Fostering Metacognition and Reading Comprehension Linda Baker University of Maryland, Baltimore County PBIDA October 8, 2010
“The vice of the poor reader is to say the words to himself without actively making judgments as to what they reveal.” • E. L. Thorndike, 1917
A good reader… A good reader proceeds smoothly and quickly as long as his understanding of the material is complete. But as soon as he senses that he has missed an idea, that the track has been lost, he brings smooth progress to a grinding halt. Advancing more slowly, he seeks clarification in the subsequent material, examining it for the light it can throw on the earlier trouble spot. If still dissatisfied with his grasp, he returns to the point where the difficulty began and rereads the section more carefully. He probes and analyzes phrases and sentences for their exact meaning; he tries to visualize abstruse descriptions, and through a series of approximations, deductions, and corrections he translates scientific and technical terms into concrete examples. Whimbey, 1975, p. 91
Session Overview • Metacognition and comprehension monitoring: Definitions and assessments • Developmental and individual differences in metacognition • Interventions to enhance metacognition and comprehension • From research to practice and policy
Metacognition and Comprehension Monitoring Definitions Assessment
Two Components of Metacognition • Knowledge: Knowledge about the skills, strategies, and resources that are needed to perform a task effectively • Control: the use of self-regulatory strategies to ensure successful task completion • Planning • Evaluating • Monitoring • Checking • Revising
Comprehension Monitoring • Evaluation • Keeping track of the success or failure of one’s own ongoing efforts to understand • Regulation • Taking appropriate steps to deal with whatever difficulties arise
Interview Questions for Assessing Metacognitive Knowledge of Reading • Conceptions of good readers/good reading • What makes someone a really good reader? • If you know someone was having trouble reading, how would you help that person? • Strategies for dealing with comprehension difficulties • What do you do when you come to a word that you don’t know? • What do you do when you don’t understand something that you have read? • Strategies for studying/remembering • What do you do to help remember what you’ve read? • If you needed to study a chapter in your history book for a test, how would you do it?
INDEX OF READING AWARENESS Directions: Read the sentences carefully and circle the best answer for you. There are no right or wrong answers. What do you do if you come to a word and you do not know what it means? a. Use the words around it to figure it out. b. Ask someone else. c. Move to the next word. What would help you become a better reader? a. If more people would help you when you read. b. Readier easier books with shorter words. c. Checking to make sure you understand what you read. (Jacobs & Paris, 1987)
METACOMPREHENSION STRATEGY INDEX Directions: Choose one statement that "tells a good thing to do to help you understand a story better before (during, after) you read it." After I've read a story it's a good idea to: a. Read the title and look over the story to see what it is about. b. Check to see if I skipped any of the vocabulary words. c. Think about what made me make good or bad predictions. d. Make a guess about what will happen next in the story. Schmidt, 1990 (Schmitt, 1990)
METACOGNITIVE AWARENESS OF READING STRATEGIES INVENTORY Directions: Listed below are statement about what people do when they read academic or school related materials such as textbooks or library books. After reading the statements circle the number that applies to you. Please note there are no right or wrong answers. • I think about what I know to help me understand what I read. (global reading strategy) • I summarize what I read to reflect on important information in the text. (support reading strategy) • I adjust my reading speed according to what I’m reading. (problem solving strategy) (Each item is rated on a 5-point scale with respect to how often the reader does the described activity.) (Mokhtari & Reichard, 2002)
Approaches to Assessing Comprehension Monitoring • Detection of errors in passages • Ratings of felt understanding • Self-corrections during oral reading • Real-time measures of processing • Eye movements, reading times • Verbal reports • Retrospective • Concurrent (thinking aloud)
Passage 1 The planet Jupiter is far from the sun. It is also the largest planet in our solar system. Jupiter circles the sun once every 12 years. Jupiter is a thousand times smaller than our planet. Jupiter has a giant red spot. The spot is the planet’s most famous feature.
Passage 2 Clouds form when warm and cold air meet. Clouds can bring rain, hail, sleet or snow to earth. Some people are paid to study the clouds. The clouds tell them what moultin we will have. There are many types of clouds. Each type means different weather is coming.
Passage 3 Long ago North America was covered with woodlands. Many early settlers lived in the woodlands. They collected nuts, berries, and fruits to eat. They used sand from the trees to make many things. They built houses, boats, and weapons. They even made medicine from the tree bark.
Issues to Consider When Using Error-Detection Approaches to Assess Comprehension Monitoring • Readers may use fix-up strategies for resolving comprehension difficulties and so they think they understand • Readers may identify problems other than those intended for them to find • Whether or not a problem will be reported depends on several factors: • the readers’ goal for reading • the criteria they adopt for evaluating their understanding • their threshold for deciding when a problem is serious enough to report • personality characteristics • Questionable ecological validity
Early evidence that comprehension monitoring could be taughtBaker and Zimlin, 1989 • Fourth grade students • More skilled readers • Less skilled readers • Three instructional conditions • Monitor understanding at a local level • Monitor understanding at a global level • No special instructions • Individual instruction on using local or global standards to evaluate comprehension • Assessed on use of standards while reading a longer passage immediately and two weeks later
Standardsfor Evaluating Comprehension: Microstructure (Local )Level • Lexical • Are there any words I don’t understand? • External consistency • Is there any information that doesn’t agree with what I already know? • Propositional cohesiveness • Are there any ideas that don’t fit together because I can’t tell who or what is being talked about?
Standards for Evaluating Comprehension: Macrostructure (Global) Level • Structural cohesiveness • Are there any ideas that don’t fit together because I can’t tell how the ideas are related • Internal consistency • Are there any ideas that don’t fit together because I think the ideas are contradictory? • Informational completeness • Is there any information missing or not clearly explained?
Mean Number of Problems Identified at Two Levels of Evaluation by Instructional Condition and Time of Test(maximum = 6)
Metacognitive Development Sources of Influence Age-related changes Reading ability
Sources of Influence on Metacognitive Development • The role of others • Social transmission (Vygotsky) • The role of the child • Self-discovery (Piaget) • The role of maturation • Development of the pre-frontal cortex (Luria)
Differences between Older and Younger Readers • Knowledge about comprehension • Conceptions of reading (e.g., meaning vs. decoding) • Purposes of reading • Evaluating comprehension • Assuming responsibility • Implementing strategies (e.g., multiple standards) • Regulating comprehension • Implementing strategies (e.g., rereading, looking ahead) • Evaluating and regulating learning • Implementing strategies (e.g., self-questioning, paraphrasing)
Differences between Skilled and Less-Skilled Readers • Knowledge about comprehension • Conceptions of reading (e.g., meaning vs. decoding) • Purposes of reading • Evaluating comprehension • Assuming responsibility • Implementing strategies (e.g., multiple standards) • Regulating comprehension • Implementing strategies (e.g., rereading, looking ahead) • Evaluating and regulating learning • Implementing strategies (e.g., self-questioning, paraphrasing)
Developmental Changes in Metacognition • Older children have better metacognitive knowledge and control than younger children. The early cross-sectional evidence of 30 years ago continues to reveal this pattern. • Children do not simply “catch up.” Longitudinal studies show that children who have weak metacognitive skills when they are younger have weak skills when they are older. • strong correlations in measures of metacognition over periods as long as four years • stability in the magnitude of the metacognition-comprehension correlations over time • little or no growth over time for children who do not receive metacognitively-oriented instruction
Adolescence is an important developmental period for metacognitive growth … “The active control of cognition may be a rather late-developing phenomenon, coinciding with a developmental shift in adolescence that enables students to have their own thoughts not just as objects of their thinking, but also to control their own thinking.” Pintrich and Zusho (2002, p. 261)
Multiple Strategies Instruction Validated Approaches Classroom-based Interventions Technology-based Interventions
Landmark Study of Multiple Strategies Instruction:Reciprocal Teaching, Palincsar & Brown, 1984 • Participants: 7th grade struggling readers • Strategies: • Predicting upcoming text • Clarifying unknown words and concepts • Summarizing what was read • Generating deep questions about the material • Selection of strategies based on their potential to foster comprehension as well as to foster comprehension monitoring • Successful outcomes on reading comprehension and on strategy use • Meta-analyses (1988, 1994, 2000) document effectiveness of RT for improving comprehension
Effective interventions for fostering cognitive and metacognitive reading strategies … • Typically include multiple strategies instruction, both cognitive and metacognitive • Comprehension monitoring • Activating prior knowledge • Clarifying difficult words • Forming main ideas • Summarizing • Questioning
Effective interventions for fostering cognitive and metacognitive reading strategies … • Instruction typically includes teacher-led and student-centered components • Explicit explanation of how, when, and why to use cognitive and metacognitive strategies • Modeling • Guided practice • Peer collaboration • Sequence: teacher-led explicit instruction followed by a gradual release of responsibility to the students themselves.
Classroom-based interventions for multiple strategies instruction: Example 1: Houtveen & van de Grit,2007 • Participants: 10-year-old students in the Netherlands and their 20 teachers in intervention or comparison schools • Teachers were taught to use approaches shown to be effective to teach cognitive and metacognitive strategies (good implementation was documented) • Students assessed on metacognitive knowledge of strategies for evaluating and regulating their comprehension and on reading comprehension pre, post, delayed (beginning of next school year) • Intervention students gained more from pre to post and maintained over delay.
Classroom-based interventions for multiple strategies instructionExample 2: Souvignier & Mokhlesgerami, 2006 • Combine instruction in comprehension strategies with support for cognitive and motivational self-regulation • Participants: Fifth graders in Germany; teacher-led intervention, 20 lessons, 45 minutes each • 3 intervention groups: • 1 Cognitive and metacognitve strategies only • 2. (1) plus cognitive self regulation (e.g.,comp monitoring) • 3. (1) plus (2) plus motivation self regulation (fostering the “will”) • All 3 groups improved in strategy knowledge and use as well as reading comprehension relative to comparison; • Long term follow up showed greatest effect for group 3. • Strongest effect size on delay: if students learn strategies effectively, can continue to improve in their use and benefit from them on their own.
Classroom-based interventions for multiple strategies instructionExample 3: Van keer and Verhaeghe (2005) • How students practiced the strategies they were taught • (1) teacher led whole-class activities • (2) reciprocal same-age peer tutoring • (3) cross-age peer tutoring (5th graders w. 2nd) • Outcomes showed developmental differences • 2nd grade benefitted from (1) and (3) but not (2) • 5th grade benefitted from all • 2nd grade no long term benefits • 5th grade benefits lasted 6 months in (1) and (2)
Multiple Strategies Instruction with TechnologyExample 1: LeFevre et al., 2003 • Tape assisted reciprocal teaching to reduce processing demands associated with weak decoding • 9-year-old poor readers: conventional reciprocal teaching or listen to audio-books as they follow along in the text; • Poor decoders benefitted only from tape assistance, learned to use taught strategies; poor comprehenders (but OK decoding) benefitted from both approaches • Poor comprehenders generalized to classroom context, but poor decoders did not (needed word recognition support) • Gains on standardized reading comprehension test
Multiple Strategies Instruction with TechnologyExample 2: Kim et al., 2006 • Computer-assisted collaborative strategic reading • Participants: middle school students with reading difficulties • Two phases: (1) teach students what each strategy is, when to use it, why it is important, how to use it; (2) use CSR to learn • Students in the intervention produced better quality main idea statements and questions generated from the text
Summary and Conclusions Research Practice Policy
It’s not only metacognition that is important… but also the self-system • The use of metacognitive strategies is influenced by motivation, perceived competence, and attributional beliefs • Comprehension monitoring involves not only skill, but will. • If children who are poor readers are sufficiently motivated, they can demonstrate higher levels of competence than they otherwise
It’s not only metacognition that is important…but also basic reading processes • Poor decoders are likely to demonstrate working memory problems because of the additional effort they must expend to identify individual words. • Instruction in comprehension monitoring can help circumvent problems in reading comprehension associated with working memory limitations • Instruct children to use look-back strategies more frequently, especially when the content is unfamiliar and/or important to ones goals
Individual difference variables • motivational/attitudinal variables • differences in information processing capacity and basic processing efficiency • domain specific knowledge and experience • environmental opportunities to learn appropriate executive routines, including interactions with parents and teachers
Clear research evidence … • Comprehension monitoring is an important contributor to reading comprehension above and beyond basic skills such as word recognition. • Evaluating and regulating comprehension are associated with better reading comprehension than evaluating alone. • In other words, it is not enough for a child to recognize he or she does not understand; the child also needs to know what to do about it.
Clear research evidence … • When should metacognitively-oriented instruction begin? • Primary level children, even those who are poor readers, can benefit from metacognitive instruction • The development of the skills and strategies to be an effective reader requires time and practice. • Younger children and less-skilled readers need ongoing reinstatement of the cognitive and metacognitive strategies
Leads to instructional recommendations…. • Teach students to identify portions of text that are hard to understand, whether at the individual word level or the sentence or passage level. • Teach students strategies for resolving the comprehension obstacles, including making inferences, rereading text, and drawing on prior knowledge. • Teach students how to decide among different strategies or try alternate strategies depending on the particular situation.
Leads to policy recommendations and standards … • Recommendations In the United States: • The National Reading Panel concluded that comprehension monitoring is critical to effective comprehension and should be fostered. • The National Research Council concluded that children must have opportunities to develop metacognitive skills to meet the demands of understanding printed texts and that adequate progress in learning to read depends on control over procedures for monitoring comprehension and repairing comprehension.
Leads to policy recommendations and standards … • Standards Elsewhere: • Belgium: Students should be taught effective cognitive and metacognitive strategies that facilitate text comprehension. • Finland: “Students will practice various strategies for reading comprehension.” • Singapore: “Use reading strategies to construct meaning ... Use meaning-based strategies: Monitor and confirm understanding of texts read (e.g., re-read, read on)”
A cautionary note --- "It appears that the enthusiasm surrounding metacognition has established the construct as a pinnacle of information processing. It is the most prized, most regulative, top-of-the-hierarchy component in several theories and instructional packages. This appears to us to be an erroneous aggrandizement of decontextualized knowledge. The goal of development and education is not to produce people who reflect, orchestrate, plan, revise, and evaluate their every action." (Paris, Cross, & Jacobs, 1987, p. 238
Practical Resources • Using Metacognitive Assessments to Create Individualized Reading Instruction Susan E. Israel International Reading Association, 2007 “… teachers now have an excellent and comprehensive source of information on how to assess the metacognitive skills of their students and how to use that assessment information to guide their reading instruction.” LB, from the foreword