This study examined whether 10-12-year-old children use two reading strategies to aid their text comprehension: (1) distinguishing between important and unimportant words; and (2) resolving anaphoric references. Of interest was the question to what extent use of these reading strategies was predictive of reading comprehension skill over and above decoding skill and vocabulary. Reading strategy use was examined by the recording of eye fixations on specific target words. In contrast to less successful comprehenders, more successful comprehenders invested more processing time in important than in unimportant words. On the other hand, they needed less time to determine the antecedent of an anaphor. The results suggest that more successful comprehenders build a more effective mental model of the text than less successful comprehenders in at least two ways. First, they allocate more attention to the incorporation of goal-relevant than goal-irrelevant information into the model. Second, they ascertain that the text model is coherent and richly connected. © United Kingdom Literacy Association 2007.