ERIC Number: ED255078
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Oct
Reference Count: 0
Filling in the Gaps: Inferential Processes in Children's Comprehension of Oral Discourse.
Slackman, Elizabeth A.; Hudson, Judith A.
This study looked at preschool and first-grade children's ability to draw script-based and text inferences in comprehension of stories they heard. In two experiments, children were asked to recall brief stories and answer two inference questions: one script inference question requiring them to fill in information about the event that was not specifically stated in the story, and a text inference question requiring them to infer relationships between story propositions that could not be inferred on the basis of event knowledge alone. In one experiment the text inference question required a propositional inference on the basis of two premise statements in the story, and in the other experiment the text inference question required an invited inference based on children's real world knowledge. Results suggested that children aged 4 to 6 years are better able to draw inferences based on schematically organized event knowledge than inferences requiring the construction of relationships between propositions not already represented in a schema. Results suggest that text inference questions are inherently more difficult than script-based inference questions and that invited inference questions are easier for children in this age group to answer than propositional inference questions. It is concluded that development of inferential processing in oral text comprehension is characterized as a progression from automatic use of a familiar schema to more purposeful deductive reasoning. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Inference Comprehension; Inferences
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Boston University Conference on Language Development (9th, Boston, MA, October 12-14, 1984).