Academic journal article International Journal of English Linguistics

The Relationship between (Meta)cognitive Strategies and Reading Comprehension in Iranian Female L2 Learners

Academic journal article International Journal of English Linguistics

The Relationship between (Meta)cognitive Strategies and Reading Comprehension in Iranian Female L2 Learners

Article excerpt

Abstract

The present study aimed to examine the possible effects of the Iranian elementary female L2 learners' (meta)cognitive reading strategy knowledge on their reading comprehension in 3 different stages of reading, that is, prereading, while-reading, and postreading phases. In order to control the language proficiency factor, 40 L2 learners were selected through the application of the Oxford Placement Test. The participants belonged to 2 different age groups. Twenty of them were selected from the young people, ranging from 15 to 20 years old. The other 20 participants who comprised the second group were adults, ranging from 35 to 40 years old. The participants completed a reading strategy survey and took a reading comprehension test. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to describe the respondents' reading strategy use and their performance on the reading test. The results showed no significant relationship between the young and adult Iranian female L2 learners' comprehension level and their use of reading strategies. In fact, the data obtained from the young group resulted in a significant relationship between reading comprehension and metacognitive reading strategy use. That is, the more L2 learners employ metacognitive reading strategies, the more their reading comprehension level will be. Besides, the participants of both groups were alike in their perceived use of cognitive reading strategy.

Keywords: cognitive strategy, metacognitive strategy, reading comprehension

1. Introduction

Reading comprehension is the ability to understand a written text. Undoubtedly, students of any language need to be able to read in that language. Native speakers read a big deal of materials each day depending largely on their motivation for reading. The basic purpose of reading in L1 learning is somehow different from that of L2 learning because it is, indeed, very important in learning an L2. It is all-important at this moment in time. It is remarkably an independent and indispensable skill for the learners who are keen as mustard on learning any language. Reading is considered as the principal skill to learn in order to guarantee doing well in learning (Anderson, 2005). However, the very essence of this skill and the processes it under goes have always been studied.

Hence, the reading process and the factors that affect it have been examined from a long time ago by many researchers (e.g., Anderson & Pearson, 1984; Cohen, 1998; Garner, 1987). Language experts employ different concepts, such as human psychology and sociology, in order to propose some reading principles and models. The two major reading models are known as bottom-up and top-down (Goodman, 1994). Also, there are some reading strategies that are contributed to reading comprehension, namely (meta)cognitive strategies (Young & Oxford, 1997). These two models of reading and reading strategies are not distinct. When a reader employs cognitive strategy, the bottom-up model is utilized. The reader tries to construct meaning literally at the sentence level. Whereas, using a metacognitive strategy, the readers engage their background knowledge and constantly check their predictions; therefore, they approach the task employing the top-down model. According to some studies, inexperienced readers do not know how to employ the reading strategies, or they just utilize the bottom-up models of reading (Barnett, 1988; Carrell, 1989).

A distinction made by O'Malley and Chamot (1990) divided reading strategies to three categories: cognitive, metacognitive, and social strategies. Cognitive strategies consist of identification, retention, storage, retrieval of words, phrases, and other elements of L2. Metacognitive strategies include preplanning, online planning and evaluation, and postevaluation of L2 learning activities, and L2 use events. These strategies assist L2 learners in planning, organizing, and evaluating of their learning process; therefore, L2 learners can control their cognition. …

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