Language Comprehension

Language skills in preschool years create a foundation for later educational success and for the ability to participate in society and work-life. Language comprehension involves the ability to follow a story when being read to and understanding what people are saying. How well the child comprehends depends on several skills, including vocabulary knowledge and, syntactic (i.e., the structure of sentences) and morphological (i.e., form of words) skills. Language skills develop rapidly between the age of 2 and 6 years. Already in these early years, we can see considerable variations in language comprehension skills amongst children. Children with language comprehension difficulties in their preschool years often remain disadvantaged throughout their lives. These children are also at risk of struggling later in life, with school and social interactions – which in turn will affect their ability to find employment and participate in society. Research shows that it is possible to improve language comprehension in children with language difficulties by intervening at an early age (Hagen, Å. M., Melby-Lervåg, M., & Lervåg, A., 2017). To give struggling children the support they need, we first need to identify them. With the LURI Assessment, you can assess children’s ability to comprehend information (i.e., narrative texts, short stories), to remember the information in the short term, and to be able to make connections that are not explicitly stated (inferencing). These are all skills that are considered crucial for later development of language and reading comprehension.

The LURI Assessment

Identifying children with language comprehension difficulties

The preschool years are critical in children’s language development. We are developing an assessment that can be used to identify children that have language comprehension difficulties so that they can get the support they need at an early age. A first version of this assessment (LURI) is available and measures children’s listening comprehension. LURI is short for Listen, Understand, Recall and Infer, which sums up what is required of the child when being assessed with this measure. Opposite to many other assessments, the LURI assessment does not require extensive training to administer and can be introduced as part of every-day-activities.

Read about how LURI was used as a measure of listening comprehension in this intervention study (a cluster-randomized trial) -> here.

LURI Assessment Story 4

The LURI Assessment is a researcher-developed test. It consists of 11 short stories with three to five associated questions. The stories include engaging themes (such as food, emotions, animals, and special occasions), and different vocabulary. The items have different levels of difficulties and the answers require a combination of recall and inferences.

  • 11 short stories
  • 3-5 questions for each story
  • A total of 42 items
  • Recall and inference

Test Administration 

To administer, have an adult read the stories. After each story, the adult asks questions about the story they just read.

Available in 3 languages

The test is available in English, Norwegian and Chinees. The tests are tailored to the different language cultures.

Åste M. M. Hagen

The LURI Assessment was developed by Åste Hagen. She is an associate professor at the Department of Special Needs Education at the University of Oslo. Åste is a member of the research group TextDIM.


  • Ph.D in Educational psychology, University of Oslo, 2012
  • M.A. in Educational Psychology, University of Oslo, 2005
  • B.A., University of Oslo, 2003
Email: ammhage@isp.uio.no
Phone: +47-22857025

Doris Baker, Associate Professor, SMU, Dallas Texas

Rebecca Knoph, PhD Candidate, Department of Education, University of Oslo

Joshua Lawrence, Professor, Department of Education, University of Oslo

Monica Melby-Lervåg, Professor, Department of Special Needs Education, University of Oslo

Arne Lervåg, Professor, Department of Education, University of Oslo

Jenny Michelle Thorbjørnsen, MA Candidate, Department of Education, University of Oslo

Wenjie Zhang, Associate Professor, Hunan Normal University, Hunan China