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Title: World Knowledge Driving Young Readers’ Comprehension Difficulties
Authors: McNamara, Danielle S.
Floyd, Randy G.
Best, Rachel
Louwerse, Max
Issue Date: Jun-2004
Publisher: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates
Citation: McNamara, D. S., Floyd, R. G., Best, R., & Louwerse, M. (2004). World Knowledge Driving Young Readers’ Comprehension Difficulties. In Kafai, Y. B., Sandoval, W. A., Enyedy, N., Nixon, A. S., & Herrera, F. (Eds.), International Conference of the Learning Sciences 2004: Embracing Diversity in the Learning Sciences (pp. 326-333). Santa Monica, CA: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Abstract: Our goal in this project is to develop a better understanding of young readers' difficulties in comprehending text, and how those difficulties vary as a function of reader aptitudes and text genre. Therefore, we examined the effects of reading decoding abilities and world knowledge (assessed using the WoodcockJohnson III Tests of Achievement) on 61 third-grade readers' comprehension of narrative and expository texts. The children read a narrative (445 words) and an expository (464 words) text. Comprehension of each text was assessed with 12 multiple-choice questions. Comprehension of the narrative text improved as a function of decoding ability. In contrast, expository text comprehension was driven by world knowledge. The latter result indicates that the low-knowledge children were not able to make the knowledge-based inferences required by the expository text, replicating previous work conducted with adult populations (e.g., McNamara, 2001). Potential solutions to facilitate comprehension from expository texts, such as increased text cohesion and reading strategy instruction are discussed.
Appears in Collections:ICLS 2004

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