Best Practice

Using metacognition to improve reading comprehension

Leveraging metacognition learning strategies to improve reading comprehension has huge potential to boost literacy and therefore improve outcomes across secondary school subjects. Debbie Tremble looks at the research and some practical ideas for the classroom
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The Education Endowment Foundation’s Teaching and Learning Toolkit suggests that metacognition and reading comprehension strategies have the highest impact on student progress for the lowest cost and with the strongest evidence base (EEF, 2021; Quigley et al, 2018).

At secondary level, both approaches are shown to improve student progress by up to an additional seven months across a year’s study.

And so it perhaps makes perfect sense to leverage metacognition to improve reading comprehension in secondary schools.

Reading comprehension is the foundation for all other academic skills. Ofsted’s research report, Now the whole school is reading (2022) states: “As the secondary curriculum places increasing demands on reading comprehension, older pupils who struggle with reading comprehension do not catch up.”

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