Metacognitive awareness is important for reading comprehension.
Metacognition is the process of thinking about one’s thinking. The ability to understand one’s own thought processes is critical for students’ achievement in the higher grades. Metacognitive awareness includes the abilities to organize, manage, monitor, and evaluate one’s own learning. Teachers can foster metacognitive abilities with the following guided reading activities.
Students can use a KWL chart to organize their own learning about a new subject or reading selection. The student divides a sheet of paper into three sections. In the first section, the student writes what he “Knows” about the subject or selection. In the second section, he writes what he “Wants” to know or questions he wants answered about the subject. After reading, he fills in the third section with what he has “Learned” from his reading.
A Questions-into-Paragraphs chart is helpful for summarizing student learning. Before reading a passage or book, the student writes questions she would like to answer. These can be generated by a group of students or each student individually. As she reads, the student writes answers to the questions on the QUIP chart. When she is finished with the selection, the student uses the notes from the questions on her chart to create a paragraph summarizing the information she has found in the reading.
Self-monitoring during reading can be difficult. Have students use a check mark or dash method while reading independently. After each line he reads, the student writes a check mark if he understands, or a dash if he does not. At the end of a paragraph, he can return to each line with a dash, and reread it. If he still does not understand, he can then ask for assistance from a peer or teacher.
The teacher should create ten statements about a text, some true and some false. Before the student reads the text, she writes whether she agrees or disagrees with each statement. As she reads, the student uses the text to check the validity of the statements. She should write the page, paragraph or line number to show the text that either supports or refutes her answers. After reading, the student reflects on each statement and the information she found.
Clunks and Clues
The Clunks and Clues form is another self-monitoring device students can use to assist in vocabulary learning (see Resources 5). As the student reads, he writes down words or phrases that he does not understand. The ready-to-print form includes four “fix-up” strategies the student can use to figure out the meanings of the words he does not understand. After reading and deciphering vocabulary, the student can summarize the main idea or “gist” of the text.