The role of metacognitive reading strategies in children’s scores on history and geography: effects and non-effects of reading strategies, school grade and language background.

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Previous studies have shown that reading comprehension is a difficult and demanding task for children, and that providing instruction in reading comprehension can be a complex task for teachers (e.g. Massey & Heafner, 2004; Moje, Young, Readence, & Moore, 2000; Stoeldraijer & Vernooy, 2011). Moreover, reading comprehension skills seem to affect scores on mathematics and societal studies, because these school domains are often presented in a verbal format (e.g. Bauman & Serra, 1984; Carpenter et al., 1980). The present study aimed to gain more insight into the effects of metacognitive reading strategies on the verbal school domains history and geography. Study 1 focused on children who completed a course in language and reading comprehension that also focuses extensively on metacognitive reading strategies. The results showed that children obtained higher scores in reading comprehension, spelling, and grammar after completion of the course. The reversed effect was found for vocabulary. Then, study 2 made the connection with children’s scores on history and geography. Participants were divided into an experimental group with children who followed the language course, and a control group with children who followed a mathematical course that does not focus on the metacognitive reading strategies. The results showed that children who followed the mathematical course scored significantly higher than the children who followed the language course on the total score of the test and on the total score of the non-linguistic questions. There were no significant differences found between the two groups on the score of the linguistic questions. Besides this result, the monolingual children significantly outperformed the multilingual children regarding their total score on this history and geography test. These findings contribute to the understanding of effects of reading comprehension and reading strategies on other school domains and may therefore have implications for schools, test constructors, and programs that focus on reading comprehension and other verbal school domains.
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