This study investigated young children's ability to use narrative contexts to infer the meanings of novel vocabulary items. Two groups of 15 seven- to eight-year olds participated: children with normally developing reading comprehension skill and children with weak reading comprehension skill. The children read short stories containing a novel word and were required to produce a meaning for the novel word, both before and after its useful defining context. The proximity of the novel word to this context was manipulated. The results supported the hypothesis that children with weak reading comprehension skills are impaired in their ability to integrate information within a text, particularly when that information is non-adjacent and the processing demands are, therefore, high. Analysis of the error data revealed a similar pattern of types of errors for both groups: children with poor reading comprehension were not more likely to produce a thematically inappropriate response than their skilled peers.