Preparing for reading comprehension: Fostering text comprehension skills in preschool and early elementary school children

Paul van den Broek, Panayiota Kendeou, Sandra Lousberg, Gootje Visser

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

27 Scopus citations


To understand what they read or hear, children and adults must create a coherent mental representation of presented information. Recent research suggests that the ability to do so starts to develop early -well before reading age- and that early individual differences are predictive of later reading-comprehension performance. In this paper, we review this research and discuss potential applications to early intervention. We then present two exploratory studies in which we examine whether it is feasible to design interventions with early readers (3rd grade) and even toddlers (2-3 years old). The interventions employed causal questioning techniques as children listen to orally presented, age-appropriate narratives. Afterwards, comprehension was tested through question answering and recall tasks. Results indicate that such interventions are indeed feasible. Moreover, they suggest that for both toddlers and early readers questions during comprehension are more effective than questions after comprehension. Finally, for both groups higher working memory capacity was related to better comprehension.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)259-268
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Electronic Journal of Elementary Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1 2011



  • Early intervention
  • Reading comprehension

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