The Effect of Teaching Cognitive and Metacognitive Strategies on Reading Comprehension Ability

Document Type: Research Paper


1 Ahar Branch, Islamic Azad University, Ahar, Iran.

2 Ardabil Branch, Islamic Azad University, Ardabil, Iran


The demands of the changing world impose on learners the need to become autonomous readers. This places a responsibility on the shoulders of the teachers to develop an approach to teaching reading which will help readers become independent strategic ones. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of teaching reading strategies on the development of reading comprehension of Iranian EFL learners. An experimental design was adopted to accomplish this investigation. To do so, two intact classes of 35 students were selected. Then to find out the homogeneity of the participants, Oxford Placement Test was administrated to both classes’ among whom 60 students who scored above 47 were selected as homogeneous and were assigned to two experimental and control groups. The students in the experimental group participated in 10 sessions and were taught two strategies of reading comprehension: activating background knowledge and contextual strategies. At the same time, the materials in the control group were taught through conventional methods of reading and translating the texts into Persian. In the 10th session, the post-test was administrated to both groups. The results of the t-test confirmed the positive effect of reading strategies instruction on the development of reading comprehension ability. These findings may furnish language teachers with the empirical evidence that capitalizing on the students' awareness of the strategies and helping them to use these strategies will significantly develop their reading abilities.


Barnett, M. A. (1988). Teaching reading strategies: How methodology affects language course articulation. Foreign Language Annals, 21, 109–116.

Barnett, M. A. (1988). Reading through context: How real and perceived strategy use affects L2 comprehension. Modern Language Journal, 72(2), 150–162.

Beckman, P. (2002). Strategy instruction. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED474302)

Brown, H. D. (2000).Principle of language learning and teaching (4th ed.). Longman: New York.

Brown, H. D. (2001). Teaching by principles: An interactive approach to language pedagogy (2nd ed.). Longman: San Francisco State University.

Burke, M. E. (1997). Does the teaching of active learning strategies improve the reading comprehension of learning disabled students? Unpublished master’s thesis, Kean College, New Jersey.

Carter, R., & Nunan, D. (2001). Teaching English to the speakers of other languages. UK: Cambridge University Press.

Chamot, A. U. (2001). The role of learning strategies in second language acquisition. In M. P. Breen (Ed.), Learner contributions to language learning: New directions in research (pp. 25–43). London, England: Longman.

Chamot, A. U., & Kupper, L. (1989). Learning strategies in foreign language instruction. Foreign Language Annals, 22, 13–24.

Chamot, A. U., & O’Malley, J. M. (1990). Learning strategies in second language acquisition. New York:           Cambridge University Press.

Chastain, K. (1988/1998). Developing second language skills: Theory and practice (3rd ed). Boston: Harcourt Inc.

Chamot, A. U., & O’Malley, J. M. (1994). Language learner and learning strategies. In N. C. Ellis (Ed.), Implicit and explicit learning of languages (pp. 371–392). London: Academic.

Cohen, A. D. (1998). Strategies in learning and using a second language. NewYork: Longman.

Cohen, A. D. (1990). Language learning: Insight for learners, teachers, and researchers. New York: Newbury House.

Dakun, W. (2006). Learning strategies and implications for second language teaching. Indonesian Journal of English Language Teaching, 2(1), 72–82.

Farhady, H. (1998). Constructing reading comprehension text. Foreign Language Teaching Journal, 13(49), 37–48.

Hsiao, T., & Oxford, R. L. (2002). Comparing theories of language learning strategies: Confirmatory factor analysis. The Modern Language Journal, 86(3), 368–383.

Kazem pour, Y. (2007). Language learning strategies. Iranian EFL teachers’ and student perception. Unpublished master’s thesis, University of Tabriz, Iran.

Kern, R. (1989). Second language reading strategy instruction: Its effects on comprehension and world inference ability. Modern Language Journal, 73, 135–149.

Koda, K. (2004). Insights into second language reading: Across-linguistic approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Larsen-Freeman, D. (2003). Techniques and principle in language teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Lee, C. I. (2003). Promoting reading comprehension ability and vocabulary learning through collaborative strategic reading. Unpublished master's thesis, Taipei, Taiwan.

Lenski, S. D., & Nierstheimer, S. L. (2002).Strategy instruction from a sociocognitive perspective. Reading Psychology, 23, 127–143.

Malek, Z. (2008).McNamara, D. S. (2007). Reading comprehension strategies: Theories,interventions, andtechnologies. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Mirhassani, S. A. (1995). The process of reading. Foreign Language Teaching Journal, 11(5), 37–45.

Ok, L. K. (2003). The relationship of school year, sex, and proficiency on the use of learning strategies in learning English of Korean junior high school students. Asian EFL Journal, 5, 1–36.

O’Malley, J. M., & Chamot, A. U. (1990). Learning strategies in second language acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Oxford, R. L. (1990). Language learning strategies: What every teacher should know. New York: Newbury House.

Oxford, R. (1992/1993). Language learning strategies in a nutshell: Update and ESL suggestions. TESOL Journal, 2(2), 18–22.

Oxford, R. L., & Nyikos, M. (1989). Variables affecting the choice of language learning strategies by university students. The Modern Language Journal, 73(3), 291–300.

Phillips, D. (2007). Longman introductory course for the TOEFL iBT test. New York: Longman.

Rezapour, M. (2009). Strategy based instruction and its impact on the development of reading comprehension of Iranian EFL learner. Unpublished master’s thesis, University of Tabriz, Iran.

Richards, J. C., & Renandya, W. A. (2002). Methodology in language teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Rosershine, B., & Meister, C. (1994). Reciprocal teaching: A review of the research. Review of Educational Research, 64(4), 479–530.

Rubin, J. (1975). What the “good language learner” can teach us. TESOL Quarterly,9, 41–51.

Soleimani, M. M. (2008). Strategy teaching and its impact on reading comprehension in an EFL setting. Iranian EFL Journal, 2, 22–35.

Singhal, M. (1998). Reading comprehension in the second language classroom: A hands-on approach to teaching and learning reading strategies (Report No. ED424748).

Wenden, A. L. (1987). Conceptual background and utility. In A. L. Wenden & J. Rubin (Eds.), Learner strategies in language learning (pp. 3–13). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall International.

Zarei, N. SH. (2010). Effective reading. Roshd Magazine, 95, 45–49.