Reading Comprehension and Metacognition in Science: Status, Potential and Future Direction.


A central focus in the study of metacognition is that readers need to recognize what they know about a topic, they need to realize when they have read something they do not understand, and they need to know how to remediate any discrepancies in their understanding. This paper is presented in three sections. The first section discusses what is known from research about teaching students to read scientific text. The discussion includes a review of research reporting on strategies that are effective in helping students read scientific text, research on strategies and other types of metacognitive reading instruction, and research on students’ misconceptions about science. The second section provides an assessment of current research efforts involving the interactive-constructive model of reading. The third section suggests topics for future research that can provide insights into teaching students to read and learn from scientific text. Topics that examine the relationships between learners, hands-on science activities, and science reading comprehension include: (1) the relationship between metacognitive strategies and learning science in general; (2) the effects of preconceptions and misconceptions on the comprehension of science and methods of affecting conceptual change in students at grade levels; (3) the relationship between problem solving in science activities and problem solving in science reading; (4) effective use of text-processing strategies for students at each grade level; (5) Enhancement projects directed toward scientific literacy that includes science reading of all types of materials; and (6) comprehension instruction in science.