to a sufficient degree.
Our results accord with previous studies revealing that there is a difference in metacognitive strategy use between readers of varying reading levels in terms of frequency of use and type (Paris, Lipson, & Wixson, 1983). Good readers are more able to monitor their comprehension than less efficient readers, and they are more aware of the strategies they use than are poor readers (O’Malley & Chamot, 1990). In addition, good readers continuously evaluate their prediction and revise them as needed (Paris, Wasik, & Turner, 1991).
It is worth mentioning that poor readers employed the most frequent metacognitive strategy of ‘rereading’ in a less efficient way than good readers did. It was noted that the instances of cognitive strategies reported by poor readers correspond to one third of the total number of instances. On the other hand, the instances of metacognitive strategies reported by poor readers correspond to one fourth of the total number of instances. Overall, it seems that poor readers keep an inappropriate balance level between cognitive and metacognitive strategy awareness.
The results of this study revealed moderate intercorrelations among cognitive strategy awareness, metacognitive strategy awareness, and reading comprehension. The regression analyses showed that cognitive strategy awareness, metacognitive strategy awareness each explained 7.7% and 8.1% of the variance in reading comprehension over and above reading accuracy and reading fluency that explained together 35% of the variance. Thus, both cognitive and metacognitive strategy awareness can be considered to play a unique role in reading comprehension of 6th grade primary students. Comprehension failures can occur beyond the word-level skills such as reading accuracy and fluency. Additional and more elaborated research is needed to examine the role of cognitive and metacognitive strategies in reading comprehension.
Understanding the relationships among cognitive, metacognitive strategies and reading may generate useful approaches to teaching reading comprehension in poor readers. In short, the findings of this study are in line with the metacognitive theorists’ and researchers’ suggestions for explicitly teaching children to become strategic readers, providing poor comprehenders a repertoire of most sophisticated cognitive and metacognitive strategies, such as comprehension monitoring, that can promote reading comprehension (Brown, Pressley, Van Meter & Schunder, 1996; Paris, Lipson, & Wixon, 1994; Paris, Wasik, & Turner, 1991; Sweet, & Snow, 2002). On the other hand, our findings underline the role of reading accuracy and fluency to reading comprehension. Even in the 6th grade, it seems that the teaching of lower-level skills should not be ignored in the case of some poor readers, since these skills explain part of the variability in reading comprehension. On balance, poor comprehenders are needed instruction on word-level reading skills as well as on vocabulary, cognitive and metacognitive strategies etc. (Sweet, & Snow, 2002). Reading strategy training could facilitate the ‘transfer’ of strategies to new tasks, could increase readers’ awareness of the variety of reading strategies that can be used and also could lead to metacognitive awareness which “has been identified as a key factor in efficient reading” (Devine, 1993). Moreover, through strategy training poor readers could compensate by invoking top-down and interactive strategies, as well as combining strategies to facilitate comprehension and could be assisted towards autonomous use of strategy use.
The study needs to consider some limitations in order to lead a more refined and rigorous future research. Firstly, there is no data on students’ background related to their oral skills; it is important to identify possible oral language difficulties of the students, since reading skills and ability are assumed to be closely linked to oral language (Beck, Perfetti, & McKeown, 1982; Zwaan & Brown, 1996). Moreover, there is the need to expand the particular methodology used here; the ‘simultaneous, introspective method’ of think-aloud may provide more information on planning or self-monitoring (Juliebö, Malicky, & Norman, 1998). Although some information on metacognitive knowledge was gathered through retrospection, it is clear that “what people say” do not necessarily reflect “what people actually do” (Lau, 2006). Only by using multiple measures of verbal reports, a more complete and accurate picture of poor reader’s awareness of strategy use could be obtained. Furthermore, there is a need for a larger sample of participants to investigate the cognitive and metacognitive strategy awareness and the nature of the relationship between poor readers’ reading strategy awareness and reading comprehension. This could be achieved, as above mentioned, through employing a variety of methodological tools such as think-aloud reports and questionnaires.
In considering the results of the present study, some issues raised related to the need of training students to use strategies effectively. In strategy instruction, poor readers could be taught how to