Individual differences in the comprehension monitoring skills of struggling adult readers

Individual differences in the comprehension monitoring skills of struggling adult readers

First Author: Gal Kaldes -- Georgia State University
Additional authors/chairs: 
Elizabeth L. Tighe; Amani Talwar
Keywords: Eye-tracking, Comprehension Monitoring, Adults With Low Literacy Skill, Reading comprehension, Eye movements
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose: Comprehension monitoring (CM), the ability to monitor one's reading, predicts reading comprehension of children; however, little is known about CM of struggling adult readers. The current study examined predictors of comprehension monitoring amongst a subset of struggling adult readers. Specifically, we examined whether eye-movements (number of re-read fixations), reading comprehension, and working memory predict CM scores.

Methods: The current study included 71 native English-speaking adult literacy students. We adapted the CM task from a previous study (Wassenburg et al., 2015) for use with adults. Participants read 16 passages with a target sentence that was either consistent or inconsistent with the previous sentence (context sentence). An eye-tracker recorded the number of re-read fixations in context sentence. Participants verbally explained why or why not the passage made sense. We rated responses on a scale of 0-3 to capture the range in accuracy of the participants’ responses.

Results: We used a multi-level modeling approach with an ordinal outcome to examine the relation between re-read fixations and the CM accuracy scale. At level 1, the final model included re-read fixations (context sentence), passage type (consistent or inconsistent), and item-level passage comprehension. At level two, the final model included age, passage comprehension, and working memory (measured with the Woodcock-Johnson IV). An interaction between re-read fixations and WJ passage comprehension predicted CM. Participants who scored lower on reading comprehension scored significantly lower on CM, but if they demonstrated fewer re-read fixations.

Conclusion: The results suggest similar to children, reading comprehension is important to the CM of struggling adult readers. Furthermore, eye-tacking allows us to differentiate the unique effect of text processing on CM amongst individuals of various reading comprehension abilities within the same sample.