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Australian Journal of Learning Disabilities

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This study assessed the effectiveness of a metacognitive and reciprocal teaching approach for improving the word identification and reading comprehension skills of upper primary readers experiencing difficulty in a regular classroom situation. To improve word identification skills, subjects in the main training condition were given metacognitive training in the analysis and monitoring of word identification strategies. Reciprocal teaching procedure, incorporating the above word identification strategies, were used for comprehension training.

Subjects in the main training condition received the combined metacognitive word identification and reciprocal teaching program (n=25). Subjects in two other conditions received either traditional classroom word identification and comprehension activities (n=27) or reciprocal teaching comprehension combined with traditional methods for identifying unfamiliar words (n=22). Measures of improvements in word identification, metacognitiive awareness of word identification strategies, and comprehension were taken on several occasions during the study, which took place over an 8 month period in a school year.

Results indicated that a combination of metacognitive word identification strategies and reciprocal teaching for comprehension was clearly more effective than traditional classroom word identification and comprehension activities or reciprocal teaching for comprehension with traditional methods of word identification. Results also indicated that a classroom-based model of implementation appears to be more successful when teachers (not researchers) have responsibility for its implementation. The implications of these findings for classroom practice are discussed, along with the limitations of the study and suggestions for further research.

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