Comprehension of Inferences in a Narrative in 3- to 6-Year-Old Children Purpose This study aimed to describe the development of inferential abilities of children age 3 to 6 years in a narrative using a dialogic reading task on an iPad. Method Participants were 121 typically developing children, divided into 3 groups according to age range (3–4 years old, 4–5 ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 2016
Comprehension of Inferences in a Narrative in 3- to 6-Year-Old Children
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Paméla Filiatrault-Veilleux
    Centre interdisciplinaire de recherche en réadaptation et en intégration sociale, Université Laval, Québec City, Québec, Canada
  • Caroline Bouchard
    Département d'études sur l’enseignement et l'apprentissage, Faculté des sciences de l'éducation, Université Laval, Québec City, Québec, Canada
  • Natacha Trudeau
    École d'orthophonie et d'audiologie, Université de Montréal et Centre de recherche interdisciplinaire en réadaptation, Institut Raymond-Dewar, Montréal, Québec, Canada
  • Chantal Desmarais
    Département de réadaptation, Faculté de medicine, Centre interdisciplinaire de recherche en réadaptation et en intégration sociale, Université Laval, Québec City, Québec, Canada
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Chantal Desmarais: chantal.desmarais@rea.ulaval.ca
  • Editor: Rhea Paul
    Editor: Rhea Paul×
  • Associate Editor: Sandra Gillam
    Associate Editor: Sandra Gillam×
Article Information
Development / School-Based Settings / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 2016
Comprehension of Inferences in a Narrative in 3- to 6-Year-Old Children
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2016, Vol. 59, 1099-1110. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-L-15-0252
History: Received July 17, 2015 , Revised November 29, 2015 , Accepted February 16, 2016
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2016, Vol. 59, 1099-1110. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-L-15-0252
History: Received July 17, 2015; Revised November 29, 2015; Accepted February 16, 2016

Purpose This study aimed to describe the development of inferential abilities of children age 3 to 6 years in a narrative using a dialogic reading task on an iPad.

Method Participants were 121 typically developing children, divided into 3 groups according to age range (3–4 years old, 4–5 years old, 5–6 years old). Total score of inferential comprehension, subscores by causal inference type targeting elements of the story grammar, and quality of response were examined across groups.

Results Inferential comprehension emerged early, from 3 to 4 years old, with considerable interindividual variability. Inferential comprehension scores increased significantly in relation to age, leading to developmental steps with regards to the type of causal inferences. The ability to infer the problem of the story, the internal response of a character, and predictions were easier starting at age 4 years. Then, the 5- to 6-year-olds were better able to infer the goal, the attempt to solve the problem, and the resolution. Last, between the ages of 3 and 6 years, children improved in terms of the quality of response they provided.

Conclusion This study addresses important gaps in our knowledge of inferential comprehension in young children and has implications for planning of early education in this realm.

Acknowledgment
This research was supported by a grant to Chantal Desmarais from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and received ethical approval from the Institut de Réadaptation en Défience Physique de Québec. We are grateful to the children, parents, daycares, and schools who participated in the study, as well as the research assistants who helped with the data collection and coding. We also acknowledge the statistical expertise of Jean Leblond in the design and analysis for this study.
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