Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Faculty of Education


How learners gain an understanding of and control over the task of reading is the question that was examined in this study, by reference to the notion of metacognition. When this notion is applied to reading it is possible to explore readers' knowledge of and control over their reading processes. A related question is whether there is any pattern of development over a broad age range, from early school years to adulthood. A final issue that was investigated was the effect metacognitive processes may have on reading processes.

To examine the development of metacognition in reading forty readers were studied, with equal numbers of 2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th grade and adults; each of these subgroups was divided equally according to reading proficiency. All readers read a complete narrative text orally; this reading was taped and then reading analysed using the Reading Miscue Inventory. They were asked to 'think aloud' about their processes in correcting miscues, and were asked to do the same at five points during a silent reading of a similar text.

The correction patterns and the protocols were analysed and revealed extensive evidence of readers' awareness of and control over their reading. Younger readers were not significantly less aware than older readers, but the less proficient were less flexible and less capable of utilising appropriate strategies to remedy comprehension problems. It was shown that there was an important link between metacognition and reading. Finally, there was a significant change over time in readers' understanding of language and this was strongly related to their reading proficiency.

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