is still relatively new. ...
... Understanding a text, however, is a complex operation, involving more than just phonological skills. It requires access to word meanings, command of grammar, and efficient higher-level processing skills, such as the ability to successfully integrate information and to draw inferences (Cain, 2009;Snowling & Hulme, 2012). Vocabulary and semantics play a central role in most operations connected with reading and reading comprehension (Perfetti & Stafura, 2014;Protopapas et al., 2013;Verhoeven & van Leeuwe, 2008). ...
... There is no denying that reading habits and reading comprehension contribute to vocabulary growth and to semantic abilities (Cain, 2006(Cain, , 2009Cain & Oakhill, 2011;Duff et al., 2015;Yeari, 2017). Cain and Oakhill (2011) have demonstrated that the effect is confirmed over and above general cognitive skills. ...
Chapter
In Chapter 9, ‘The Impact of Dyslexia on Lexico-Semantic Abilities’, Gloria Cappelli presents an overview of the research on the impact of dyslexia on the lexico-semantic level of the linguistic system. Research has reached inconsistent conclusions. Most studies seem to converge on reduced vocabulary knowledge, with a gap between dyslexic and typically developing children emerging or becoming more evident at school-entry age, and progressively widening over the years. On the other hand, a few others have refuted disparities in vocabulary in well- compensated adult dyslexics (e.g. university students). Overall, most studies agree that, at a behavioural level, people with dyslexia have intact semantic abilities, which they rely on to compensate for their deficient phonology, although different conclusions have been reached by recent studies on non-alphabetical languages. Neuroimaging and electrophysiological explorations have also found differences in brain functioning during semantic processing, which points to a mismatch between the neural and behavioural manifestations of dyslexia in semantic tasks. Possible causes for and implications of differences in the lexico-semantic profile of people with dyslexia are discussed.
... Frameworks parse reading into components (e.g., word reading, reading fluency, reading comprehension), and can include associated constructs important for contextualizing reading ability (e.g., working memory, attention, rapid naming, phonological processing, language). Broader language and cognitive skills are emphasized, in addition to reading skills, in theoretical models such as: multicomponent view of reading (Cain, 2009;Perfetti et al., 2005), componential model of reading (Joshi & Aaron, 2012), simple view of reading (Gough & Tunmer, 1986), direct and indirect effects model of reading (Kim, 2020). ...
... While a majority of practitioners directly assess reading skills, fewer reported also assessing the important broader language and cognitive components that underlie reading as these are commonly measured by other practitioners. Language and cognitive skills are equally important to assess in line with the componential model of reading (Joshi & Aaron, 2012), multicomponent view of reading (Cain, 2009;Perfetti et al., 2005), and the simple view of reading (Gough & Tunmer, 1986). While such models focus on specific aspects of or contributors to reading, integration amongst cognitive, language, and reading skills is critical to acquire a comprehensive and thorough picture of the underlying nature of an individual's reading difficulties (Kim, 2020;Vellutino et al., 2007). ...
Article
Accurate and timely identification of reading disabilities (RDs) is essential for providing appropriate and effective remediation for struggling readers. However, practices for identifying RDs lack sufficient documentation within and across educational and clinical settings. The wide range of possible practices intended to identify struggling readers can render the field vulnerable to inconsistencies in how the needs of struggling readers are recognized and supported. To better understand the range of current practices used to identify RDs in school-age children, we created and disseminated a survey nationally, and analyzed data from 965 practitioners. The findings indicate lengthy timelines to identify RDs; substantial variability in the composition of assessment teams, identification criteria, and diagnostic labels; and notable opportunities for enhancing practitioner training experiences. This study aims to promote cross-contextual dialogue about the identification of RDs and their implications for students’ educational experiences.
... Frameworks parse reading into components (e.g., word reading, reading fluency, reading comprehension), and can include associated constructs important for contextualizing reading ability (e.g., working memory, attention, rapid naming, phonological processing, language). Broader language and cognitive skills are emphasized, in addition to reading skills, in theoretical models such as: multicomponent view of reading (Cain, 2009;Perfetti et al., 2005), componential model of reading (Joshi & Aaron, 2012), simple view of reading (Gough & Tunmer, 1986), direct and indirect effects model of reading (Kim, 2020). ...
... While a majority of practitioners directly assess reading skills, fewer reported also assessing the important broader language and cognitive components that underlie reading as these are commonly measured by other practitioners. Language and cognitive skills are equally important to assess in line with the componential model of reading (Joshi & Aaron, 2012), multicomponent view of reading (Cain, 2009;Perfetti et al., 2005), and the simple view of reading (Gough & Tunmer, 1986). While such models focus on specific aspects of or contributors to reading, integration amongst cognitive, language, and reading skills is critical to acquire a comprehensive and thorough picture of the underlying nature of an individual's reading difficulties (Kim, 2020;Vellutino et al., 2007). ...
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Accurate and timely identification of reading disabilities (RDs) is essential for providing appropriate and effective remediation for struggling readers. However, practices for identifying RDs lack sufficient documentation within and across educational and clinical settings. The wide range of possible practices intended to identify struggling readers can render the field vulnerable to inconsistencies in how the needs of struggling readers are recognized and supported. To better understand the range of current practices used to identify RDs in school-age children, we created and disseminated a survey nationally, and analyzed data from 965 practitioners. The findings indicate lengthy timelines to identify RDs; substantial variability in the composition of assessment teams, identification criteria, and diagnostic labels; and notable opportunities for enhancing practitioner training experiences. This study aims to promote cross-contextual dialogue about the identification of RDs and their implications for students’ educational experiences.
... Taken together, STC involves several cognitive activities and strategies, such as establishing local and global coherence relations, drawing knowledge-based inferences (e.g., Graesser et al., 1994;Oakhill et al., 2003), monitoring the plausibility of the text (Isberner and Richter, 2014) and monitoring the comprehension process itself (Cain, 2009). ...
... This model characterized reading as an iterative and contextdependent process by which readers integrate information from a text (Compton and Pearson, 2016). In contrast, theorists of component models have pointed out that some important language knowledge, cognitive processes, and reading strategies make relatively independent contributions to reading comprehension (Cain et al., 2004;Cain, 2009). These models indicate that subcomponents of reading, including but not limited to vocabulary, syntax, morphology, semantics, inference, reasoning, discourse comprehension, working memory, and comprehension monitoring, are strong and persistent predictors for readers from children to adults (Aaron et al., 2008;Kim, 2017). ...
Article
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Cognitive diagnostic assessment (CDA) has been developed rapidly to provide fine-grained diagnostic feedback on students’ subskills and to provide insights on remedial instructions in specific domains. To date, most cognitive diagnostic studies on reading tests have focused on retrofitting a single booklet from a large-scale assessment (e.g., PISA and PIRLS). Critical issues in CDA involve the scarcity of research to develop diagnostic tests and the lack of reliability and validity evidence. This study explored the development and validation of the Diagnostic Chinese Reading Comprehension Assessment (DCRCA) for primary students under the CDA framework. Reading attributes were synthesized based on a literature review, the national curriculum criteria, the results of expert panel judgments, and student think-aloud protocols. Then, the tentative attributes were used to construct three booklets of reading comprehension items for 2–6 graders at three key stages. The assessment was administered to a large population of students ( N = 21,466) in grades 2–6 from 20 schools in a district of Changchun City, China. Q-matrices were compared and refined using the model-data fit and an empirical validation procedure, and five representative cognitive diagnostic models (CDMs) were compared for optimal performance. The fit indices suggested that a six-attribute structure and the G-DINA model were best fitted for the reading comprehension assessment. In addition, diagnostic reliability, construct, internal and external validity results were provided, supporting CDM classifications as reliable, accurate, and useful. Such diagnostic information could be utilized by students, teachers, and administrators of reading programs and instructions.
... Reading is a complex process requiring the reader to integrate, coordinate, and execute multiple skills and processes in order to extract meaning from text (Cain et al., 2004;Cain, 2009;. While the ability to accurately and efficiently read words does not ensure comprehension will occur, word reading proficiency is a necessary component of this complex process, as evidenced by its role as a key predictor of reading comprehension ability (Cain et al., 2004;Castles et al., 2018;Denton & Al Otaiba, 2011;Kang & Shin, 2019). ...
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This study describes the development of a special education teacher observation protocol detailing the elements of effective decoding instruction. The psychometric properties of the protocol were investigated through many-facet Rasch measurement (MFRM). Video observations of classroom decoding instruction from 20 special education teachers across three states were collected. Twelve external raters were trained to observe and evaluate instruction using the protocol and assigned scores of “implemented,” “partially implemented,” or “not implemented” for each of the items. Analyses showed that the item, teacher, lesson, and rater facets achieved high levels of reliability. Teacher performance was consistent with what is reported in the literature. Implications for practice are discussed.
... As a text unfolds and new information is integrated, readers employ their comprehension monitoring skills to constantly evaluate and regulate their understanding. Cain (2009) contended that children with strong reading comprehension skills can monitor their comprehension more effectively and are able to identify novel or contradictory information and incorporate it in order to build a situation model. By monitoring their understanding of words and sentences, readers evaluate their propositions and integrate their understanding of word knowledge and usage (Kinnunen et al., 1998). ...
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This study examined the direct and indirect relations of foundational language skills (vocabulary, syntactic knowledge, and orthographic knowledge), higher-order cognitive skills (inference making and comprehension monitoring), and word reading to reading comprehension in Chinese. Consistent with the hierarchical relations specified in the Direct and Indirect Effect Model of Reading (DIER, Kim, Journal of Educational Psychology, 112(4):667–684, 2020a; Journal of Learning Disabilities, 2020b), the foundational language skills are considered as lower level skills, and the higher-order cognitive skills and word reading are considered as upper level skills in this study. Participants were 164 Chinese (Mandarin)-speaking third graders. Results revealed that syntactic knowledge, orthographic knowledge, inference making, comprehension monitoring, and word reading made direct contributions to reading comprehension. In addition, syntactic knowledge contributed indirectly to reading comprehension via inference making, comprehension monitoring, and word reading. Orthographic knowledge also contributed indirectly to reading comprehension via comprehension monitoring. Language skills, higher-order cognitive skills, and word reading explained 72% of variances in reading comprehension. The findings highlight both the direct and indirect pathways and effects of various language and higher-order cognitive skills on reading comprehension in Chinese.
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Introduction The goal of the present study was to investigate the association of anxiety disorder and brain activation while reading stories whose outcomes show protagonists experiencing emotions. Methods We carried out an fMRI study of 28 adolescents and young adults (14–22 years; 14 Anxiety Disorder Participants and 14 Controls) who read short narratives with angry, happy, sad, or neutral. outcomes We used mixed analyses of variance to test the effects of Group (anxiety/comparison), Emotion (angry/happy/sad, neutral) and Group by Emotion interaction. Results A significant Group by Emotion interaction was identified in a thalamic-region cluster of brain activation. Participants with anxiety disorders showed significantly less thalamic activation relative to controls. The interaction was identified by contrasting emotional vs. neutral passages. There was also a main effect of emotional passages versus neutral passages in a network of anterior and posterior areas of the brain, which included mid and superior temporal, left inferior frontal, left inferior parietal and dorsomedial prefrontal areas, some of which are among brain regions identified in studies of understanding the mind of a protagonist. Finally, we did not find a main effect of Group. The results suggest that anxiety in adolescents and young adults is associated with modulating activation of thalamic regions when processing emotions of fictional characters. The thalamic cluster identified in the present study corroborates previous studies that have addressed brain activation associated with anxiety.
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Objective Following hemispherectomy surgery, children’s educational outcomes are of great importance but are understudied. The study goal was to investigate reading, language, and nonverbal cognitive skills in children obligatorily relying on a left versus right hemisphere using a cross-sectional design. Methods Participants (ages 6–18) who had undergone left hemispherectomy (LH; n = 10) or right hemispherectomy (RH; n = 14) completed standardized measures of reading, language, and nonverbal cognition. Results LH and RH groups were balanced for socioeconomic status, sex, and age. Both groups scored below the population mean across standardized measures (RH: −0.79 to −1.95 SDs; LH: −0.97 to −2.32 SDs). Compared to the LH group, the group retaining a functional left hemisphere (RH group) learned to read sooner (p = .011) despite no significant differences for surgery age, and scored higher on untimed real word and pseudoword reading measures (p < .05). Effect sizes were medium (r = 0.34–0.46) for the LH and RH comparison on measures of phonological awareness and both untimed and timed word and pseudoword reading. In examining the association between clinical variables and reading-related outcomes, younger age of post-hemispherectomy reading acquisition and shorter duration between seizure onset and hemispherectomy surgery were associated with higher standardized reading and language test scores (p < .05). Significance Investigations of psychoeducational skills in reading, language, and nonverbal cognition among children who have undergone hemispherectomy can offer important insights into compensatory potential for left and right hemispheres as well as inform educational programming for children following medical stabilization.
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