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Why do we use metacognition strategies in reading?

As a reader, it’s safe to say that absorbing every bit of information from the text you are reading is pretty much impossible. Daily we notice that we find it hard to recall the information we read. And day by day we notice that the information obtained begins to fade away into nothingness. Whether you are a student, a teacher or just a reader, I bet a lot of the times you felt a little lost while reading. Because your mind kept drifting off or perhaps you just couldn’t grasp the idea that the text was delivered. Now your solution to this tiresome problem is metacognition. We are going to be discussing the strategies incorporated when reading later on. As for now, we are going to discuss the reason why metacognition is essential while reading.

The first and somewhat obvious reason is comprehension. Several studies have shown that a student using one or several metacognition techniques was able to comprehend and understand way more than the student who didn’t use any strategies. Hence, comprehension will lead to a deeper understanding of the text allowing people to learn something known as “ construct knowledge” this will then allow them to recognize the variety of metacognition strategies and consequently choose the right tools when they lack understanding.

Another key reason is that these metacognitive strategies would take your thinking into a higher level and engage your brain. When reading or trying to interpret what they are reading, people tend to struggle with the ability to explain what they think, and therefore by implementing these metacognitive strategies you can express yourself clearly and coherently.

What are these metacognition strategies?

  • Word your thoughts out loud while reading.

Thinking out loud would aid you in comprehending the text better. Take this example for instance. When we were in school, teachers always taught us to figure out the meaning of a word through context as they read out loud when a word was foreign to us. The reason they did this is to engage your brains and help you piece together your stray thoughts into one cohesive thought.

  • Reflect on what you are reading

Rather than asking comprehension questions during a reading activity, try asking metacognitive questions. While comprehension questions help you determine whether you understand the material, metacognitive questions help you recognize how they feel about the material.

After every paragraph or page or chapter but the book or text down and allow yourself to simply question it, let the information stir in your mind. 

  • Craft an inner monologue

By having an inner monologue you are simply allowing the information to marinate in your mind. In other words discuss your thoughts with yourself. Ask questions, even the questions you don’t have an answer to.

How to implement these strategies?

  • Planning

Proficient readers plan before reading, and to accomplish this task you must first  learn the steps needed. Through modeling and practice, learn to:

  • Think about the text’s topic.
  • Think about how text features can help in understanding the topic.
  • Read the title and author, front and back cover blurbs, and table of contents.
  • Study illustrations, photos, and graphics, including labels and captions.
  • Skim for boldfaced words, headings and subheadings, and summaries.
  • Think about what you know, and connect dots and figure out what question you want answered.
  •  Study cause and effect
  • Monitoring During Reading

This step is done during reading, in the following ways:

  • while reading asks yourself ‘do I know what is meant by this?’ ‘what is the true meaning behind this?’ 
  • analyze the text by making connections, predictions and identifying text structures and features. 
  • Annotate what you are reading by underlining certain lines and adding comments or questions in the margins or on a sticky note.
  • Evaluating

This step is for when you finish reading, a problem many readers seem to have is a distraction and losing focus. We find ourselves forgetting previous pages we read sometimes while reading and forgetting where a certain character might have appeared previously. To prevent this and ensure we retain all the information we just read, we must reflect on the strategies we used to determine whether our plan worked or whether we should try something else next time. Because this evaluative factor of the metacognitive process is so important.

Sometimes writing summaries of what you just read can be helpful, a fun and simple but effective way to do this is mind mapping your thoughts after you are done with reading

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