1. Before students enter the classroom, write the following
journal prompt on the board:
“How often do you
read outside of school? Do you enjoy reading? What
kind of reading do you most enjoy? What goes on in
your mind while you are reading? Describe this process
and answer these questions in a journal entry of no
less than 1 page.”
the class enough time to write a substantial amount,
at least 1 page,
which should take about 10-15 minutes.
As students are finishing writing, you might ask a few
a short discussion about reading and review some of the
reading strategies that students learned
about last quarter. You may make a list of these strategies
on the board if you wish.
Explain to the class that they are going to learn about
reading strategy called “meta-cognitive
reading." Ask the class what they think “meta-cognitive” might
mean. You may allow a student to consult a dictionary,
which may not offer an immediate definition. Examine
the words “meta” and “cognitive,” helping
the class understand that “meta” means “beyond” or “behind,” and “cognitive” means “thinking.” If
we put these two words together, “meta-cognition” means
what goes on behind the scenes when you are thinking.
A simple way to remember this definition is to simplify
the class why “thinking
about your thinking” could help you be a better
reader. Do you think while you read? What kinds of
mind while you read?
Demonstrate for the class two techniques which help them
discover what they are thinking while they are reading.
that the problem with meta-cognition is that we can’t
really see what goes on in the brain while we are reading.
What we want to do is make these “invisible” processes
become visible to ourselves and to others so we can identify
our reading strengths and weaknesses.
first demonstration the teacher will do is with
the TV/VCR. Have a film clip
ready to show the class, preferably from a film not immediately
to teenagers. Instruct the class to watch the film clip
and to listen carefully to you; you will watch the clip
no sound and say aloud the thoughts that come to your
you watch. This is one representation of meta-cognitive
to the class that this same process can be done
a text. Proceed to read a section from an environmental
health article you have chosen, and after reading aloud
articulate your thoughts on what you are reading and
how you are reading. (Feel free to pause frequently
and sentences to insert your thoughts, such as emotional
responses, reflections, or what you do when you come
across an unfamiliar
Give students time to ask questions about the process,
hand out copies of a high interest article you
have selected. Place students in pairs and have them
practice reading and thinking aloud.
After about 5 minutes, switch to
thinking on paper and have students write down their
thoughts on post-it notes, note paper, or in the margins
Students may still be a little confused about
the process of meta-cognitive thinking at the end of the period.
Some may feel it is silly or embarrassing. Encourage the class
to keep an open mind and to try this technique as a way to
make their invisible thoughts become visible. Explain that
this will help them to identify more of their reading strengths
and weaknesses, which will be an asset to them as they strive
to become better readers.