Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal 11: 29–63, 1999.
1999 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.
Processing of anaphoric devices in young skilled and less skilled
comprehenders: Differences in metacognitive monitoring
, MARTINE REMOND
e Descartes, CNRS, Paris;
Institut National de Recherche
edagogique, Paris, France
Abstract. This experiment investigated metacognitive monitoring in the processing of
anaphors in 10-year-old skilled and less skilled comprehenders. Two tasks were used with
expository texts. The direct self-evaluation task was carried out with consistent texts in which
target anaphors were either repeated noun phrases or pronouns. Subjects had to read and
to evaluate their own comprehension on a 6-point scale. After reading, subjects answered
multiple-choice questions designed to test the processing of anaphors. In the inconsistency
detection task, target anaphors were either repeated noun phrases or inconsistent noun phrases.
Subjects had to read and detect inconsistencies. After reading, they answered multiple-choice
questions. In both tasks, on-line measures (reading times for units containing target anaphors
and for subsequent units, and look-backs) were collected in addition to off-line measures
(ratings of comprehension, detection of inconsistencies and response to multiple-choice ques-
tions) in order to analyse indicators of implicit and explicit evaluation and revision activities.
The results from the two tasks converged: less skilled comprehenders showed deﬁciencies in
monitoring on measures of implicit and explicit evaluation and revision. Patterns of reading
times revealed that less skilled comprehenders were sensitive to the difﬁculties in processing
pronouns in the self-evaluation task and also sensitive to the lack of text cohesion in the
inconsistency detection task. However, this sensitivity was weak and unable to trigger explicit
activities. These results were interpreted in the framework of Karmiloff-Smith’s (1986) model.
Key words: Anaphor processing, Developmental psycholinguistics, Metacognition, Metalin-
guistics, Reading comprehension, Reading skills
From a cognitive view, understanding a written text involves processes deal-
ing with units at three levels: phonological recoding and lexical access at
the word level, syntactic parsing and semantic integration at the sentence
level and establishing both the local and global organization of the whole
text. The end-product of these processes is a coherent mental representation
of the text content. Children differ widely in their reading comprehension
efﬁciency. Many studies have attempted to identify the source of these dif-
ferences (see Carr 1981; Perfetti 1985, 1994). Studies examining multiple