Cognitive processes of middle grade readers when reading expository text with an assigned goal

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Educational Psychology


The purpose of this study was to examine 5th-grade readers' cognitive processes during reading when assigned to read for a specific goal as compared to reading for general comprehension. Equal groups of good and struggling readers (N = 40) read expository texts and thought aloud while reading. In addition, the readers completed a text retell to examine the impact of an assigned goal on comprehension. During reading in the specific goal condition, both groups of readers used more study statements (monitoring, repetitions, and paraphrases) and fewer inferences (elaborative, predictive, and text-based) when thinking aloud compared with general comprehension. No reliable condition differences were noted in the amount or type of information included in retells. Implications for developing readers' comprehension-building processes when assigned a goal for reading are discussed.