Professor Kate Cain
+44 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
- Language and Reading Research Consortium, more details here: http://larrc.ehe.osu.edu/
- Use of iPad technology for communication by children with special needs (with Melissa Allen, Psychology)
- The influence of interclausal connectives on children's memory and comprehension of text
- The role of working memory on adult readers' abiity to update text representations
Recent Research Grants
To start in 2013, The Economic and Social Research Council (with Dr Xiuli Tong, University of Hong Kong), Language-specific and language-general influences on reading comprehension development: comparisons between an alphabetic and morphographic script.
To start in 2013, The Waterloo Foundation (with Adina Lew, Lancaster, Drs Christian de Goede and Helen Basu, Royal Preston Hospital), Understanding reading difficulties in children with rolandic epilepsy: identifying correlates and candidate causes.
2012, British Academy (with Jane Oakhill, University of Sussex). Developing reading comprehension in the classroom: analysis and assessment of methods and best practice.
2012, Lancaster University Friends Programme Grant (with Melissa Allen, PI). Use of iPad technology for communication by children with special needs.
2010, U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences (with Laura Justice, The Ohio State University, PI; Shelley Gray, Arizona State University; Hugh Catts, The University of Kansas; Tiffany Hogan, The University of Nebraska-Lincoln). The Language Bases of Reading Comprehension.
2008, The Royal Society, International short visit scheme. Dimensions and predictors of reading comprehension.
2007, Lancaster University Small Grant (with Katie Alcock, Andrew Hardie, Sebastian Hoffmann, Paul Rayson). Variability in child language: a feasibility and pilot study on the exploitation of the Child Language Survey.
2006, The Economic and Social Research Council. Making links: the role of interclausal connectives in children's comprehension of text.
2006, The Leverhulme Trust. Cognitive factors involved in children's acquisition of printed word meanings.
Recent funding to provide CPD and support for users of research
2010, Lancaster University Friends Funding. Reading circles: supporting young readers.
2009, Higher Education Innovation Fund (with Katie Alcock, Melissa Allen, Dina Lew, Charlie Lewis, Karen Mattock, John Towse). Diagnosis and remediation of atypical development.
2006, Economic and Social Research Council (with Margaret Snowling, University of York, PI; Kate Nation, University of Oxford; Jane Oakhill, University of Sussex). Reading comprehension: From theory to practice.
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
Garcia, J. R., & Cain, K. (2013). Decoding and reading comprehension in English: a meta-analysis to identify which reader and assessment characteristics influence the strength of the relationship. Review of Educational Research, doi: 10.3102/0034654313499616
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.
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., & 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.
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
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: 10.1037/0022-0622.214.171.124
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: 10.1037/0022-06126.96.36.1991
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