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Title: The interactions between decoding and comprehension in reading processes and the implications for reading comprehension disorders
Author: Haenen , Jonathan William
ISNI:       0000 0004 2726 687X
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2011
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Abstract Successful reading is frequently described as the result of two necessary but inde- pendent processes: text decodmg and ImgUIstlc comprehensIOn. SImIlarly, readmg comprehension disorders are defined across these two dimensions: those that relate to the failure to decode text adequately and those that relate to the failure to under- stand text adequately. The research presented in this thesis explores the possibility that decoding and comprehension abilities, though independent in isolated contexts, influence each other, when processed simultaneously, more than would otherwise be expected. There are two main aims in this thesis: to examine the plausibility of the idea of a coherent "specific comprehension deficit" and to assess the degree to which theories of reading hold up to empirical analysis. Studies of the cognitive components of reading were carried out with groups of typically developing children. Analysis of data collected in these studies is presen- ted and support this general hypothesis. Basic correlational analysis indicates that decoding and comprehension processes are more highly interrelated when measured simultaneously than when measured in isolation from the other. Two potential mech- anisms for this interaction are presented. First, it is shown that the ability to pay attention to two simultaneous tasks is an important predictor of reading compre- hension for children who struggle, relative to their peers, to decode text. Second, working memory is shown to be a shared resource between these two processes, based on data collected from young adults. Data collected from typically developing chil- dren suggests that an increase in effort in decoding text can lead to reduction in working memory, and that this can also result in a larger number of comprehension errors. Executive function is also examined, but data analyses do not indicate any special interaction between executive control required for decoding and comprehen- sion tasks. These results are discussed in relation to theoretical definitions of reading pro- cesses and practical classifications of reading disorders. We conclude that there is no single typical model of the reading process, concluding the first main aim of the thesis. Evidence of interactions between decoding and comprehension indicates the need for increased complexity and consideration when modelling reading processes. Additionally, with regards to the second aim, reading difficulties should be considered in relation to specific deficits in the numerous sub-components of the reading process, 7 I ~ •• ----------------------------------------- including their possible interaction, rather than across the two simplified dimensions. The results from the studies discussed in this thesis identify sub-group effects within "typical reading" profiles, provide evidence for a more complex interaction between decoding and comprehension processes, and are used to initiate a critique on the use of general terminology and oversimplified models in reading comprehension research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available