Going beyond children’s single-text comprehension:The role of fundamental and higher–level skills in 4th graders’ multiple-document comprehension

Florit, Elena and Cain, Kate and Mason, Lucia (2019) Going beyond children’s single-text comprehension:The role of fundamental and higher–level skills in 4th graders’ multiple-document comprehension. British Journal of Educational Psychology. ISSN 0007-0998

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Background. Primary school children’s comprehension of single texts relies on both foundational and higher-level skills. These are also assumed to support multiple-document comprehension, but their relative importance has not been examined, to date. Multiple-document comprehension additionally requires the identification and use of information about each document’s source. Aims. This study examined multiple-document comprehension in primary school-aged children. It sought to determine the relative importance of skills proposed to be common to both single- and multiple-document comprehension (word reading fluency, verbal working memory, comprehension monitoring) and specific to the latter (source use). Single-text comprehension and prior topic knowledge were considered as moderator and control, respectively. Sample. Participants were 94 children in the fourth year (mean age = 9;7 years; 52% females). Methods. Children read three documents on each of two topics (chocolate and videogames). Multiple-text comprehension and source use were assessed using through composition. Independent measures of the foundational and higher-level skills were taken. Results. There was a significant direct and indirect influence of word reading fluency on multiple-document comprehension and also an indirect influence of comprehension monitoring. However, these effects were apparent only for the topic of videogames, but not chocolate. Verbal working memory was not a unique predictors. When source information was identified, it was included to support the argument in the composition. Conclusions. This study is the first to demonstrate the importance of efficient word reading and comprehension monitoring for multiple-document comprehension in young readers. Theoretical and educational implications of these findings are discussed.

Item Type:
Journal Article
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British Journal of Educational Psychology
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This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Florit, E. , Cain, K. and Mason, L. (2019), Going beyond children's single‐text comprehension: The role of fundamental and higher‐level skills in 4th graders’ multiple‐document comprehension. Br J Educ Psychol. doi:10.1111/bjep.12288 which has been published in final form at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/bjep.12288 This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
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15 Apr 2019 11:15
Last Modified:
07 Apr 2020 06:09