Developing a reading comprehension intervention: Translating cognitive theory to educational practice

Kristen L McMaster, Paul van den Broek, Christine A. Espin, Viveca Pinto, Bonita Janda, Elizabeth Lam, Hui Chen Hsu, Pyung-Gang Jung, Amy Bethel Leinen, Martin van Boekel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to translate cognitive models of reading comprehension to educational practice to develop an intervention that is theoretically sound, effective, and feasible for classroom use. Specifically, the effects of questioning type (Causal versus General) and timing (Online versus Offline) on struggling readers' comprehension were compared. Sixty-two fourth-graders identified as struggling comprehenders were placed in groups of 3-5 students; groups were assigned randomly to Causal or General questioning conditions. All groups received both Online and Offline questioning in counterbalanced order. Tutors delivered intervention for 20-30. min, 3 times per week, for 18 sessions. Dependent measures included students' recall and oral reading of narrative text. Theoretical, empirical, and practical perspectives were triangulated to select the combination of question type and timing that appeared most promising. Findings are discussed with particular emphasis on challenges associated with translating cognitive theory to practice in classroom-based settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28-40
Number of pages13
JournalContemporary Educational Psychology
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Elsevier Inc.


  • Cognitive theory
  • Intervention
  • Reading comprehension


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