Making the right connections: Differential effects of reading intervention for subgroups of comprehenders

Kristen L. McMaster*, Paul van den Broek, Christine A. Espin, Mary Jane White, David Neil Rapp, Panayiota Kendeou, Catherine M. Bohn-Gettler, Sarah Carlson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of different types of questioning interventions on students' reading comprehension. Fourth-grade students (n=246) were identified as struggling, average, or good readers and assigned randomly within school to one of three questioning interventions: two inferential conditions (Causal or General) or one literal condition ("Who, What, Where, When" or W-questioning). Teachers delivered the interventions for 20-30. min, 2-4 times per week, for 8-10. weeks. All readers made reliable pre- to posttest comprehension gains as measured by story recall (ps < .001 to .04). Differential effects for intervention were found between two subgroups of struggling comprehenders-elaborators and paraphrasers. Elaborators benefited more than paraphrasers from Causal questioning (d=.86) whereas paraphrasers benefited more than elaborators from General questioning (d=1.46). These findings suggest that identifying subgroups is important in developing and evaluating the effectiveness of reading comprehension interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-111
Number of pages12
JournalLearning and Individual Differences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012


  • Cognitive profiles
  • Reading comprehension
  • Reading intervention
  • Struggling readers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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