Metacognitive skills and the adult developmental reader : issues in identification and instruction

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Dixon, Ruth A.
McElhinney, James H.
Issue Date
Thesis (D. Ed.)
Center for Lifelong Education
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The purposes of this study were (a) to determine the levels of metacognition in developmental readers before and after ten weeks of instruction in metacognitive reading skills, (b) to examine differences in mastery of metacognitive skills determined by years away from secondary education, and (c) to investigate the effect of instruction in metacognitive skills on the improvement of reading comprehension in less-skilled readers.Participants in this study were 48 adult students (ages 19-56) enrolled in developmental reading courses at Indiana Vocational Technical College on the Muncie campus and at the Anderson site. Students responded to a 20-item, multiple-choice questionnaire, the Adult Index of Reading Awareness (AIRA), specifically formulated by the author to measure levels of metacognition in adult readers.In addition, the usual pre and post comprehension tests (Reading Comprehension, Forms A and B, of the College Board, ETS, Princeton, NJ, 1979) were administered both before and after instruction. Students also indicated the number of years they had been away from secondary education.Data were analyzed using the t test, the paired t test, and repeated-measures with one between-subjects factor to determine whether statistically significant relationships existed in regard to each of the research questions.Findings indicated that:Metacognitive reading awareness as measured by the AIRA significantly increased (.000 level) after ten weeks of instruction.Years away from secondary education did not significantly affect changes in the students' metacognitive awareness as measured by this instrument.There were no significant differences in comprehension growth scores between those who measured high in metacognition and those who scored low.Instruction in metacognitive reading skills significantly (.000 level) improved comprehension asmeasured by College Board Reading Comprehension tests.There were no significant differences in comprehension growth scores between students who graduated from high school within the last four years and those who had been away for five years or more.The following conclusions were drawn from this study: (a) Less-skilled adult readers can be taught the metacognitive reading skills which are acquired intuitively by effective readers. (b) Age is not a factor in increasing levels of metacognition in adults. (c) Instruction in metacognitive reading skills significantly improved comprehension scores of adult readers; therefore, instructors should include this skill instruction in developmental reading courses.