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Visiting Joke City: how can talking about jokes foster metalinguistic awareness in poor comprehenders?
chapterposted on 2023-06-07, 14:18 authored by Nicola YuillNicola Yuill
Some children have poor text comprehension skills, despite being good decoders. Part of becoming literate involves understanding and reflecting on how text conveys meaning. This chapter addresses the role of metalinguistic awareness of meaning in explaining and in improving poor comprehension. In two main studies, groups of 7- to 9-year-old children were supported in discussing verbal ambiguities as a way of focusing attention on meaning and thereby improving comprehension. A piece of software, Joke City, engaged pairs of children in discussing joking riddles with plays on meaning, and was shown to produce comprehension improvement on a standardised test. High comprehension improvement was associated in particular with increases across training sessions in the use of metalinguistic statements contrasting different meanings. The results demonstrate children’s metalinguistic abilities, show the potential for metalinguistic training and illustrate how children’s spoken language can be used to index their metalinguistic skills.
Book titleReading Comprehension Strategies: Theories, Interventions, and Technologies
Place of publicationLondon
Department affiliated with
- Psychology Publications
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