The ability to integrate information that is separated within a text, such as connecting a character’s action to a goal stated earlier in the text, is a critical factor in narrative comprehension. In the present study, we analyze the ability of 9- and 11-year olds to integrate such information. In addition, we examined the effect of illustrations on integration process by using on-line comprehension measures. Participants read narratives that conveyed a character’s goal early in the text, and an action was described later on that was either consistent or inconsistent with the goal. Narratives were presented either with an illustration that mirrored the situation described in the goal, or without an illustration. The results show that 11-year-olds spent more time on the inconsistent actions than on the consistent actions; in addition, 9-year-olds detected the inconsistency when illustrations were provided. An additional finding was that working memory moderated children’s ability to connect actions and goals. These results suggest that children as young as 9 years form connections between characters’ actions and their goals during text processing, although they need an illustration to keep the goal information activated to detect the inconsistency. Illustrations’ effectiveness was interpreted in terms of extra processing of the characters’ goal.
Reading and Writing – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 26, 2013
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