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Joke City and beyond: supporting comprehension improvement through language, gesture and jokes. Nicola Yuill Psychology/Cognitive Science University of Sussex firstname.lastname@example.org www.riddles.sussex.ac.uk. Plan of talk. Causes of poor comprehension Metalinguistic awareness
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University of Sussex
15% of 580 7-9yr olds had comprehension ages 6-24 mo below reading age
Vocab: choose 1 of 4 words to match a picture
Neale Accuracy: read words in stories
Neale Comprehension answer questions about the stories
simultaneous storage and processing e.g. mental arithmetic
John took 5 books. How many books?
John pedalled over the bridge. How did John travel?
distinguishing form and meaning, knowing how you know
(Yuill & Oakhill, 1992)
Treating text as interpreted:
(best reader = read hardest words)
Stories: ‘They set off for home, pedalling as fast as they could.’
Questions: How did they travel home?
Poor comprehenders 53% correct
Prompts: If incorrect:
48 children, 7-9yrs, varying in comprehension skill:
‘Look at that bat’ (choose 2 of 4 pictures)
‘The man said the duck was ready to eat.’ What could it mean? What else could it mean?
(TLC, Wiig, 1998)
Comprehension skill predicts ambiguity score,
r(46) = .46, p<.001 (w/o acc and age)
Ambiguous message game (Robinsons, 1978)
X tells Y: ‘Pick the man with the flag’
Did X tell Y properly? What should X have said?
Comprehension skill predicts message judgement score
r(33) = .49, p<.001 (w/o accuracy and age)
Children with comprehension age under 8;5
scored 6/8 or less
50 jokes playing on meanings: choose correct punchline
Why did the leopard never escape from the zoo?
Because it was always spotted/Because it ran too slowly
Tested on 300 children yrs 3-6
Good reliability (.83) and good prediction of comprehension independently of accuracy (r over .6)
(No relation of comprehension and jokes playing on sound:
What room can’t you go into? A mushroom)
BAHLAS Riddles scores
Children lack x, train x, does comprehension improve?
Make it problematic…
(Yuill & Joscelyne 1988)
(Yuill & Bradwell, 1998)
pre- to post-training changes (months) in accuracy and comprehension scores
Aah, I get it! I don’t understand. Do you know? We did it right.
Does this restaurant serve fish?’ –‘Yes, what do you want to eat, Mr Fish?’
‘serve’: cued meaning = object which is served, uncued meaning = agent to whom food is served. Cued AND uncued at once:
I get it! Cos they serve fish on a plate and they serve fish to the fish.
Your turn to read
Does this restaurant serve fish?
Reliability over 90%
Interaction of group x session, p<.05.
Mean no. of utterances combining cued and uncued meanings in s3: Hi: 1.25, med: 1.0, lo: 0.13 (lo)
Comprehension change and metalinguistic comments
r (21) = .49, p<.02
Low improvers made more metacognitive comments
Number of utterances in each talk category
Sig. interaction group x talk category, p<.001,
mcog higher for low than med or hi
Hard to articulate…. Other ways to express?
(r accuracy both <.2, n.s., vocab r .2-.4, n.s., semantic fluency n.s.)
No relation of gestures to other talk categories, or to improvement