ERIC Number: ED253081
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1985
Reference Count: N/A
Language, Literacy and Mental States.
Olson, David R.; Torrance, Nancy
An investigation of children's metalinguistic and metacognitive competencies examined children's sensitivity to the verbs of cognition in two related studies using a task designed to measure mastery of verbs of saying and meaning. In the task the children hear six short stories, each ending with a statement containing one of the verbs "think,""know," or "pretend" followed by a plausible complement (e.g., "You think that your book is lost"). The children are asked after each story to judge the truth of the complement and justify the answer. The first study involved 72 children from grades 1 through 4 with normal intelligence and reading achievement, graded good, average, or poor by their teachers. A second study used more precise measures of reading skill and groups from grades 1 and 3 only. It was found that while knowledge of the cognitive verbs did not relate directly to reading skill, there was a relationship between reading skill and the tendency to justify answers by appealing to the text, which increased with grade level. It is suggested that this indicates the child is beginning to differentiate his interpretation of the text from what the text actually says and to justify the former on the basis of the latter. This demonstrates the metalinguistic skill of understanding the surface structure of language (what is said) and its interpretation (what is meant), are basic to acquisition of theoretical knowledge about the world and to entertaining complex mental states. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Spencer Foundation, Chicago, IL.; Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Ottawa (Ontario).
Authoring Institution: Ontario Inst. for Studies in Education, Toronto.