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Comprehension Monitoring: The Metacognitive Process of Reading Comprehension Examined via Eye-Movement Methodology

  • Author(s): Zargar, Elham
  • Advisor(s): Jaeggi, Susanne
  • et al.
Creative Commons 'BY-NC-ND' version 4.0 license

While reading comprehension plays an essential role in students’ academic success and future workforce, many students in the elementary school fail to successfully understand what they read. Thus, it is important to better understand the underlying processes of this complex activity and work towards creating more effective literacy interventions. One of the underlying processes of reading comprehension that many students find challenging is the metacognitive process of comprehension monitoring. Comprehension monitoring is the skills and strategies used to evaluate and regulate comprehension while reading. Through three studies, this dissertation aimed to examine third through fifth grade students’ comprehension monitoring skills and reading behavior utilizing eye-movement methodology. More specifically, this dissertation investigated how students comprehension monitoring may be related to their general reading comprehension and vocabulary knowledge, how individual differences in behavioral inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity may be related to comprehension monitoring skills, and whether and to what extent students comprehension monitoring skills, in addition to their word knowledge, word knowledge calibration, and strategy use, may be improved after participating in the Word Knowledge e-Book (WKe-Book) intervention. The results demonstrated that students with stronger reading comprehension, and stronger vocabulary knowledge were generally more likely to attempt regulating their comprehension, and older students showed greater levels of comprehension monitoring – specifically employing repair strategies. Moreover, the findings elucidated that the students with higher levels of hyperactivity/impulsivity were less likely to regulate their comprehension after being confronted with sentence-level inconsistencies, which suggests that these students may be less likely to adopt strategic reading standards or engage in employing repair strategies. Finally, the results suggested that while participating in the WKe-Book intervention supported gains in word knowledge and word knowledge calibration, there was no evidence found for improvements in students’ strategy use and comprehension monitoring skills. The findings from this dissertation have important educational implications for developing literacy curriculum. With the use of eye-tracking technology, it is possible to assess young readers’ reading processes in a precise manner to better understand at which level of comprehension monitoring they may be struggling. This will in return allow for developing more effective individualized instruction for all readers, especially for those with mild difficulties which may go unnoticed. Improving the complex metacognitive skill of comprehension monitoring may require longer interventions, explicit teaching of repair strategies, and scaffolding students to actively and consciously evaluate and regulate their comprehension.

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