Numrich, 1989; Oxford, 1990). These strategies are identified as important cognitive strategies related to academic performance in the classroom because they can be applied to simple memory tasks (e.g., recall of information, words, or lists) or to more complex tasks that require comprehension of the information (e.g., understanding a piece of text) (Pintrich, 1999; Pintrich & Garcia, 1991; Weinstein & Mayer, 1986).
Weinstein and Mayer (1986) characterized those cognitive learning strategies into three main sets: rehearsal, elaboration, and organizational strategies. Rehearsal strategies involve underlining the text, saying a word or phrase aloud, or using a mnemonic. Though these strategies are passive activities, they are assumed to help students attend to and select important information from texts and keep this information active in working memory. Elaboration strategies include paraphrasing or summarizing the material to be learned, creating analogies, generative note-taking, explaining ideas to others, asking and answering questions about the text. The other type of deeper processing strategy, organizational, includes behaviors such as selecting the main idea from text, outlining the text to be learned, and using a variety of specific techniques for selecting and organizing the ideas in the material. According to Weinstein and Mayer, all of these organizational strategies can be used to test and confirm the accuracy of learner’s deeper understanding of the text.
18.104.22.168.3 Metacognitive Strategies
In addition to cognitive strategies, students’ metacognitive knowledge and use of metacognitive strategies may have an important influence upon their achievement. According to Chamot and Kupper (1989), metacognitve strategies involve thinking about the learning process, planning for learning, monitoring the learning task, and evaluating how well one has learned. Oxford (1990) proposed that metacognitve strategies should include three strategy sets: Centering, arranging and planning, as well as evaluating the learning produced. A similar model of metacognitve strategies proposed by Pintrich (1999) includes three more generalized types of strategies: Planning, monitoring, and regulating. Planning activities include setting goals for studying, skimming a text before reading, generating questions before reading a text, etc. According to Pintrich, planning activities seem to “help the learner plan their use of cognitive strategies and also seem to activate or prime relevant aspects of prior knowledge, making the organization and comprehension of the material much easier” (p. 461). Monitoring strategy is an essential aspect of self-regulated learning. Weinstein and Mayer (1986) regarded all metacognitive activities as partly the monitoring of comprehension where students check their understanding against some self-set goals. Monitoring activities include tracking of attention while reading a text, self-testing through the use of questions about the text material to check for understanding, etc. (Pintrich, 1999).
The other type of metacognitive strategies is regulatory strategy which is closely tied to monitoring strategies. According to Pintrich, as students monitor their learning and performance against some particular goal or criterion, “this monitoring process suggests the need for regulation processes to bring behavior back in line with the goal or to come closer to the criterion” (p. 461). In terms of regulatory activities, they include asking questions as students read in order to monitor their comprehension, slowing the pace of reading when confronted with more difficult text, reviewing the material while studying for an examination, and skipping questions and returning to them later, etc. Several studies have been conducted to show that all these strategies can enhance second/foreign language reading by correcting their studying behavior and repairing deficits in their understanding of the reading text (Carrell, 1989; Pintrich, 1999; Whyte, 1993).
22.214.171.124.4 Compensation Strategies
According to the literature, another factor resulting in successful reading comprehension is the development of vocabulary knowledge (Caverly, 1997; Yang, 2004). However, many EFL readers often encounter the problem of unfamiliarity with vocabulary or with unknown concepts which may interfere with comprehension (Zhang, 1993). As a result, several researchers suggest teaching students compensation strategies to arrive at comprehension (Oxford, 1990; Sinatra & Dowd, 1992; Zhang, 1993). Sinatra and Dowd (1992) proposed a comprehension framework for the use of context clues: syntactic clues (related to grammatical structures) and semantic clues (involved intra and inter-sentence meaning relationship). Sinatra and Dowd argued that readers should not only understand how the writer uses grammar, but also uses the semantic clues given, such as restatement, use of examples, and summary clues in order to guess the meaning of a new word. In addition, to guess the meaning of words intelligently, Oxford (1990) clustered 10 compensation strategies into two sets: linguistic clues (guessing meanings from suffixes, prefixes, and word order) and other clues (using text structure such as introductions, summaries, conclusions, titles, transitions, and using general background knowledge). These decoding skills can not only help readers overcome a limited vocabulary, but also make them guess about the theme of an article (Zhang, 1992 & 1993). Such learning strategies can significantly increase reading speed and raise reading efficiency (Winstead, 2004).
126.96.36.199.5 Scanning and Skimming Reading Strategies
Grellet (1981) states that “understanding written text means extracting the required information from it as efficiency as possible” (p.3). for instance, we may use vary reading strategies when reading newspaper ads to see if there is an advertisement for particular kind of apartment and when carefully reading an article in a significant journal. Yet locating the relevant advertisement in the newspaper and comprehending the new information contained in the article shows that the reading purpose in each case has been successfully fulfilled. In the first case, the reader will quickly reject the irrelevant information and find what he or she is looking for. In the second case, it is not enough to understand the gist of the text; more detailed comprehension is necessary.
Grellet (1981) also suggests that some elements such as the text-types one usually comes across, the main reasons for reading, and the main ways of reading be taken into consideration.
Regarding the ways of reading, Grellet (1981) introduces skimming, scanning, extensive and intensive reading as four main reading strategies. He adds that “these different ways of reading are not mutually exclusive. For example, one often skims through a passage to see what it is about before deciding whether it is worth scanning a particular paragraph for the information one is looking for” (p.4).
Chastain (1988), in the same manner, explains that “if the readers are not entirely convinced that the contents are worthwhile or interesting, they may skim the article for the first few pages of a novel to ascertain if initial reaction was correct” (p. 220).
According to Grellet (1981), “reading is a constant process of guessing, and what one brings to the text is often more important than what one finds in it” (p. 7). For him, skimming serves as an intermediate level between developing hypotheses and confirmation or revision of those hypotheses and guesses. This means that one does not read all the sentences in the same way, but one relies on a number of words, or ‘cues’ to get an idea of what kind of sentence (e.g. an example, an explanation) is likely to follow. The purpose of skimming is not necessarily getting an idea of a content of a text. According to him, “we may want to ascertain the structure of the passage or the tone of the
writer” (p. 82).
Saif (1995) enumerates several misconceptions that readers might have about reading. Among these misconceptions, two of them serve our purpose: first is that “some readers, especially students, believe when they read something, they should read every word”. This causes readers face the problem of finding enough time to read all their textbooks from cover to cover. Second is that” readers think that all texts should be read the same way” (p. 79). While, the way of reading depends on the type of material to be read and also the reader’s own purpose.
As matter of fact, Grellet (1981) suggests that scanning and skimming techniques be used to preview reading material, predict what the selection is about, and develop expectations about the content of the text.
Apps (1990) makes the following suggestions for previewing nonfiction books, as well as textbooks. These suggestions implicitly refer to skimming as turning to the title page, reading the author’s preface or introduction, examining the table of the contents, checking the bibliography, reading the publisher’s statement on the back cover or jacket, reading ‘about the author’ and selecting one or two chapters that seem central to the main topic. Saif (1995) comments that when you are in search of reference material for conducting a research project, only the information in some chapters might suffice for your purpose. Scanning, on the other hand, is a searching technique in which the reader tries to find answers to his or her questions in mind. Therefore, the reader misses man details in the material, because scanning involves not reading every word in the text.
On utilizing the scanning techniques, Saif (1995) presents suggestions as:
Fix your questions in mind.
Run your eyes as fast as possible down the pages or columns.
Disregard the information not related to your purpose, even if