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The Relations Between Children's Comprehension Monitoring and Their Reading Comprehension and Vocabulary Knowledge: An Eye-Movement Study.

  • Author(s): Zargar, Elham
  • Adams, Ashley
  • Connor, Carol McDonald
  • et al.

Poor reading comprehension may be due to having ineffective comprehension monitoring, the metacognitive process of evaluating and regulating comprehension. When comprehension breaks down due to an inconsistency either at the word-level (e.g., due to an unfamiliar word) or at the sentence-level (e.g., due to contradictory information), readers may identify the misunderstanding and take steps to regulate their comprehension. In the current study, we utilized two eye-movement tasks (one newly developed) to examine comprehension monitoring in third through fifth grade students (n = 123), when confronted with word- and sentence-level inconsistencies, by measuring the amount of time they read (gaze duration) and reread the target inconsistent words. We investigated how this skill may be associated with individual differences in age, reading comprehension ability, and vocabulary knowledge. The results showed that generally, all students detected the word-level inconsistencies, indicated by longer gaze durations, and attempted to regulate their comprehension after detecting both word- and sentence-level inconsistencies, as indicated by more time spent rereading. Students with stronger reading comprehension (when controlling for their vocabulary), and stronger vocabulary knowledge (when controlling for their reading comprehension) were more likely to attempt regulating their comprehension. In general, the difference between the control words and the inconsistent words was smaller for third graders and larger for fourth and fifth graders, which we argue indicates greater levels of comprehension monitoring - specifically employing repair strategies. With eye-tracking technology becoming more accessible, these tasks may be useful in assessing children's reading processes to better understand at which level of comprehension monitoring they may be struggling, which in return will allow us to develop more individualized instruction for all readers.

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