Developing Reading Comprehension

Developing Reading Comprehension

Developing Reading Comprehension

Developing Reading Comprehension


Presents cutting-edge, evidence-based interventions for dealing with specific difficulties of reading comprehension in children aged 7-11.

An in-depth introduction to the ‘poor comprehender profile’, which describes children who despite being fluent readers have difficulty extracting meaning from text.

Sets out a range of practical interventions for improving reading skills in this group - along with comprehensive guidance on assessment and monitoring, and insightful accounts of professionals’ experience in delivering the techniques described.

Includes an overview of psychological theories of reading comprehension, evaluating their practical applicability.

About the Author

Paula Clarke is a Lecturer in Psychological Approaches to Childhood and Inclusive Education at the University of Leeds.

Emma Truelove is training to be a Doctor of Educational and Child Psychology with the University of Sheffield.

Charles Hulme is Professor of Psychology at University College London.

Margaret J. Snowling is President of St. John’s College, Oxford and Professor in the Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford.


Language conveys meaning and allows the sharing of information, ideas and perspectives. When written messages are successfully understood, reading can be a wonderfully inspiring, enjoyable and transforming experience. Written language has the power to take the mind to different places, times and events; it can put us in the shoes of fascinating characters and hold our attention through gripping plots, suspense and intrigue. Texts can provide escapism and offer alternative perspectives on the world; what’s more, they can ‘kindle’ our imaginations to create rich mental images that may stay with us forever. Texts can inform and develop knowledge, provide us with new vocabulary and provoke new ways of thinking.

For many children, however, the messages conveyed through written text are not well understood; this has potentially far-reaching consequences for their learning, development and well-being. This chapter outlines the richness of written language and the complexities of the processes involved in reading for meaning. This serves to highlight the many ways in which children’s ability to understand text can break down, and will provide points to consider when teaching and developing interventions to improve reading comprehension. Chapter 2 considers in more detail the difficulties that cause some children to have specific difficulties in understanding what they read.

To consider the richness of written language, let us consider the following short passage as an example:

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