Author(s):Lin Wu (presenting), Martin Valcke, Hilde Van Keer

Conference:ECER 2012, The Need for Educational Research to Champion Freedom, Education and Development for All

Network:21. Emerging Researchers' Group (for presentation at Emerging Researchers' Conference)


Session Information

ERG SES B 15, Secondary schools

Parallel Paper Session


Room:FCEE - S. 3

Chair:Daniel Fischer


Effects of Enhancing Strategy Use for Secondary Struggling Readers on Their Reading Comprehension, Motivation, and Metacognitive Awareness of Reading Strategies

Context and research problems

Reading can be considered as a basic skill for learning in school and for optimal functioning in our society. However, unfortunately a great number of students stay behind in reading and feel frustrated in their learning. Students who are successful in reading comprehension know how to read in a better way, but those who lack behind others fall short of way out. In recent years, remedial support for literacy is typically provided only at the elementary school level, thus students who enter secondary schools still struggling with reading tend to continue to struggle throughout their middle and high school years (Deshler, Palincsar, Biancarosa, & Nair, 2007; Roberts, Torgesen, Boardman, & Scammacca, 2008). With regard to reading difficulty, Scammacca et al. (2007) argued that adolescence is not too late to intervene and even older struggling readers can benefit from interventions focusing on comprehension strategies.


In the context of lacking intervention in older readers, effective measures are needed to help those struggling readers in middle school. Two relevant research questions are put forward in the present study:


1. What is the relationship between students’ metacognitive awareness of reading strategies, reading motivation, and reading comprehension?


2. What is the impact of an intervention focusing on reading strategy use on secondary struggling readers’ reading comprehension, motivation and metacognitive awareness of reading strategies?



The present study aims at revealing the effects of enhancing reading strategy use for secondary struggling readers on reading comprehension, motivation, and metacognitive awareness of reading strategies, and helping them to improve their reading skill by intensifying their reading strategies use.


Theoretical framework

Reading comprehension is “the process of simultaneously extracting and constructing meaning through interaction and involvement with written language” (RAND Reading Study Group, 2002, p.11), which is dynamic and complex. Skilled readers use many ways to comprehend texts, and they are characterized by better understanding and use of reading strategies (Brand-Gruwel, Aarnoutse, & Van Den Bos, 1998). Reading strategies facilitate text comprehension. However, not all readers discover and foster effective reading strategies by themselves. Many students fail to develop the prerequisite skills and knowledge that enable them to become good readers. Struggling readers cannot imploy effective reading strategies in gaining meaning from texts (Underwood, & Pearson, 2004). Explicit instruction in reading strategies appears to be effective in helping adolescent readers (Andreassen, & Bråten, 2011), expecially in helping struggling readers (Antoniou, & Souvignier, 2007). Besides reading strategies, reading motivation and metacognition in reading comprehension become key topics in reading research, and these factors are related with reading comprehension (Paris, & Oka, 1986). A flexible comprehension instruction may concern about not only reading comprenhension strategies, but also reading motivation and metacognition in reading process.


By intensifying reading stratergy instruction, we expect there are positive results on students’ reading comprehension, reading motivation, and metacognitive awareness of reading strategies in our researh.


The present research mainly used surveys and a quasi-experiment to collect data.


The sample for research question 1 comprised 2119 students from five middle schools in China. With regard to research question 2, 532 struggling readers from those schools were selected to enter the quasi-experiment after a screening test. Those students were divided into an experimental (n=261) and a control group (n=271).


The data were collected through three instruments: the Metacognitive Awareness of Reading Strategies Inventory: Chinese Version (MARSI-CN; Wu, Valcke, & Van Keer, 2011), Self-Regulated Learning Questionnaire: Reading Motivation (SRLQ-RM; De Naeghel, & Van Keer, 2010) and standardized reading comprehension tests developed by the researchers.


As to research question 1, the surveys with the MARSI-CN and the SRLQ-RM were carried out. Meanwhile, a reading comprehension test was organized.

As to research question 2, a quasi-experiment was conducted, lasting nine weeks. The pretest was administered before the intervention, and the posttest was administered at the end of the intervention. The students in the experimental group attended a 40 minutes class every week to enhance their reading strategy use, while the students in the control group attended normal classes.

Expected Outcomes

1. There are significant correlations between reading comprehension (RC), reading motivation (RM), and metacognitive awareness of reading strategies (MARS). The Pearson correlations between those factors are over .45 (r= .494 between RC & RM, r= .682 between RC & MARS, and r= .480 between RM & MARS).

2. Secondary struggling readers’ reading comprehension can be improved by enhancing reading strategy use. A T-Test at pretest revealed no significant differences in reading comprehension between students in the experimental and control group, while in order to examine the effects of the quasi-experiment, a one-way ANOVA at posttest indicates significant differences between the experimental and control group. An ANCOVA analysis also proves the positive influnce of reading strategy enhancement. Besides the enhancement of reading strategies, students’ previous reading performance is critically important.

3. Secondary struggling readers’ reading motivation can be improved by enhancing reading strategy use. An ANCOVA analysis indicates the positive influnce of reading strategy enhancement on their reading motivation.

4. Secondary struggling readers’ metacognitive awareness of reading strategies can be improved by enhancing reading strategy use. An ANCOVA analysis demonstrates the positive influnce of reading strategy enhancement on their metacognitive awareness of reading strategies.


Andreassen, R., & Bråten, I. (2011). Implementation and effects of explicit reading comprehension instruction in fifth-grade classrooms. Learning and Instruction, 21, 520-537.

Antonioul, F. & Souvignier, E. (2007). Strategy instruction in reading comprehension: An intervention study for students with learning disabilities. Learning Disabilities: A Contemporary Journal, 5, 41-57.

Brand-Gruwel, S., Aarnoutse, C. A. J., & Van Den Bos, K. P. (1998). Improving text comprehension strategies in reading and listening settings. Learning and Instruction, 8, 63–81.

De Naeghel, J. & Van Keer, H. (2010). The Relation between Elementary Students’ Recreational and Academic Reading Motivation, Reading Frequency, Engagement, and Comprehension: A Self-Determination Theory Perspective. (in press)

Deshler, D. D., Palincsar, A. S., Biancarosa, G., & Nair, M. (2007). Informed choices for struggling readers: A research-based guide to instructional programs and practices. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

Paris, S. G., & Oka, E. R. (1986). Children’s Reading Strategies, metacognition, and Motivation. Developmental Review, 6, 25-56.

RAND Reading Study Group. (2002). Reading for understanding: Toward a research and development in reading comprehension. Santa Monica, CA: RAND.

Roberts, G., Torgesen, J. K., Boardman, A., & Scammacca, N. (2008). Evidence-based strategies for reading instruction of older students with learning disabilities. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 23, 63-69.

Scammacca, N., Roberts, G., Vaughn, S., Edmonds, M., Wexler, J., Reutebuch, C. K., & Torgesen, J. K. (2007). Interventions or adolescent struggling readers: A meta-analysis with implications for practice. Portsmouth, NH: RMC Research Corporation, Center on Instruction.

Underwood, T. & Pearson P. D. (2004).Teaching struggling adolescent readers to comprehend what they read. In T. L. Jetton & J. A. Dole (Eds.), Adolescent literacy research and practice (pp 135-161). New York, USA: Guilford Press.

Wu, L., Valcke, M., & Van Keer, H. (2011). Validation of a Chinese Version of Metacognitive Awareness of Reading Strategies Inventory. (Summited for publication)

This proposal is part of a master or doctoral thesis.

Author Information

Lin Wu (presenting)
Ghent University
Educational Studies
Martin Valcke
Ghent University, Belgium
Hilde Van Keer
Ghent University, Belgium