Simply put, metacognition is the ability to think about thinking. Metacognition implies an understanding of one’s own thought process. When reading, we instinctively infer meaning, deduce what the characters will do, make associations between earlier texts or quiz ourselves to understand what is happening. This goes beyond literal comprehension and factual knowledge.
When we metacognise we put information in context, connecting it to prior knowledge, interpreting, analyzing and contrasting it to previously held understanding with a view to revising that understanding. We employ all these metacognitive skills to detect the deep meaning – which is why I call it deep reading.
Children need to learn this skill. Some of them pick it up easily – these are the children who master fluency, decoding, vocabulary and language structure easily. By high school teachers assume all children have mastered it. The reality is many don’t and they struggle behind, not excelling where they should be. The good news is that metacognition can be taught and through practice – extensive practice – it will become second nature.
From deep reading and understanding – comes the ability to use the knowledge you have gained in all your reading to do something exciting, like:
- create or design
- generalise or reflect
- theorise or hypothesise
- employ critical thinking
- summarise or distill information to make it easier for others to understand
Metacognition Reading Strategies
A student needs to learn how to use metacognitive strategies to develop a deep understanding of the text. It’s skill that includes the following elements:
- Active reading strategies
- Fix up strategies
Think of metacognition as the pinnacle of reading – it will add a richness to your child’s enjoyment of reading and provide a life long skill essential for today’s knowledge economy.
Metacognitive Reading Tip #1
When your child is reading – get them to ask themselves the following questions:
For 7 Great Comprehension strategies check this out.
For more info on metacognition check out: