Professor Kate Cain
+44 (0)1524 593990
My research concerns the different cognitive and language-related skills that underpin the development of reading and listening comprehension, both in atypical and typical populations. To date, this work has identified several higher-level skill weaknesses that may be causally linked to poor comprehension, including the ability to generate inferences, knowledge and use of reading strategies, and the ability to construct coherent and integrated narratives. Recent work has confirmed that these skills predict reading comprehension development between 8 to 11 years.
Current research projects
- The language bases of reading comprehension (funded by IES), more details about LARRC here: http://larrc.ehe.osu.edu/
- The influence of morphological awareness on learning to read in English and Chinese (funded by ESRC and the RGC Hong Kong)
- Language and literacy profiles of children with rolandic epilepsy (funded by The Waterloo Foundation)
- Developing reading comprehension in the classroom (funded by the British Academy)
- Use of corpus methods to investigate the language environment of typically and atypically developing children (funded by ESRC), for more details about the Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science see here:http://cass.lancs.ac.uk/?page_id=23
- Opportunities for bilingualism in preschool and school-aged children with developmental disabilities (funded by SSHRC)
I am the Editor in Chief of Scientific Studies of Reading, the journal of the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading.
Kate Cain's Publications
Cain, K. , & Bignell, S. (2014). Reading and listening comprehension and their relation to inattention and hyperactivity . British Journal of Educational Psychology , 84(1), 108-124doi: 10.1111/bjep.12009
Garcia, J. R. , & Cain, K. (2014). Decoding and reading comprehension: a meta-analysis to identify which reader and assessment characteristics influence the strength of the relationship in English . Review of Educational Research , 84(1), 74-111doi: 10.3102/0034654313499616
Tong, X., Deacon, H. , & Cain, K. (2014). Morphological and syntactic awareness in poor comprehenders: another piece of the puzzle . Journal of Learning Disabilities , 47(1), 22-33doi: 10.1177/0022219413509971
Silva, M., Strasser, K. , & Cain, K. (2014). Early narrative skills in Chilean preschool: questions scaffold the production of coherent narratives . Early Childhood Research Quarterly , 29(2), 205-213doi: 10.1016/j.ecresq.2014.02.002
Hogan, T. P. , Cain, K. , & Sittner Bridges, M. (2013). Young children’s oral language abilities and later reading comprehension . In Shanahan, T., & Lonigan, C. J. (Eds.), Early childhood literacy. Baltimore, Md.: Brookes Publishing Co.
Cain, K. (2013). Reading comprehension difficulties in struggling readers . In Miller, B., Cutting, L. E., & McCardle, P. (Eds.), Unravelling reading comprehension. (pp. 54-65). (The Extraordinary Brain Series: The Dyslexia Foundation). Baltimore, Md.: Paul Brookes Publishing.
Oakhill, J. , & Cain, K. (2012). The precursors of reading ability in young readers: evidence from a four-year longitudinal study. Scientific Studies of Reading , 16(2), 91-121doi: 10.1080/10888438.2010.529219
Cain, K. , & Oakhill, J. (2012). Reading comprehension development from seven to fourteen years: implication for assessment . In Sabatini, J. P., Albro, E., & O'Reilly, T. (Eds.), Measuring up. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Education.
Oakhill, J. , Cain, K. , McCarthy, D., & Nightingale, Z. (2012). Making the link between vocabulary knowledge and comprehension skill . In Britt, A., Goldman, S., & Rouet, J-F. (Eds.), From words to reading for understanding. Hoboken, N.J.: Routledge.
Tong, X., Deacon, S. H., Kirby, J. R. , Cain, K. , & Parrila, R. (2011). Morphological awareness: a key to understanding poor reading comprehension in English. Journal of Educational Psychology , 103(3), 523-534doi: 10.1037/a0023495
Cain, K. , & Oakhill, J. (2011). Matthew effects in young readers: reading comprehension and reading experience aid vocabulary development . Journal of Learning Disabilities , 44(5), 431-443doi: 10.1177/0022219411410042
Cain, K. (2010). Reading for meaning: the skills that drive comprehension development . In Hall, K., Goswami, U., Harrison, C., Ellis, S., & Soler, J. (Eds.), Interdisciplinary perspectives on learning to read. (pp. 74-86). (Routledge Psychology in Education). London: Routledge.
Cain, K. , Towse, A. S. , & Knight, R. S. (2009). The development of idiom comprehension: an investigation of semantic and contextual processing skills. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology , 102(3), 280-298doi: 10.1016/j.jecp.2008.08.001
Cain, K. , & Towse, A. S. (2008). To get hold of the wrong end of the stick: reasons for poor idiom understanding in children with reading comprehension difficulties. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research , 51(6), 1538-1549doi: 10.1044/1092-4388(2008/07-0269)
Bignell, S. , & Cain, K. (2007). Pragmatic aspects of communication and language comprehension in groups of children differentiated by teacher ratings of inattention and hyperactivity. British Journal of Developmental Psychology , 25(4), 499-512
Joffe, V. , Cain, K. , & Maric, N. (2007). Comprehension problems in children with specific language impairment: does mental imagery training help? . International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders , 42(6), 648-664
Cain, K. (2006). Children's reading comprehension : the role of working memory in normal and impaired development. In Pickering, S. J. (Ed.), Working memory and education.. (pp. 61-91). (Educational psychology series). Amsterdam: Academic Press.
Cain, K. E. , Lemmon, K., & Oakhill, J. (2005). The relation between children's reading comprehension level and their comprehension of idioms. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology , 90, 65-87doi: 10.1016/j.jecp.2004.09.003
Cain, K. E. , Bryant, P. E., & Oakhill, J. (2004). Children's reading comprehension ability: Concurrent prediction by working memory, verbal ability, and component skills. Journal of Educational Psychology , 96(1), 31-42doi: 10.1037/0022-06188.8.131.52
Cain, K. , Lemmon, K., & Oakhill, J. (2004). Individual differences in the inference of word meanings from context: the influence of reading comprehension, vocabulary knowledge, and memory capacity. Journal of Educational Psychology , 96(4), 671-681doi: 10.1037/0022-06184.108.40.2061
Cain, K. (2003). Text comprehension and its relation to coherence and cohesion in children’s fictional narratives. British Journal of Developmental Psychology , 21(3), 335-351doi: 10.1348/026151003322277739
Oakhill, J. V. , Cain, K. , & Bryant, P. E. (2003). The dissociation of word reading and text comprehension: Evidence from component skills. Language and Cognitive Processes , 18(4), 443-468doi: 10.1080/01690960344000008
Cain, K. , Barnes, M. A., Bryant, P. E., & Oakhill, J. V. (2001). Comprehension skill, inference making ability and their relation to knowledge. Memory and Cognition , 29(6), 850-859doi: 10.3758/BF03196414
Kate Cain's Projects
1/10/13 → …
CASS is a Centre designed to bring a new method in the study of language – the corpus approach – to a range of social sciences. In doing it provides an insight into the use and manipulation of language in society in a host of areas of pressing concern, including climate change, hate crime and education. By providing fresh perspectives in such problems, we are helping to develop new approaches to challenging such practices as hate speech both in terms of raising awareness and of informing policy makers and other stakeholders of how such language may be used to wound and offend.
Developing reading comprehension in the classroom: analysis and assessment of methods and best practice.
Cain, K. & Oakhill, J.
1/01/13 → 31/12/14
A feasibility and pilot study on the exploitation of the Child Language Survey
This project is a feasibility and pilot study on the exploitation of the Child Language Survey. It is led by a cross-faculty team including Katie Alcock and Kate Cain (Psychology), Andrew Hardie and Sebastian Hoffmann (LAEL) and Paul Rayson (Computing). The RA on the project is Nicola Pooley (Psychology/LAEL).
Background: The Child Language Survey
In the 1960s, the Nuffield Foundation funded the Child Language Survey (CLS), a project which gathered a vast collection of data on child language from the ages of about 8 to about 15.
Consisting of transcripts of child language, both written and spoken, collected from a number of schools around the UK, this data was published in the late 1960s. Its extent has been estimated as a million words (of which 80% was spoken, 20% written).
While some university libraries possess copies of the transcript booklets, the CLS has long been unexploited, despite its potential value, because it is not in the digital format crucial to modern large-scale text analysis.
In this pilot project, we will digitise a selection of the CLS data (both spoken and written, in the former case including audio recordings)
create a comparable modern-day sample of data from the same or equivalent schools in London and Leeds
investigate the use of this data in studying children's linguistic variability
We will investigate the evidence in the data for the following three skills on the part of the children:
Planning the text: We will compare the coherence and cohesion of written narratives. These measures will also be analysed in relation to measures of fluency (text generation measures).
Generating the content: We will consider meaning-based dimensions of language (vocabulary and the development of ideas) and rule-based dimensions (sentence structure) within each modality. Complexity and diversity will be examined.
Transcribing ideas into written language: Spelling ability and writing conventions will be analysed. Children can also appear to be good or poor spellers by their choice of easy or hard words to spell in their written compositions, so spelling success will also be measurable in terms of written word frequency and length.