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Poor Readers: Student Learning

Updated on November 1, 2018
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Reading and comprehension difficulties


Awareness of reading strategy use and reading comprehension among poor and good readers

Researchers: Anastasiou, D. and Griva, E.

Reading is a complex process that involves the combination of perceptual, psycholinguistic and cognitive abilities. Through reading, the reader extracts and constructs meaning of the text being read for comprehension. In this study, the researchers sought to investigate the awareness of reading strategies of primary school students in order to try and identify some of the differences that exist between poor and good readers with regards to frequency and efficiency. Consequently, this would also show whether cognitive strategy awareness and metacognitive strategy awareness play an important role in reading comprehension. In addition, the study was also aimed at finding the correlation between awareness of reading strategies and reading comprehension. To do this, the researchers used retrospective interviews and reading test scores to assess eighteen poor readers and eighteen good readers (11-12 years old) selected from a pool of 201 sixth graders.

While poor readers were shown to be able to describe the use of various cognitive strategies like the good readers, the results found out that among poor readers, cognitive strategies were employed less frequently and less efficiently when compared to good readers. On the other hand, it became evident that among poor readers, there was a tendency to use word-centered model of reading where they focused on processing meaning of words rather than striving to understand and retaining meaning of texts. This was different from good readers who were found to employ more frequently meaning-oriented reading. With these findings, the researchers came to the conclusion that for good readers, as compared to poor readers, there was an awareness of their purpose for reading and that they tend to employ repertoires of cognitive strategies for text processing. This was similar to the manner in which these students used context and prior knowledge for text comprehension. Regarding metacognitive strategies, good readers were again shown to be more aware that reading may require different approaches compared to poor readers, which allowed them to develop better comprehension and retain meaning. However, with regards to cognitive strategy awareness, metacognitive awareness and reading comprehension, moderate interrelations were identified.

Quality teaching


Teaching quality and metacognitive strategy in primary school

Researchers: Rieser, S., Naumann, A., Decristan, J., Fauth, B., Klieme, A., and Buttner, G.

According to the researchers, mere teaching does not result in successful learning. Rather, effective teaching should actively involve the students in learning activities to help ensure positive outcomes. On this basis, the study investigated the relationship between effective teaching and various learning activities. The research study also gave focus on other factors of effective teaching that include cognitive activation, a supportive climate and classroom management as well as metacognitive strategies (of the students) employed in the leaning process. For this study, researchers used questionnaires as well as video/classroom observation to collect data from 1,052 students who participated.

Findings of the study found a positive relationship between dimensions of teaching quality and use of metacognitive strategies of the students, which proved that if high quality teaching is used in schools, it can help motivate students to use metacognitive strategies more often. On the other hand, the connection between teaching practices and learning was found to largely depend on the characteristics of the students. For instance, while the teachers may have motivated the students and tried to involve them in the learning activities, learning was still dependent on student characteristics. While the study also found cognitive activation to negatively predict slopes between intrinsic motivation and reported use of metacognitive strategy, further analysis showed that this was as a result of the fact that for the less motivated students, cognitively activating lessons were highly beneficial.

Reading strategies


Reading Metacognitive Strategy Awareness

Researcher: Cobb, J. B.

Comprehension strategies have been shown to play a crucial role in learning and thus contribute to strong comprehension among students when used. Cobb identifies some of these strategies to include previewing, inferring and visualizing among others. To increase children's awareness of their comprehension, Cobb explains that teachers can use a number of approaches including modeling, direct instruction and think-aloud techniques among others. On this basis, the study seeks to investigate the developing metacognitive awareness and knowledge of appropriate strategies for efficient comprehension at different stages of learning of elementary students. In doing so, the researcher aims to determine whether patterns of development of metacognitive knowledge can be identified.

Before, during and after reading, results showed that students in higher grades had more knowledge of metacognitive strategies than those in lower grades. Some of the strategies were also found to be less mentioned compared to others and thus rarely used. Strategies that were mentioned more often included those that were identified before reading. The researcher also notices that for some of the students who read more often, effective strategies were mentioned as learning strategies. Based on these findings, the researcher concludes that there is a great need to focus on during and after reading strategies in early grades, more emphasis on expository text and strategies that are necessary to gain information from factual material as well as a need for teachers to be equipped with the necessary knowledge to instill such strategies among the young students.


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