Spurious and Genuine Correlates of Children’s Reading Comprehension
The ability to comprehend text is a fundamental requirement for education, and it is the renewed focus of American educational research and policy (RAND Reading Study Group, 2002). Yet, reading comprehension is difficult to define, isolate, and measure because it includes multiple processes. Developmental changes confound these problems because how and what beginning readers understand differs from comprehension among more expert readers (Kintsch, 1998). Teachers generally regard reading comprehension in terms of classroom practices such as the ways that students answer questions about text, retell important ideas, and discuss text from different perspectives. In contrast, researchers measure comprehension using a variety of assessments that range from microprocesses to global processes. However, the de facto definition and public benchmarks of reading comprehension are standardized test scores usually derived from reading text silently and responding to multiple-choice questions (Pearson & Hamm, this volume). The wide variation in the definitions, assessments, and standards of reading comprehension is where educational practices, theories, and policies may converge and conflict.