Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Education

"What Were You Thinking?": The Use of Metaconitive Strategy during Engagement with Reading Narrative and Informational Genres

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Education

"What Were You Thinking?": The Use of Metaconitive Strategy during Engagement with Reading Narrative and Informational Genres

Article excerpt

This qualitative case study illustrates and compares the metacognitive strategies that a grade-3 female student used while reading narrative and informational texts. Data were collected from interviews, observations, and videotaping of the participant's narrative and informational text oral reading sessions and examined using thematic analysis. Findings showed that she used markedly different metacognitive strategies for each genre, resulting in comprehension difficulties while reading the informational text. This article suggests that for students to meet the challenges of informational texts, they must be taught specific metacognitive strategies while working with explicit text patterns.

Key words: metacognition, comprehension, text, stimulated recall, self-regulation

Cette etude de cas qualitative illustre et compare les strategies metacognitives utilisees par une eleve de 3e annee en lisant des textes narratifs et informatifs. Les donnees, provenant d'entrevues, d'observations et de videos des seances de lecture a haute voix de ces textes par la participante, ont fait l'objet d'une analyse thematique. Les resultats indiquent que l'ecoliere avait recours a des strategies metacognitives nettement differentes pour chaque genre de textes, ce qui entraenait des difficultes de comprehension pour les textes informatifs. Il semble donc que, pour que les eleves soient en mesure de saisir les textes informatifs, il faut leur enseigner des strategies metacognitives particulieres tout en tenant compte de la structure explicite du texte.

Mots cles : enseignement de la lecture, metacognition, comprehension, texte, rappel stimule, autocontrole.

In this article I report my findings from my instrumental case study (Stake, 1995) which illuminates the metacognitive strategy use of a grade-3, female student while she read narrative and informational texts. I focused on one student to develop my understanding of her use of metacognitive strategy by holding up for analysis her conversation during spontaneous and researcher prompted metacognition. To accomplish this purpose, I made video tapings of sessions while the student read narrative and informational texts orally, and sessions in which I used stimulated recall (SR) to access her metacognition. The following question framed the study: What is the nature of the student's use of metacognitive strategy during oral readings of narrative and informational texts? In answering this question, I sought to enhance awareness of some of the processes of learning, and of reading in particular.


Simply put, metacognition is the process of thinking about one's own thinking. As individuals engage in any mental activity, in any knowledge domain, metacognition is a tool of wide application for solving many sorts of problems (Flavell, Miller, & Miller, 2002). Its central role in problem solving and learning has important applications in the field of education, with some of the richest applications in the area of reading.

When applied to the field of reading, the concept of metacognition contributes to a constructivist understanding of how reading comprehension occurs, as well as to a body of knowledge regarding instructional strategies that facilitate reading comprehension (Tracey & Morrow, 2006). In constructivist theory, a person learning something new brings to that experience all his or her previous knowledge and current mental patterns. Constructivist learning is intensely subjective and personal, a process and structure that each person constantly and actively modifies in the light of new experiences. As Wilson and Daviss (1994) point out, each individual structures his or her own knowledge of the world into unique patterns and connects each fact, experience, or understanding in a subjective way, ultimately binding the individual into rational and meaningful relationships with the wider world.

With the theory of constructivism, the reading process is one in which a reader constructs his or own meaning while reading. …

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