Implications for Reading Instruction

Self-Regulated Learning and Reading Comprehension

Academic Paper, 2018

17 Pages


1. Introduction

Literacy is crucial for human life. It is the means whereby people can communicate and exchange information in different fields. A literate community is a dynamic community in which people have access to share knowledge, communicate effectively and indulge in different aspects of social dialogue. It is hence the significance of learning the basic form of literacy, i.e. reading.

Reading, in this concern, is vital for engaging in the worldwide society of literacy and knowledge. That is why governments all over the world exert much effort on reading and literacy programs. For instance, Zimmerman (2012), hinting at the vitality of reading, pointed that poor reading comprehension skills or the failure to keep on reading is a pathway to failure. Reading is by no means unlimited to just alphabet learning or passing exams at school levels, but it has to do with one’s daily needs. Such needs may range from simple reading a telephone number or skimming a sign for an important address to reading textbooks at college level.

Nevertheless, the domain of teaching reading still witnesses a wide range of problems that may range from text-related issues (such as readability) to teaching methods and students’ readiness and motivation for reading. Irujo (2007, 6) indicated that ―Reading comprehension instruction for English language learners (ELLs) needs to be modified to address their needs.‖ Additionally, August and Shanahan (2006) indicated that instruction in the key components of reading is necessary, but not sufficient. That is to say, teaching reading has to be more student- centered, taking into consideration students’ different reading abilities and interests, comprehension and individual abilities.

The idea of students’ integration in the process of teaching reading highlights an old concept that first emerged in the psychology field, particularly in the educational psychology. It is the concept of self- regulation which is, as a start, an approach that includes a number of interconnected cognitive and metacognitive strategies that aim at helping students self-control their thoughts, feelings and mental processes to understand study materials. Zimmerman (1989a, 329) pointed out that ―In general, students can be described as self-regulated to the degree that they are metacognitively, motivationally and behaviorally active participants in their own learning process‖. It is a concept that highlights the modern pedagogical principle that the student is the center of the learning process. Since teachers have to give a wider space for students to think, try, practice and learn new knowledge and skills, researchers in different fields have spotted more light on self-regulation and how it can be applied in the field of pedagogy and teaching methods.

Ma Ping (2012) clarified that since the 1980s, a number of researchers have embraced the concept of self-regulated learning (SRL) into teaching practices and methods. There is a body of literature in this regard including models of the SRL-based teaching that were designed in order to adopt and integrate the theoretical conceptions of self-regulation into practice teaching.

Furthermore, Nilson (2013) mentioned that the roots of self-regulated learning date back to social cognitive theorists who investigated how children could achieve self-control. In this regard, self-regulated learning can be viewed as a multi-dimensional activity that involves cognitive, metacognitive, emotional and behavioral activities as for the learner so that it confirms the principle of students’ independence in learning.

The majority of self-regulated learning models centered on the self- control processes right from beginning a learning task until self- evaluation. In their social cognitive models of self-regulation, researchers such as Zimmerman and Schunk (2011), being prominent figures in the self-regulated learning sub-field, discussed separate phases of self- regulation: The first phase is forethought and planning, where the individual plans his or her motivational beliefs, values and activities. The second is the performance phase that involves monitoring of both performance and motivation in order for learners to control the learning determinants such as distractions. The third phase is reflection where learners have to judge their learning and self-evaluate their learning goals and outcomes based on some performance standards.

Self-regulation includes a set of strategies that can be applied to a plethora of settings. As for such strategies, Banisaeid and Huang (2014, 243) stated that ―self-regulation includes learning different strategies: metacognitive strategies (how to set goals, evaluate, plan and monitor one’s learning) as well as some affective factors such motivation and self- efficacy‖. Strategies of self-regulation are directed to help learners develop their abilities to control their motivation, attribution beliefs and cognitive and metacognitive abilities in order to make sense of what they study. Consequently, the acquisition and use of self-regulated learning strategies (SRLSs) is expected to create more strategic, self-directed and successful learners. Based on such a claim, many self-regulated learning models are being suggested as teaching interventions that aimed at investigating the effect of using such self-regulated learning strategies on students’ achievement, comprehension and some psychological concepts such as self-efficacy and self-concept.

As far as teaching reading is concerned, a plethora of research provides a proof for the validity and effectiveness of teaching reading through self-regulation. In his study, Kumi-Yeboah (2012) found that self-regulated processes promote the basic reading skills in a social studies content. In addition, a study by Ghanizadeh (2012) investigated the relationship among Iranian English majors' self-regulation, critical thinking ability and their language achievement. The study found that English majors' self-regulation can predict about 53 % of their language achievement while their critical thinking ability tends to predict about 28% of achievement. Furthermore, Antoniou and Souvenir (2007) investigated using self-regulated learning to foster reading comprehension and help students with learning disabilities (LDs) to overcome reading difficulties. The study revealed that teaching reading strategies and guiding students towards self-regulated learning strategies are promising approaches to foster reading comprehension for students with learning disabilities. In sum, such studies are just a hint at what research has found about the validity of self-regulated learning strategies in teaching contexts, especially with respect to the variety of school or college curricula.

On the other side, reading comprehension has a central position in the domain of language teaching. Comprehension is mainly the process of deriving meaning from a connected text, a process that involves lexical knowledge as well as thinking and reasoning. Comprehension is thus the goal that a reader tries to achieve where he/she has to exert great effort.

Good readers usually follow a number of what is called comprehension strategies. In this regard, Harvey and Goudvis (2000) mentioned that the reader begins to construct meaning by previewing the text. During reading, comprehension is built through predicting what is coming next in a piece of paper, inferring, making connections with the text and summarizing questions that arise. After reading, deeper meaning is constructed through reviewing, rereading portions of the text, discussion and thoughtful reflection. During each of these phases, the reader relates the text to his/her own life experiences.

There are various approaches to teaching reading; for example, one approach deals with reading holistically while the other tends to approach reading based on a number of sub-skills. In this connection, some reading specialists have listed some components and ∕or sub-skills of reading comprehension. McEwan (2004), for example, mentioned seven strategies (sub-skills) necessary for comprehension: activating prior knowledge, inferring, questioning, monitoring, searching, visualizing, organizing and summarizing. In addition, according to the International Reading Association (IRA, 2003, 2), ―The conviction emerged that the four powerful comprehension strategies are those worth teaching well and deeply: particularly, inferring, creating meaningful connections, self- regulating, and summarizing‖. These strategies spot light on the active that the reader has to adopt in his/her pursuit to achieve comprehension. Furthermore, Moore (2016) stated that when low-achieving adolescent readers learn to apply strategies, they can improve their comprehension, including: planning and monitoring, questioning, drawing inferences and making connections. Consequently, effective comprehension instruction requires helping learners to use a variety of strategies rather than adopting only one approach to reading--that is characterized by learners' individual reading differences. Helping readers to choose which strategy to use and when to use it is then an important component of effective reading instruction.

Reading sub-skills in this respect can be considered the building blocks of the reading skill as a whole. Reading is, generally, a complex process that depends on mastering a variety of skills. The idea is that an effective teacher is the one who provides students with a variety of strategies to develop a wide range of different reading sub-skills. Pan (2009) concluded that the sub-skill approach to teaching reading is the one that gives students the chance to acquire and practice every detailed reading sub-skill. Thus, they can determine which skills they really need based on classroom practices and reading activities.

In view of the above, it is reasonable to adopt a new teaching methodology in the light of an approach that fosters students’ independence and motivation. This is the teacher's role: to be open- minded toward students’ issues and to give them time and effort to take their personal needs and interests into consideration in language classes. As a consequence, here is the significance of self-regulated learning with its wide range of reading strategies.


Excerpt out of 17 pages


Implications for Reading Instruction
Self-Regulated Learning and Reading Comprehension
English Teaching
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implications, reading, instruction, self-regulated, learning, comprehension
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Mohammad Makram (Author), 2018, Implications for Reading Instruction, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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