Effects of Comprehension Skill on Inference Generation during Reading

Sarah E. Carlson, Paul van den Broek, Kristen McMaster, David N. Rapp, Catherine M. Bohn-Gettler, Panayiota Kendeou, Mary Jane White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to investigate differences between readers with different levels of comprehension skill when engaging in a causal questioning activity during reading, and the varied effects on inference generation. Fourth-grade readers (n = 74) with different levels of comprehension skill read narrative texts aloud and were asked causal questions at specific points during reading. Responses to questions were examined for the types of inferences the readers made during reading. There was no main effect of comprehension skill in terms of readers’ text-based inferences made in response to the causal questions. However, readers differed in their use of knowledge-based inferences in response to the causal questions, and in particular knowledge-based inferences that connected to related text information. Results are discussed in terms of individual differences that can influence attempts at maintaining coherence during reading.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)258-274
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Disability, Development and Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 3 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by Grant #R305G040021 from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), US Department of Education, to the University of Minnesota “Reading Comprehension Intervention (RCI) Project” for data collection and resources, as well as by Grant #R305b110012 from the IES, US Department of Education, to the Center on Teaching and Learning at the University of Oregon, through a Postdoctoral Fellowship for writing resources. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent views of the IES or the US Department of Education.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Taylor & Francis.


  • causal questioning
  • coherence
  • comprehension processes
  • comprehension skills
  • individual differences
  • inference generation


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