Academic journal article North American Journal of Psychology

Assessing Students' Meta-Cognitive Awareness Reading Strategies in Jordan

Academic journal article North American Journal of Psychology

Assessing Students' Meta-Cognitive Awareness Reading Strategies in Jordan

Article excerpt

There is currently an interest by many researchers in understanding the reading strategies of second language readers, the ways in which they interact with the written material, and how these strategies are associated with text comprehension. The research has generally centered on such cognitive processes as attention, memory and language, and their influence on reading skills.

However, according to Schneider (1988), taking into account readers' awareness and control of their cognitive activities is also important. The notion of including meta-cognitive strategies in the teaching of reading has been advocated by several experts in both English reading and meta-cognition (Baker & Brown, 1984; Carrell, 1989; Garner, 1987).

Baker defined meta-cognition as "thinking about thinking," stating that it can be considered a "predictor of reading comprehension ability" (2002, p.25). Meta-cognitive awareness has been defined as the knowledge necessary to define the appropriate actions and tasks required to achieve a particular goal (Auerbach & Paxton, 1997; Carrell, Pharis, & Liberto, 1989).

Students can be helped in many ways by meta-cognitive awareness of reading strategies: for example, it increases declarative knowledge, which helps students to not only understand what strategies they can use, but also answer why, when, and where they should be used at a particular stage. O'Malley and colleagues described those students without meta-cognitive awareness as learners lacking the opportunity to review their progress, achievement, and future directions (1985). Padeliadu, Botsas and Sideridis (2000) noted the frequent mischaracterization of students with reading difficulties as being disorganized and passive, attributing such reading difficulties to meta-cognitive impairment or ascribing them to students being incapable to think about what they are reading.

Studies in the domain of reading comprehension have increasingly emphasized the important part played by the reader's meta-cognitive awareness of motivational and cognitive practices while reading a text (Alexander & Jetton, 2000; Anastasiou & Griva, 2009; Garner, 1987; Guthrie & Wigfield, 1999; Pani, 2004; Pressley, 2000; Pressley & Afflerbach, 1995). Garner (1987) showed that when readers found comprehension difficult this could be attributed to lack of awareness of reading strategies. Alexander and Jetton (2000) and Pressley (2000) both noted that there is extensive research on meta-cognitive and reading comprehension. These studies have been significant in encouraging reading researchers in an investigation of the awareness of the readers' own cognitive and motivational processes while they are reading, and also to recognize the actions they use to monitor comprehension. Such research has provided practical help and suggestions which can aid both teacher educators and practicing teachers to increase the awareness and use of reading strategies in students struggling with reading.

In the literature related to reading English as a second language, it has been widely acknowledged that meta-cognitive awareness is significant in not only enhancing teaching and learning reading, but is also an important factor in improving reading comprehension (Auerbach & Paxton, 1997; Baker, 2008; Carrell, 1989; Carrell, Gajdusek, & Wise, 1998). More recently Shokrpour and Fotovatian (2009) studied an experimental group trained to use meta-cognitive strategies consciously when reading, and a control group without special training in reading strategies. Their results showed a significant improvement in reading skills of the experimental group as compared with the control group.

According to Martinez (2008) meta-cognitive global strategies can be defined as "generalized reading strategies aimed at setting the stage for the reading act: for instance, setting a purpose for reading, previewing the text content, and predicting what the text is about (p. …

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