Abstract Facility in shifting between familiar schemata in a listening comprehension task was examined in children from the third and sixth grades (8 and 11 years old, respectively). The children heard two consecutively presented ambiguous passages about very familiar daily activities. Comprehension of both passages demanded precisely timed activation of a schema appropriate to each passage. Half of the children were not explicitly cued to the passage shift, thus requiring that they spontaneously recognize the need for a schema shift. Analyses of free recall and interview responses showed that although the younger children had more difficulty than the older children, children at both grade levels demonstrated deficiencies in their cognitive monitoring of the prose-schema interaction.