Comprehension of Expository Text: Insights Gained from Think-Aloud Data

Sandra Laing Gillam, Utah State University - Continuing Education
Jamison D. Fargo, Utah State University
Kelli St. Clair Robertson, Champion Partners in Rehabilitation, Tuscaloosa, AL

Originally published by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Publisher's PDF and HTML fulltext available through remote link.


Purpose: To examine the kinds of explicit and implicit statements generated by school-age children with and without language impairments during comprehension of expository texts and to determine the relationship of these statements to comprehension performance. Method: Forty 4th-grade children with and without language impairments participated in individual think-aloud sessions (verbalizing thoughts aloud). During the sessions, children were asked to listen to expository passages 1 sentence at a time, make comments after each sentence, and then answer questions and recall the passages. The comments or verbal protocols that children generated during the think-aloud sessions were transcribed and analyzed. The relationship of verbal protocols to comprehension performance was evaluated. Results: Findings suggested that the ability to paraphrase passages was closely related to measures of expository text comprehension. Conclusions: The use of data obtained during think-aloud sessions may be useful to supplement information gained from traditional measures of comprehension for children with and without language impairments.