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

Janet Tilstra, Kristen L. McMaster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-74
Number of pages9
JournalLearning and Individual Differences
StatePublished - Dec 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by grants through the University of Minnesota Center for Reading Research and the University of Minnesota Graduate School . Special thanks to the children who participated in this project and the teachers who assisted in the development of texts and project implementation. We are grateful for a dedicated team of research assistants, Anna Broadbent, Michelle Flicker, Katie Whitcomb, and Heather Westling, who conducted sessions, scored assessments, and analyzed data. Many thanks to the reviewers who provided helpful feedback in the manuscript preparation.


  • Cognitive processes
  • Comprehension-building
  • Expository text
  • Reading
  • Struggling readers
  • Think alouds


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