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The influence of connectives on young readers' processing and comprehension of text.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date05/2011
JournalJournal of Educational Psychology
Journal number2
Volume103
Number of pages13
Pages429-441
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Connectives are cohesive devices that signal the relations between clauses and are critical to the construction of a coherent representation of a text's meaning. The authors investigated young readers' knowledge, processing, and comprehension of temporal, causal, and adversative connectives using offline and online tasks. In a doze task, 10-year-olds were more accurate than 8-year-olds on temporal and adversative connectives, but both age groups differed from adult levels of performance (Experiment 1). When required to rate the "sense" of 2-clause sentences linked by connectives, 10-year-olds and adults were better at discriminating between clauses linked by appropriate and inappropriate connectives than were 8-year-olds. The 10-year-olds differed from adults only on the temporal connectives (Experiment 2). In contrast, online reading time measures indicated that 8-year-olds' processing of text is influenced by connectives as they read, in much the same way as 10-year-olds'. Both age groups read text more quickly when target 2-clause sentences were linked by an appropriate connective compared with texts in which a connective was neutral (and), inappropriate to the meaning conveyed by the 2 clauses, or not present (Experiments 3 and 4). These findings indicate that although knowledge and comprehension of connectives is still developing in young readers, connectives aid text processing in typically developing readers.