Understanding the Impact of Metacognitive Strategies on Action Research in Enhancing Reading Comprehension


Reading comprehension is a complex skill that involves a range of cognitive processes, such as decoding, vocabulary knowledge, background knowledge, and metacognition. Metacognitive strategies, or “thinking about thinking,” refers to mental processes that help learners monitor, regulate, and evaluate their learning. Examples of metacognitive strategies include setting goals, planning, self-monitoring, self-evaluation, and self-reflection.

Recently, there has been a growing interest in using action research to improve reading comprehension. Action research is a collaborative, systematic, and self-reflective approach to improving teaching and learning. It involves identifying an area of concern, collecting data, analyzing it, implementing changes, and evaluating the outcomes. By using action research, educators can systematically investigate the impact of metacognitive strategies on reading comprehension and tailor their instruction accordingly.

This article examines the role of metacognitive strategies in action research on reading comprehension, highlighting the importance of integrating these strategies into teaching and providing practical guidance for educators and education professionals.

The Importance of Metacognitive Strategies in Reading Comprehension

Metacognitive strategies have been found to play a crucial role in reading comprehension. Using these strategies, learners can become more aware of their thinking processes while reading, set goals, monitor their comprehension, and adjust their reading strategies accordingly. Metacognitive strategies can also help learners identify gaps in their understanding, clarify confusing concepts, and recall information more effectively.

Research has shown that teaching metacognitive strategies can significantly improve reading comprehension. For example, Baker and Brown (1984) found that teaching metacognitive strategies to struggle readers substantially improved reading comprehension. Similarly, a meta-analysis by Swanson (1999) found that metacognitive interventions had a moderate to significant effect on reading comprehension.

Action Research and Metacognitive Strategies

Action research provides educators with a systematic, collaborative, and data-driven approach to integrating metacognitive strategies into teaching. Using action research, educators can identify areas of concern, collect data on student learning, analyze the data, and implement changes based on the findings. Action research can help educators understand how learners use metacognitive strategies, what works best, and how to adjust their instruction to meet the needs of diverse learners.

When using action research to promote metacognitive strategies, educators can consider the following steps:

  1. Identify an area of concern: Consider areas where students struggle with reading comprehension, such as vocabulary knowledge, making inferences, or identifying main ideas.
  2. Collect data: Collect data on student reading comprehensions, such as test scores, written reflections, or think-aloud protocols.
  3. Analyze the data: Analyze the data to identify patterns, strengths, and weaknesses in student learning.
  4. Develop and implement interventions: Develop and implement interventions based on the data analysis, such as teaching specific metacognitive strategies, providing feedback, or using graphic organizers.
  5. Evaluate outcomes: Evaluate the effects of the interventions by collecting data on student learning, such as test scores, observations, or student reflections.

Educators can promote more effective learning and improve student reading comprehension outcomes by using action research to integrate metacognitive strategies into teaching.

Practical Guidance for Integrating Metacognitive Strategies into Teaching

Integrating metacognitive strategies into teaching can be challenging, but educators can use various methods to make it more effective. Here is some practical guidance for incorporating metacognitive strategies into teaching:

  1. Model metacognitive strategies: Model metacognitive strategies by thinking aloud while reading and explicitly teaching students how to use them.
  2. Use graphic organizers: Use graphic organizers to help students visualize their thinking, plan their reading, and monitor their comprehension.
  3. Provide feedback: Provide feedback to students on using metacognitive strategies, such as praising the good plans or correcting errors in thinking.
  4. Teach self-reflection: Teach self-reflection by having students reflect on their thinking processes, identify strengths and weaknesses, and set goals for future learning.
  5. Differentiate instruction: Differentiate instruction to meet the diverse needs of learners by tailoring instruction to their metacognitive strengths and weaknesses.

By using these strategies, educators can effectively integrate metacognitive strategies into teaching and improve reading comprehension outcomes for students.


Reading comprehension is a complex skill that involves a range of cognitive processes, including metacognition. Metacognitive strategies can play a crucial role in improving reading comprehension outcomes for learners, and action research can provide a systematic and collaborative approach to integrating these strategies into teaching. Educators can use a range of practical strategies, such as modeling, graphic organizers, feedback, self-reflection, and differentiation, to effectively integrate metacognitive strategies into teaching and improve reading comprehension outcomes for learners.

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