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As stated, most strategies were applied when readers were interested in the material, with readers that were proficient, and when they were faced with abstract material.
Reading Strategies and Younger Learners
Various other studies in the area of reading strategies have found that younger and less proficient students use fewer strategies and use them less effectively in their reading comprehension (Garner, 1987; Waxman and Padron, 1987).
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This study also suggests that the use of negative strategies by Hispanic students, specifically strategies that are ineffectively applied, may be another factor other than English proficiency that interferes with their reading comprehension and hence reading achievement.
Overall, these studies suggest that high proficient students seem to use different strategies than low proficient students, and also appear to apply them more effectively.
Other studies have shown that students who use metacognitive strategies, such as those who monitor their reading comprehension, adjust their reading rates, consider the objectives and so on, tend to be better readers.
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Among the non-proficient readers Block investigated, one group which she designated as "integrators", integrated information, were generally aware of text structure, responded in an extensive mode by dealing with the message conveyed by the author, and monitored their understanding consistently.
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The ESL group, of more advanced proficiency levels, tended to be more global (used background knowledge, text gist, and textual organization) or top-down in their perceptions of effective and difficulty-causing reading strategies, while the Spanish-as-a-foreign language group, at lower proficiency levels tended to be more local or bottom-up, perhaps because they may have been more dependent on bottom-up decoding skills.
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The unsuccessful reader on the other hand, lost the meaning of the sentences when decoded, read in short phrases, pondered over inconsequential words, seldom skipped words as unimportant, and had a negative self-concept.
Block (1986) also used a think-aloud procedure in her study of non-proficient readers from which she was able to obtain information about four characteristics, namely integration, recognition of aspects of text structure, use of general knowledge, personal experiences and associations, and response in extensive versus reflexive modes which differentiated successful from less successful, non-proficient readers.
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Given the above discussion, there appears to be a strong relationship between reading strategies used by readers, metacognitive awareness, and reading proficiency.
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Better readers also have an enhanced metacognitive awareness of their own use of strategies and what they know, which in turn leads to greater reading ability and proficiency (Baker & Brown, 1984; Garner, 1987; Pressley & Afflerbach, 1995).
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Although it is not possible to cover the range of studies conducted in this area, this paper will address the following questions: 1) How can the relationship between reading strategies, metacognitive awareness, and reading proficiency be characterized?