Preparing for reading comprehension: Fostering text comprehension skills in preschool and early elementary school children

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Paul van den Brook Panayiota Kendeou Sandra Lousberg Gootje Visser


To understand what they read or hear, children and adults must create a coherent mental
representation of presented information. Recent research suggests that the ability to do so starts to
develop early –well before reading age- and that early individual differences are predictive of later
reading-comprehension performance. In this paper, we review this research and discuss potential
applications to early intervention. We then present two exploratory studies in which we examine
whether it is feasible to design interventions with early readers (3rd grade) and even toddlers (2-3 years
old). The interventions employed causal questioning techniques as children listen to orally presented,
age-appropriate narratives. Afterwards, comprehension was tested through question answering and
recall tasks. Results indicate that such interventions are indeed feasible. Moreover, they suggest that
for both toddlers and early readers questions during comprehension are more effective than questions
after comprehension. Finally, for both groups higher working memory capacity was related to better


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How to Cite
BROOK, Paul van den et al. Preparing for reading comprehension: Fostering text comprehension skills in preschool and early elementary school children. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, [S.l.], v. 4, n. 1, p. 259-268, aug. 2017. ISSN 1307-9298. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 29 oct. 2020.


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