What is reading comprehension? Comprehension is the “process of simultaneously extracting and constructing meaning through interaction and involvement with the written language” (Snow, 2002, p.11). Knowing different reading strategies is a great way for students work on building their comprehension skills. “Comprehension strategies are conscious, deliberate, and flexible plans readers use and adjust with a variety of texts to accomplish specific goals.” (Dole, Duffy, Roehler, & Pearson, 1991; Lenski & Nierstheimer, 2002). Strategies are cognitive tools that can be used to help break comprehension; using such strategies can improve a student’s academic performance immensely. Providing students with different comprehension strategies is critical for struggling readers, because they are unlikely to discover these strategies on their own.
In the 1970s and 1980s, comprehension strategy instruction became the center of most research. What the research had discovered was that good readers apply comprehension strategies with almost every reading task, where poor readers use fewer strategies. A great point is that “comprehension strategies can be taught, and strategy instruction will lead to improved comprehension for all students” (Block and Pressley, 2003; National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 200; Paris et al., 1991). The main goal of strategy instruction is to create self-regulated learners who can take their learned comprehension strategies and generalize it to other contexts. Self-regulated learners are capable of choosing different strategies that help them reach their goal. If that student sees the strategy to be ineffective, the student will automatically choose a different strategy. Furthermore, students need to have more than one comprehension strategy that they are fluent with to ensure they have options if one strategy is ineffective. Students are expected “to apply the learned strategy across conditions, settings, tasks, and contexts. Also known as transference, generalization means that students can apply the learned strategy in reading new and unfamiliar texts and situations.” (Pilonieta, 2010) According to Harris and Pressley (1991) generalization is most likely to occur when students are taught the different circumstances in which a strategy can be used and when students are presented with a lot of opportunities to practice the strategy with a wide range of materials and settings.
Explicit instruction of comprehension strategies is ideal, rather than instruction where students are expected to assume the lesson’s goals. It has been suggested that teachers should provide instructional cues to alert students of what will be learned during the guided practice. During strategy instruction, the types of cues that the teacher will provide should be guided. According to a study done by Paris et al. (1983) knowing the difference between declarative knowledge and procedural knowledge is extremely...