Reading comprehension strategies for expository texts: Children with and without ASD

Yael Kimhi, Irit Kempner Mishkin, Nirit Bauminger-Zviely

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Reading comprehension difficulties have been widely reported in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This study compared two comprehension strategies (main-idea extractor - MIE and visual-graphic organizer - VGO) for reading expository texts in school-age children with ASD versus those with typical development (TD). The research addressed the following: 1) Group differences (ASD/TD) for baseline expository text reading comprehension (without a strategy); 2) Improvement of reading comprehension using a given strategy, compared to baseline; 3) Within-group differences regarding the relative efficacy of the two strategies; and 4) Group differences (ASD/TD) regarding question type (open/closed). Method: Two groups of 28 third-grade children were matched on verbal receptive language and the mother's level of education. The baseline reading comprehension test was administered first. Participants then underwent a short teaching procedure on how to use the assigned strategy (MIE/VGO) and were asked to utilize it when completing the second expository text. Results: Without strategy use, children with ASD demonstrated significantly greater difficulty in comprehending implicit information. After strategy use, the VGO strategy significantly surpassed the MIE strategy in facilitating both groups’ improvements in implicit knowledge, ability to answer closed questions, and general reading comprehension scores. When examining each group separately only the ASD group demonstrated significant improvements using VGO strategy (near-significance for implicit knowledge). Conclusions: Strategy use is crucial for children with ASD to advance and enhance reading comprehension. As found, VGO can facilitate expository text comprehension, yet students often need more exposure to relevant expository text strategies. Educational and theoretical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102169
Number of pages12
JournalResearch in Autism Spectrum Disorders
StatePublished - Jul 2023


  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Expository text
  • Open and closed questions
  • Reading comprehension

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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