Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Metacognition and why it matters to kids when reading!

Cognition is thinking. Metacognition is simply put, thinking about thinking. Thinking about what you are reading. Being aware and in the moment. Thinking is what is going on inside your head. When a student is really reading they are thinking about the text. They may stop to wonder what will happen next. They may realize they feel a certain way about the text that they are reading. This is metacognition.
It is also about being aware of what we don’t know. Maybe something has not yet taken place in the text. The reader then uses problem-solving skills to determine what may happen next. If you are monitoring your own thoughts during reading this will help lead to deep reading comprehension, and this in turn, leads to more enhanced learning to take place.

There are four levels of metacognitive awareness when reading, according to Perkins (1992).
Levels of Metacognitive Awareness
1.      Tacit readers: lack awareness of their thinking
2.      Aware readers: know when meaning breaks down but no strategies to repair meaning
3.      Strategic readers: know when meaning breaks down and uses strategies to fix meaning
4.      Reflective readers: reflect on reading and intentionally apply strategies not only when meaning is lost but also to deepen understanding
How can we increase our students’ metacognitive abilities? By using teaching methods that are interactive, get students to think and question, and are explicitly taught. One example is a mini-lesson using the GIST Method.

GIST = Generating Interactions between Schemata & Text
Students use the GIST strategy to summarize a small passage into one sentence containing
the main “gist” of the section.
Discuss with students the skills of summarization (identifying main ideas & paraphrasing)
1. Select an article or portion of text and divide it into short passages (3-5 paragraphs each) & draw out 20 blanks.
2. Read the first paragraph.
3. Write a sentence summarizing the first paragraph using 25 blanks (one word per blank).
4. Read the second paragraph.
5. Write a 25-word statement about the first & second paragraphs combined.
6. Continue until the entire passage has been read & summarized using one sentence of
25 words.
There are many more teaching ideas like using graphic organizers, partner reading, using question cards, exit slips, talking about story elements, discussing the author’s purpose and retelling the text.
Make a retell bookmark, using color Post-It flags to mark the areas.
Setting-Where? When?
Problem-What is wrong?
Events-How does the character try to solve the problem?
Solution-How is the problem solved?
The most important tool for assisting with metacognition and comprehension is to activate prior knowledge. We want to bring information from long term memory into working memory so that we can add to it. The most effective way to do this is to question and have students also make predictions prior to reading the text.
I hope you find these ideas about metacognition and reading to be helpful.


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