Cecile de Cat at LEL seminar

Posted on December 9, 2022 by



On Tuesday 13th December 2022, we’ll have our last LEL seminar of the term. The speaker will be Cecile de Cat from the University of Leeds. The seminar will take place at 4pm, in Simon Building 1.34 or via zoom,  https://zoom.us/j/8379113954.  

The title and abstract are below: 

Reading comprehension in socio-economically deprived adolescents  

from diverse language backgrounds 

Cecile de Cat 

University of Leeds

Reading comprehension is foundational for academic success. At secondary school, pupils are expected to have become independent readers able to tackle complex texts, but not all of them meet that expectation. 

This study investigates reading comprehension in 11- and 12-year-old pupils from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds, with various language profiles (monolingual, bilingual, trilingual). It seeks to assess the impact of syntactic complexity and figurative language on reading comprehension, and to determine whether some aspects of comprehension are affected more than others. Three dimensions are compared: lexical pragmatics (idioms vs literal language), comprehension of explicit information, and comprehension of implicit information (through inferences). 

To that aim, we designed a new online task: the ARCA (Assessment of Reading Comprehension in Adolescents). It manipulates syntactic and figurative language complexity, while controlling for lexical difficulty and inferential demands. We report on the first wave of testing, which included 60 participants recruited from English schools in Bradford (UK). 

As part of the ARCA validation, we compare its results with those of an established standardised test (the York Assessment of Reading Comprehension). 

Using a Causal Inference approach, we investigate the impact of English proficiency (sentence repetition and non-word repetition), multilingual language experience (documented with the Q-BEx questionnaire) and parental education on performance in both tests.

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