modify the reader’s efforts to decode a text, understand words and construct the meaning of a text (Garner, 1987; Afflerbach, Pearson, & Paris, 2008). Reading strategies have been usually classified into three broad categories, depending on the level or type of thinking processing involved: cognitive, metacognitive strategies, and social affective strategies (Chamot, 1987; O’Malley & Chamot, 1990). In this article, we will focus on the cognitive and metacognitive strategies.
Cognitive strategies involve direct ‘interaction’ with the text and contribute to facilitating comprehension, operate directly on oncoming information, manipulating it in ways that enhance learning. Under the heading cognitive strategies, can be classified the following ones: ‘underlining’, ‘using titles’, ‘using dictionary’, ‘writing down’, ‘guessing from the context’, ‘imagery’ ‘activating prior knowledge’, ‘summarizing’, ‘using linguistic clues’, ‘using text markers’, ‘skipping the difficult parts’ and ‘repeating words or phrases’ (Table 2). Metacognitive strategies are higher order executive tactics that entail planning for learning, monitoring, identifying and remediating causes of comprehension failure or evaluating the success of a learning activity; that is, the strategies of ‘self-planning’, ‘self-monitoring’, ‘self-regulating’, ‘self-questioning’ and ‘self-reflecting’ (Table 4) (Pressley & Afflerbach, 1995; O’Malley & Chamot, 1990).
There is often no clear distinction between the two categories of reading strategies because of the interchangeability in function (Brown, 1987), since “metacognition draw on cognition” (Veenman, Van Hout-Wolters, & Afflerbach, 2006). Metacognitive strategies “involve planning, monitoring, and evaluating that take place before, during, and after any thinking act such as reading... In contrast, cognitive strategies refer to integrating new material with prior knowledge. Cognitive strategies that students use to acquire, learn, remember, retrieve and understand the material while reading include rehearsal, elaboration, and organizational strategies” (Pereira-Laird, & Deane, 1997, p. 190). In other words cognitive strategies/skills are necessary to perform a task, while metacognitive strategies are necessary to understand how the task has been performed (Garner, 1987; Schraw, 1998), as they involve both the awareness and the conscious control of one’s leaning.
Reading strategies are of interest not only for what they reveal about the ways readers manage their interaction with the text, but also for how the use of strategies is related to effective reading comprehension. Recent trends in the area of reading comprehension have led to an increasing emphasis on the role of metacognitive awareness, which has been defined as the perceived use of reading strategies while reading (Jacobs, & Paris, 1987; Mokharti & Reichard, 2002; Pressley, 2000). Most researchers related to metacognition distinguished ‘metacognitive knowledge’ (knowledge of cognition) from ‘metacognitive skills’ (regulation of cognition) (Schraw, 1998). Metacognitive knowledge refers to a person’s declarative knowledge about the interactions between personal characteristics, task and the available strategies (Flavell, 1979; Veenman, Kok, & Blöte, 2005; Veenman, Van Hout-Wolters, & Afflerbach, 2006). Moreover, many researchers regarded ‘metacognitive knowledge’ as a synonym for ‘metacognitive awareness’ (e.g., Juliebo, Malicky & Norman, 1998). Metacognitive skills, on the other hand, refer to a person’s procedural knowledge for regulating one’s problem solving and learning activities (Veenman, Van Hout-Wolters, & Afflerbach, 2006).
There is consensus that awareness and monitoring of one’s comprehension process are critical aspects of skilled reading, because successful reading comprehension is “not simply a matter of knowing what strategy to use, but the reader must also know how to use it successfully” (Anderson, 1991, p. 19). Most researchers agree that cognition and metacognition differ in that cognitive skills are necessary to perform a task, while metacognition is necessary to understand how the task has been performed (Garner, 1987; Schraw, 1998). Skilled readers usually use a mixture of cognitive and mecognitive strategies. Pressley, & Afflerbach (1995) observed that skilled readers use many different strategies in coming in terms with the text. Furthermore, O’Malley & Chamot (1990) suggested that good readers are more able to monitor their comprehension than poor readers and they are more aware of the strategies they use than are poor readers, and they use them more flexibly. Good readers adjust their strategies to the type of text they are reading and to the purpose for which they are reading. They distinguish between important information and details as they read, they use context more efficiently and are able to relate new information with information already stated, as well as to notice inconsistencies in the text and employ strategies to make these inconsistencies understandable (O’Neil, 1992; Paris, Wasik, & Turner, 1991).