Text comprehension in children with typical development: contribution of individual skills and home-literacy practices

The focus of this research area is the identification of individual and contextual factors related to listening and reading text comprehension in preschool and school age children. The individual factors include linguistic skills (such as vocabulary knowledge), higher-level skills (such as inferential and integrative skills) and cognitive skills (memory skills) (Florit, Roch, Levorato, 2014; Silva & Cain, 214). The contextual factors include home literacy practices and SES (Sénéchal & LeFevre, 2014).The aims are to (1) analyse the longitudinal contribution of individual and contextual factors to listening and reading text comprehension (2) analyse the nature of the relationship (i.e., direct or indirect) between both factors and text comprehension.

Main results to date

Results of the longitudinal investigation on preschoolers showed that vocabulary knowledge and inferential and integrative skills accounted for later text listening comprehension. These findings showed that listening comprehension in preschoolers is based on the same relevant components that have been shown to underpin reading comprehension, even though, the relative importance of linguistic and higher level components seem to change with age. Results of the longitudinal investigation on school age children (first year) showed the relevant and direct contribution of vocabulary knowledge and inference skills, in addition to previous listening text comprehension, to reading comprehension. Also, home literacy practices contribute to later reading comprehension directly. Overall, these findings support the importance of both individual and contextual factors, which are in place from preschool, to support text comprehension development.

Selected Publications

Florit, E., Roch, M., & Levorato, M. C. (2014). Listening text comprehension in preschoolers: a longitudinal study on the role of semantic components. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 27, 793-817. doi:10.1007/s11145-013-9464-1.

Florit, E., Roch, M., & Levorato, M.C. (2013). The Relationship Between Listening Comprehension of Text and Sentences in Preschoolers: Specific or Mediated by Lower- and Higher-Level Components? Applied Psycholinguistics, 34(2), 395-415. Doi: 10.1017/S0142716411000749.

Florit, E., Roch, M., & Levorato, M.C. (2011). Listening Text Comprehension of Explicit and Implicit Information in Preschoolers: The Role of Verbal and Inferential Skills, Discourse Processes, 48, 1-20. I.F. 0.95