Metacognition in Reading Competency
Jan 5, 2019 Reading 2973 Views
As related to the reading process, metacognition can be defined as contemplation concerning one's own thinking processes or knowledge of one's own thinking processes. Reading fluency and comprehension is a major problem for students today. Age and experience influence proficiency in metacognitive learning. As is obvious, the earlier and more frequently an individual practices metacognition in reading the more proficient he or she will become. Therefore, the earlier a child begins to practice this process, the easier reading and learning will be. Good metacognition will serve a student well through the years of academic learning. Metacognition is a higher functioning or executive skill and a derivative of cognitive skills brought to bear or impacting a reading task.
This process includes:
(a) understanding the instructions associated with the reading task or the purpose for reading. In addition,
(b) the type of reading material and would include all categories of text, reading books, academic text, resource material, storybooks, and instructional text. Next,
(c) understanding one's own resident cognitive skills available for meeting the task, this would include processing speed or how fast and accurately one can read short-term memory, visualization, and other cognitive skills. Last,
(d) monitoring one's own reading progress and determining if the reading task and comprehension of important facts or points in the text are understood, remembered, and able to be recalled at a later time.
Cognitive skills are interwoven and overlap. Although each skill can be practiced separately all skills work together to produce reading fluency and learning. Primary cognitive skills include:
• Attention - the ability to focus on the task at hand - ex. focus on words without being distracted
• Concentration - the ability to sustain attention for an age-appropriate time - ex. sustained ability to engage in the text
• Processing speed - the speed and accuracy needed to perform and age appropriate task - ex. reading text in appropriate amount of time as compared to average performing peers of the same age
• Long and Short-Term memory - short-term memory is a kind of post-it-note for the brain holding no more than 7 items of information for 15 seconds or less. Long-term memory is extended memory for recall at a later time.
• Visualization - the ability to form mental pictures in the brain
• Visual memory - the ability to form mental pictures in the brain and recall them later
• Simultaneous and Sequential processing - the ability to perform more than one action at a time bringing order to reading, such as ex. reading and comprehending the sequence of events in a story
Before the metacognitive process becomes automatic, a physical checklist of the four stages of reading metacognition can be easily written down for each reading assignment. A simple form can be used for each reading activity including instructions, type of text, cognitive strengths and weakness, and a monitoring plan. Metacognition may seem like a lengthy process, but it really is not. Through practice, the process of metacognition in reading will become automatic. Throughout their school career, children will be reading and trying to absorb and manipulate various kinds of reading material and information. Therefore, the process of reading to learn will be made easier and more efficient by learning metacognition skills early in life.
Most individuals have both strong and weak cognitive skills and most compensate for weaker skills by using stronger skills, such as using a good memory to compensate for weak visualization skills. In most schools, teachers use accommodation as a temporary way to help children compensate for weak cognitive skills, such as shortening assignments or giving a child more time on a test because processing speed is slow. Even young children can be taught to self-assess and identify their strong and weak cognitive skills when applied to a reading task, as well as take note of improvements and weaknesses as they progress. The goal is to have all cognitive skills working optimally, identify what skills will be needed for each reading task, and successfully apply those skills.