Comprehension monitoring in grade 6: the influence of text and reader characteristics

Comprehension monitoring in grade 6: the influence of text and reader characteristics

First Author: Kate Cain -- Lancaster University
Additional authors/chairs: 
Nicola Currie; Rob Davies; Shelley Gray; Mindy Bridges; Laida Restrepo; Marilyn Thompson
Keywords: Comprehension Monitoring, Bilingualism, reading strategies, Reading speed, expository vs narrative texts
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose: Comprehension monitoring is central to children’s reading comprehension. Most studies of children’s comprehension monitoring have used narrative texts with monolingual readers. We contrasted grade 6 monolingual and bilingual readers’ ability to monitor their understanding of narrative and expository texts. Expository texts place greater demands on the reader due to greater structural complexity, information density and knowledge demands.

Method: 85 monolingual English speaking children and 92 children who entered pre-kindergarten as Spanish speakers participated when they were in grade 6. They read short texts, sentence by sentence, that were either fully consistent or contained two sentences with contradictory information (inconsistent text). The memory load was manipulated for the inconsistent texts with the critical lines either separated by a single sentence (near condition) or 3-4 sentences (far). Children read texts in each of the three conditions for two different genres: narrative and expository. Reading times for critical sentences and accuracy to a ‘sense’ question were recorded.

Results: Linear mixed effects models were conducted treating participants and materials as random effects. Reading times were longer for the inconsistent sentences relative to comparator sentences and this effect was stronger for narrative than for expository texts. Monolingual readers read more quickly than bilinguals. A similar pattern of findings emerged for the accuracy data. The relation between task performance and decoding skill and reading strategy knowledge will also be reported.

Conclusions: Grade 6 children monitor their comprehension as they read, but are less likely to detect deliberate textual inconsistencies in expository than in narrative text.