Individual Differences in Reading Comprehension

Authored by: Paul van den Broek , Jolien M. Mouw , Astrid Kraal

Handbook of Individual Differences in Reading

Print publication date:  September  2015
Online publication date:  August  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415658874
eBook ISBN: 9780203075562
Adobe ISBN: 9781135120931


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People read texts for many different purposes. We read for pleasure or esthetic enjoyment, to learn for school, to understand phenomena, to obtain instructions, and so on. For all of these purposes, it is essential that the reader comprehends the text. However, individuals differ tremendously in their ability to do so and, hence, in their ability to attain their purposes. In this chapter, we discuss sources of individual differences in reading comprehension abilities. The chapter consists of three sections. In the first section we discuss what it means to comprehend a text and what cognitive processes occur during reading for comprehension. In the second section we highlight sources of individual differences in executing these processes. In the third section we discuss the development of the skills and abilities necessary for successful reading comprehension and possible ways in which comprehension and comprehension skills may be fostered by instructions and interventions.

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