This study explored pronominal resolution as a measure of reading comprehension beyond single sentences. Specifically, it was hypothesized that the ability to specify the referents of pronouns like this and these that have variable antecedents would be a good probe of the quality of the reader’s mental model. This idea was tested in a study of 123 French eight-year-olds. After controlling for word decoding, vocabulary and syntactic knowledge, various aspects of pronominal comprehension were found to contribute independent variance to reading comprehension: (1) pronominal knowledge as measured in a pronoun selection task, (2) referent specification of pronouns that refer to protagonists. In addition, (3) referent specification of pronouns (French y and en) with variable antecedents added further independent variance. The results support the idea that the ability to specify referents accounts for unique variance in reading comprehension and may tap the quality of the reader’s mental model of preceding text.
Reading and Writing – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 10, 2016
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