Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 372

Title

Author(s)

Cognitive reading strategies instruction for children with


specific language impairment

Lau, Ka-ming.; .

Citation

Issued Date

URL

Rights

2012

http://hdl.handle.net/10722/173863

The author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights)


and the right to use in future works.

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION


FOR CHILDREN
WITH
SPECIFIC LANGUAGE IMPAIRMENT

by
Lau Ka Ming

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements


for the Degree of Doctor of Education at the University of Hong Kong

April 2012

Abstract of thesis entitled

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION

FOR CHILDREN

WITH

SPECIFIC LANGUAGE IMPAIRMENT

Submitted by

Lau Ka Ming

For the degree of Doctor of Education at the University of Hong Kong in

April 2012

The primarily goal of this study was to examine the patterns of cognitive and
language processing of children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI) and how
they related to their text comprehension, interpreted within constructivism. The study
aimed to characterize the difference in language, character decoding, metacognitive
i

processing and text comprehension between children with SLI and those under typical
development; to identify the inter-relationships among their language processing,
character decoding, metacognitive processing and text comprehension; and to
investigate how the implementation of cognitive reading strategies instruction change
their language processing, character decoding, metacognitive processing, belief
towards reading and text comprehension. Two studies were carried out.

In Study One, 73 participants were recruited from two Hong Kong primary
schools; they were at second and third grade, 42 were diagnosed of SLI and the other
were under typical development. Standardized instruments were used to tap childrens
language processing and character decoding respectively. Researcher developed
Metacognitive Processing Scale were adopted to rate their metacognitive and deep
processing of text. A set of comprehension test, comprised of forced-choice inferential
questions and two recall tasks, were used to assess their depth in understanding
different types of text. Analyses indicated that SLI students did not only score poorer
in language processing, but also in character decoding, metacognitive processing and
text comprehension. Further analyses of both the entire sample and the SLI sample,
indicated that there were significant correlations between character decoding,
language processing, metacognitive processing with childrens text comprehension
scores.
ii

In Study Two, there were 40 participants recruited from the SLI sample of the
Study One. Cognitive reading strategy instruction program were developed. 21
participants was randomly selected to receive the experimental instruction and the
another 19 were under conventional instruction as control. Besides the measures used
in the Study One, interviews and teacher-reporting questionnaires were used to tap
childrens belief towards reading and their classroom engagement. Analysis of
pre-instruction and post-instruction tests indicated the experimental children showed
significantly better progress on their oral language, text comprehension and belief
about reading. Both the experimental and the control group showed similar progress
on character decoding.

The study offers both theoretical and educational contribution on the literacy
development among the population of SLI. It identifies the role of metacognitive
processing on literacy achievement. It provides the evidence of implementing
cognitively-based reading strategies for literacy instruction for children with SLI
within Chinese context. Upon the introduction of inclusive education, teachers now
face students with much wider diversity, including a significant number of children
with SLI. Possible collaboration between frontline teachers and speech therapists in
designing potential classroom activities is discussed.

iii

DECLARATION

I declare that this thesis represents my own work, except where due acknowledgement
is made, and that it has not been previous included in a thesis, dissertation or report
submitted to this University or to any other institution for a degree, diploma or other
qualifications

Signed

__________________

Lau Ka Ming

iv

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

The completion of the research process depends on the support and assistance
from a number of organizations and people. Without their help, this study would
never have been possible.

First of all, I would like to express my deepest thanks to my primary supervisor,


Dr. Carol, K. K. Chan, from whom I received much valuable intellectual support and
guidance during the whole period of the study.

Second, I would like to offer my thanks to my co-supervisor, Dr. Jan, van Aalst,
as well as other academic colleagues, Dr. Carol To, Dr. Sam Winter, and Dr. Anita
Wong for their professional comments, encouragement and support.

I would like to express my deepest appreciation to the 73 parents who share their
agreed their children to participate in the study. I am also deeply indebted to the
center-in-charge and staff of the schools who facilitate data collection in this study.
Their cooperation and assistance determine the success of this study. I would also like
to express my thank to Mr. Robert James for their excellent editing work.

This present study was financial supported by the Faculty Research Fund,
Faculty of Education, the University of Hong Kong.

Lau Ka Ming
v

CONTENTS
Abstract

Declaration

iv

Acknowledgement

Table of Contents

vi

List of Figures

xiii

List of Tables

xiv

List of Appendices

xix

Chapter 1
1.1.

Introduction

The Contextual Background of the Study

1.1.1. Academic challenges arising from Specific Language Impairment


1.2.

Theoretical Background of the Study

1
2
4

1.2.1. Metacognition and learning-to-read

1.2.2. Significance of cognitive reading strategies

1.3.

Research Goals

1.3.1. Research objective

1.3.2. Research approach

1.3.3. Research significance

10

1.4.

Overview of the Dissertation

Chapter 2

12

Literature Review

14

2.1.

Overview

14

2.2.

Specific Language Impairment (SLI) and Reading Difficulties

15

2.2.1. The quadrant model

18
vi

2.2.2. Multiple-deficit hypothesis

21

2.2.3. Summary

24

2.3.

Metacognition and Literacy Development

2.3.1. Constructivism and different reading models

26
27

2.3.1.1. Top-down model

32

2.3.1.2. Down-top model

33

2.3.1.3. Interactive model

34

2.3.1.4. Interactive compensatory model

34

2.3.2. Metacognition and constructivism

35

2.3.2.1. C-O-P-E-S model

37

2.3.2.2. Constructive responsive reading

39

2.3.3. Metacognitive processing and reading strategies

41

2.3.4. Beliefs about reading

53

2.3.5. Summary

54

2.4.

Cognitive Reading Strategies Instruction

57

2.4.1. Evidence-based practice for children under typical development

61

2.4.2. Evidence-based practice for children with learning disadvantage

70

2.4.2.1. Single cognitive reading strategy instruction

72

2.4.2.2. Multiple cognitive reading strategies instruction

76

2.4.2.3. Evidence-based practices for children with SLI

79

2.4.3. Evidence-based practice in Chinese context

85

2.4.4. Summary

90

2.5.

Current Approaches to SLI Reading Remediation

2.5.1. Traditional and contemporary SLI treatments


2.6.

Education Context for SLI Reading Problems

vii

92
93
96

2.6.1. Conventional Chinese language teaching

97

2.6.2. Inclusive policy for children with SLI

99

2.6.3. Summary

101

2.7.

The Present Study

103

2.7.1. The research questions

106

2.7.1.1. The first research question

107

2.7.1.2. The second research question

109

Chapter 3

Study One Materials and Method

113

3.1.

Overview

113

3.2.

Research Design

114

3.2.1. Participants

114

3.2.1.1. Inclusion and exclusion criteria


3.3.

Procedure

115
116

3.3.1. Standardized tests

119

3.3.1.1. Non-verbal intelligence

120

3.3.1.2. Character decoding

120

3.3.1.3. Oral language

121

3.3.2. Researcher-developed instruments

124

3.3.2.1. Text comprehension

125

3.3.2.2. Metacognitive processing

130

3.4. Scale Construction

134

3.4.1. Method of scale development

134

3.4.2. Metacognitive processing scale description

136

3.5. Chapter Summary

144

viii

Chapter 4

Study One Results

146

4.1.

Overview

146

4.2.

Demographic Distribution

146

4.2.1. Demographic distribution between schools

146

4.2.2. Demographic distribution between samples

148

4.3.

Data and Measures

150

4.3.1. Descriptive statistics

150

4.3.2. Correlation analyses

151

4.4.

Relationship between processing and outcome

4.4.1. Factor analyses and reliability

153
153

4.4.1.1. Oral language

154

4.4.1.2. Text comprehension

154

4.4.1.3. Metacognitive processing

155

4.4.2. Correlation between factor scores

156

4.4.2.1. Typical development sample

157

4.4.2.2. The SLI sample

158

4.4.3. Regression analyses

159

4.5.

4.4.3.1. Typical development sample

161

4.4.3.2. The SLI sample

163

Group comparison

165

4.5.1. Factor scores

165

4.5.2. Oral language scores

167

4.5.3. Metacognitive processing scores

168

4.5.4. Text comprehension scores

169

4.5.5. Potential language covariates in group comparison

170

ix

4.6.

Chapter summary

Chapter 5

171

Study Two Materials and Method

173

5.1.

Overview

173

5.2.

Research Design

175

5.2.1. Sampling and procedure

176

5.2.2. Measurements

179

5.3.

5.2.2.1. Measures already mentioned in Study one

180

5.2.2.2. Measures for study two only

181

Scale Construction

185

5.3.1. Reading beliefs scale description


5.4.

186

Instruction

195

5.4.1. Teaching environment and settings

196

5.4.1.1. Teaching resource

197

5.4.1.2. Home practice

198

5.4.2. Cognitive reading strategies program

198

5.4.2.1. Narrative text instruction

203

5.4.2.2. Expository text instruction

205

5.4.3. Conventional comprehension program

206

5.5. Chapter Summary

207

Chapter 6

209

Study Two Results

6.1.

Overview

209

6.2.

Demographic Distribution

210

6.3.

Empirical Findings

213

6.3.1. Descriptive statistics


6.4.

213

Group Comparison

216

6.4.1. Oral language

216

6.4.2. Metacognitive processing

219

6.4.3. Text comprehension

221

6.4.4. Character decoding

224

6.4.5. Beliefs about reading

225

6.5.

Relationship between Processing and Outcome

6.5.1. Correlation analyses

231
231

6.5.1.1. Experimental group

234

6.5.1.2. Control group

234

6.5.2. Regression analyses

235

6.5.2.1. Experimental group

235

6.5.2.2. Control group

237

6.5.3. Correlation between processing, outcome and beliefs about reading

239

6.6.

Ecological Validity

241

6.7.

Chapter Summary

243

Chapter 7

Discussions

246

7.1.

Overview

246

7.2.

Summary of Findings

247

7.3.

Metacognitive Processing of Children with SLI

253

7.3.1. The nature of metacognitive processing

254

7.3.2. Metacognitive processing between SLI and Regular children

257

7.3.3. Relations of metacognitive processing with related measures

260

xi

7.4.

Instructional Effect

262

7.4.1. Improvement on reading and language

263

7.4.1.1. Effects on text comprehension

263

7.4.1.2. Effects on metacognitive processing

266

7.4.1.3. Effects on beliefs about reading

269

7.4.1.4. Effects on character decoding

272

7.4.1.5. Effects on oral language

274

7.4.1.6. Effects on classroom learning

277

7.4.2. How cognitive reading strategies instruction promotes text

279

comprehension
7.5.

Contribution and Significances

284

7.5.1. Identification of metacognitive processing deficit among children

284

with SLI
7.5.2. Cross-cultural relevance

285

7.5.3. Introduction of reading strategies instruction on children with SLI

286

7.6.

Framework to describe the Reading Process

288

7.7.

Limitations and Further Research

291

7.8.

Concluding Remarks

299

Reference

302

Appendices

311

xii

LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 2-1

The Quadrant Model

19

Figure 2-2

The C-O-P-E-S Model of Self-regulated Learning

38

Figure 2-3

Model of Text Comprehension

40

Figure 2-4

Cognitive Reading Strategies Instruction within the Education

102

Context
Figure 2-5

The Theoretical Framework

105

Figure 5-1

Flow Chart of Study Two

177

Figure 6-1

Distribution of Rating on Interview Question 1

228

Figure 6-2

Distribution of Rating on Interview Question 2

228

Figure 6-3

Distribution of Rating on Interview Question 3

229

Figure 6-4

Distribution of Rating on Interview Question 6

230

Figure 6-5

Distribution of Rating on Interview Question 5

231

Figure 6-6

Distribution of Rating on Interview Question 7

231

xiii

LIST OF TABLES
Table 2-1

Summary of Studies on Metacognitive Processing since 1980s

52

Table 2-2

Summary of Studies on Cognitive Reading Strategies

69

Instruction Programs from 2000-2009


Table 2-3

Summary of Cognitive Reading Strategies Instruction Programs

82

for Disadvantaged Children between 1980 to 2010


Table 2-4

Metacognitive Processing Components

104

Table 3-1

General Procedure of Study One

118

Table 3-2

The Summary of Standardized Tests used in the Study One

119

Table 3-3

The Summary of Researcher-developed Instruments used in

125

Study One
Table 3-4

The Description of the Recall Scale

129

Table 3-5

The Rating Scale for Measuring Childrens Prediction from the

138

Text
Table 3-6

The Rating Scale for Measuring Childrens Usage of the Text

140

Information to Identify and Solve Problems


Table 3-7

The Rating Scale for Measuring Childrens Questioning from

142

the Text
Table 3-8

The

Rating

Scale

for

Measuring

Childrens

Theme 144

Identification from the Text

Table 4-1

Participants Grade Distribution between Schools

147

Table 4-2

Participants Sex Distribution between Schools

148

Table 4-3

Distribution of Sex, Age and Non-verbal Intelligence between

149

xiv

Samples
Table 4-4

Means and Standard Deviations of Participants Language,

151

Character decoding, Metacognitive Processing and Text


Comprehension Scores between Samples
Table 4-5

Partial Correlation Matrix of All Variables Measured

152

Table 4-6

Component Matrices and Component Score Coefficient

154

Matrices on Oral Language and Text Comprehension Construct


Table 4-7

Means and Standard Deviation of Factor Scores between

156

Samples
Table 4-8

Partial Correlation Matrix for the Entire Sample

157

Table 4-9

Partial Correlation Matrix of the Typical Development Sample

157

Table 4-10

Partial Correlation Matrix of the SLI Sample

158

Table 4-11

General Regression Model on Text Comprehension Score

159

(Entire sample)
Table 4-12

Hierarchical Multiple Regression on Text Comprehension Score

160

(Entire sample)
Table 4-13

General Regression Model on Text Comprehension Score for

161

Typical Development Sample


Table 4-14

Hierarchical Multiple Regression on Text Comprehension Score

162

for Typical Development Sample


Table 4-15

General Regression Model on Text Comprehension Score for

163

the SLI sample


Table 4-16

Hierarchical Multiple Regression on Text Comprehension Score

164

for the SLI Sample


Table 4-17

Mean Factor Scores between Samples after Evaluation of the

xv

166

Covariates
Table 4-18

Mean Auditory Comprehension, Oral Vocabulary and Oral

167

Narrative Scores between Samples after Evaluation of the


Covariates
Table 4-19

Mean Prediction, Problem Solving, Questioning and Theme

168

Identification Scores between Samples after Evaluation of the


Covariates
Table 4-20

Mean Inferential Questions, Recalling Narrative Text and

169

Recalling Expository Text Scores between Samples after


Evaluation of the Covariates

Table 5-1

Summary of Measurements used in Study Two

180

Table 5-2

Description of the Reading Beliefs Scale for Question 1

188

Table 5-3

Description of the Reading Beliefs Scale for Question 2

189

Table 5-4

Description of the Reading Beliefs Scale for Question 3

190

Table 5-5

Description of the Reading Beliefs Scale for Question 4

191

Table 5-6

Description of the Reading Beliefs Scale for Question 6

193

Table 5-7

Description of the Reading Beliefs Scale for Question 5 and 7

194

Table 5-8

Summary of the Instruction Programs

196

Table 6-1

Participants Sex and Grade Distribution between Groups

211

Table 6-2

Distribution of Age and Non-verbal Intelligence between

212

Groups
Table 6-3

The Language Scores and Character decoding Scores between


Groups before Instruction

xvi

213

Table 6-4

Means and Standard Deviations of Oral Language, Character

215

decoding, Metacognitive Processing, Beliefs about Reading and


Text Comprehension Scores between Groups
Table 6-5

Component Matrices and Component Score Coefficient

217

Matrices on Oral Language Construct


Table 6-6

Means and Standard Deviations of Oral Language Scores

217

Table 6-7

Component Matrix of four Metacognitive Processing Subscales

219

Table 6-8

Means and Standard Deviations of Metacognitive Processing

220

Scores
Table 6-9

Component Matrices and Component Score Coefficient

222

Matrices on Oral Language and Text Comprehension Construct


Table 6-10

Means and Standard Deviations of Text Comprehension Scores

223

Table 6-11

Means and Standard Deviations of Factor Scores for Language,

225

Character decoding, Metacognitive Processing and Text


Comprehension Scores
Table 6-12

Component Matrix of Seven Interview Questions

226

Table 6-13

Means and Standard Deviations of Beliefs about Reading Scores 227

Table 6-14

Partial Correlation Matrix of all Variable Measured at Post-test 233


Phase

Table 6-15

Partial Correlation Matrix at Post-test Phase after Controlling

234

sex and Non-verbal Intelligence (Experimental Group)


Table 6-16

Partial Correlation Matrix at Post-test Phase after Controlling

235

sex and Non-verbal Intelligence (Control Group)


Table 6-17

General Regression Model on Text Comprehension Score at the


Post-test phase (Experimental Group)

xvii

235

Table 6-18

Hierarchical multiple regression of text comprehension scores at

236

the post-test phase (Experimental Group)


Table 6-19

General Regression Model on Text Comprehension Score at the

237

Post-test phase (Control Group)


Table 6-20

Hierarchical multiple regression of text comprehension scores at

238

the post-test phase (Control Group)


Table 6-21

Partial Correlation Matrices of Beliefs about Reading at

240

Post-test Phase
Table 6-22

Teachers Rating across Time for Childrens Classroom


Engagement

xviii

242

APPENDICES
Appendix A

Panels feedback form

311

Appendix B

Study Ones Text Comprehension Test Part I (Chinese

313

Version)
Appendix C

Study Twos Text Comprehension Test Part I (Chinese

317

Version)
Appendix D

Administrative Procedure and Instruction for Measuring

320

Childrens Metacognitive Processing


Appendix E

Study Ones Text for Metacognitive Processing Scale

324

and Text Comprehension Test (Part II)


Appendix F

Study Twos Text for Metacognitive Processing Scale

326

and Text Comprehension Test (Part II)


Appendix G

Teacher-rated Students Classroom Engagement

328

Questionnaire
Appendix H

Study Twos instruction for One-to-one Interview

332

Appendix I

Study Twos Sample Lesson Plan and Worksheet for the

335

Experimental Group (Lesson 4 and Lesson 8)


Appendix J

Study Twos Sample Lesson Plan and Worksheet for the


Control Group (Lesson 4 and Lesson 10)

xix

343

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Chapter 1

Introduction

1.1. The Contextual Background of the Study

Specific Language Impairment (SLI) is a developmental disorder found in

students who have impaired receptive and expressive language, but who do not show

evidence of auditory defect, mental retardation, emotional disturbance and/or

neurological origins (Aram, Morris, & Hall, 1992). Children with SLI have impaired

or delayed language functioning relative to their age-matched peers, despite having no

known organic defect. The problem occurs for 7% of the school-age population. In

Hong Kong, the inclusive education has taken in form of whole-school approach for

more than ten years. It implies to place students with special educational needs,

including those with SLI, into the mainstream schools that neither the school

environment nor the culture have to be changed. It stresses that everyone in the school

has to join the inclusive education program (Hughes, Turkstra, & Wulfeck, 2009; Hui

& Dowson, 2003). The expansion of inclusive education means that more and more
-1-

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

preschool students who have been diagnosed as having SLI entered the mainstream

primary school curriculum.

1.1.1. Academic challenges arising from Specific Language Impairment

It is widely accepted that children with, or even who have recovered from SLI,

share the same loci as students with specific learning disability (Snowling & Bishop,

2000), with up to one-quarter of certain literacy problems co-occurring at later ages

(Snowling & Hayiou-Thomas, 2006). In other words, the problems faced by students

with SLI are not confined to difficulties with speech and language. A local Chinese

research study conducted by McBride-Chang et al. (2008) shows that children with

language delay exhibit a relatively deficient cognitive profile, and may fall behind the

mainstream primary school curriculum because they cannot read as efficient as their

peers. McBride-Chang et al. (2008) suggest that children with SLI cannot master the

essential cognitive components (e.g. attention, memory, etc.) needed to achieve

desired reading outcomes. Moreover, children with SLI may lack adequate
-2-

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

metacognition to regulate the cognitive processes that impact text comprehension, and

may have difficulty mastering anything higher than basic cognition (Archibald &

Gathercole, 2006).

As more and more students with SLI enter mainstream classrooms and are

taught using the same curriculum as their peers, a challenge emerges. Although

students with SLI should receive adequate professional speech therapy to improve

their oral expression and comprehension, their inadequate literacy skills continue to

be neglected, placing them at risk of falling further behind their peers (Botting,

Simkin, & Conti-Ramsden, 2006; Kelso, Fletcher, & Lee, 2007). Students with poor

text comprehension are hindered in their learning competence compare to students

with relatively normal decoding skills. Only when the causes underpinning their

specific problems are properly identified for appropriate remedial actions can students

with SLI enjoy the learning process in mainstream classrooms (Lindsay, Dockrell,

Mackie, & Letchford, 2005).

1.2. Theoretical Background of the Study


-3-

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

1.2.1. Metacognition and learning-to-read

In the past three decades, the aim of reading research always focused on

how readers construct meaning from text. Flavell (1979) concluded that

metacognition plays an important role in text comprehension. The concept of

metacognition is basically recognized as thinking of thinking (Samuelson, 1982). It

reflects how readers are thinking of, and how they monitor and manage the whole

thinking process. It stresses that successful reader is the active information processor

and manager of their own reading (Biggs, 1995; Law, 2003). Brown (1987) described

that metacognition consists of two major components: knowledge of cognition, and

self-regulation of cognition. Knowledge of cognition refers to learners individual

knowledge on when, how, why and where to apply appropriate cognitive strategies to

fulfill the particular learning task (Shunk, 1996). Regulation of cognition refers to

activities to control, monitor and evaluate learners individual learning activities

(Flavell, 1979).

Generally, learning to read is a complicated process involving both


-4-

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

cognition and metacognition (Flavell, 1979). The reading process itself can be viewed

as a chain of problems that readers must solve in order to achieve the desired reading

outcome (Hacker, 1998). Readers must be aware of and attend to any failure during

the reading process (Hacker, 1998), and must utilize their knowledge of cognition to

select appropriate cognitive reading strategies to fix any such failure (Hacker, 1998;

Law, Chan, & Sachs, 2008), and to construct meaning from text (Chan, Burtis,

Scardamalia, & Bereiter, 1992).

1.2.2. Significance of cognitive reading strategies

In order to find ways to remediate the text comprehension deficiency among

children with SLI, we have to identify the processes critical to their literacy

development. One proposed solution for them focuses on their reading process and

development of metacognition. Literature review on students reading process shows

that students reading proficiency is not only based on surface word decoding and

language proficiency, but also depends on students metacognition readiness.


-5-

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

In recent years, cognitive reading strategies have become a popular

approach to promoting students deep processing so that they can efficiently use their

metacognition to master text comprehension, and usually involve the application of

strategies, such as relating prior knowledge, self-questioning, questioning and

summarizing. Typical readers with intact metacognition sometimes acquire these

strategies automatically through their daily reading activities; however, readers with

special educational needs may need explicit instruction or practice. Numerous studies

have shown the effectiveness of cognitive reading strategies for both general students

and those with special needs. However, little research has examined cognitive reading

strategies for children with SLI. Given their specific literacy problems, the

effectiveness of employing cognitive reading strategies for children with SLI poses an

interested issue in reading research.

-6-

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

1.3. Research Goals

1.3.1. Research objective

This study aims to examine the ways to examine what are the patterns of

cognitive and language processing of children with SLI and how they are related to

their text comprehension. The first objective of the study is to test whether literacy

problems among children with SLI are related to deficits in metacognitive processing,

and to provide a foundation for further tests to determine whether improved

metacognitive processing could foster improved text comprehension among SLI

children. In order to achieve this objective, the primarily goal is to identify a

comprehensive profile of children with SLI, one that touches on students language,

character decoding skills, metacognitive processing, text comprehension, relates to

existing theoretical frameworks and can be compared with past studies across cultures.

The relationship between metacognitive processing, character decoding, oral language,

and text comprehension is investigated in the present study, as well as their difference

between children with SLI and those with typical development.


-7-

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

The second objective is to examine whether cognitive instruction is

applicable to facilitate SLI students reading process. A comprehensive literature

review and meta-analyses of experimental studies shows cognitive reading strategies

instruction to be one of the most effective training programs on both elementary grade

students (Allen & Hancock, 2008; De Corte, Verschaffel, & Van De Ven, 2001;

Garner & Bochna, 2004; Huff & Nietfeld, 2009; Lau, 2006a; Sporer, Brunstein, &

Kieschke, 2009; van Keer, 2004; Wasik, Bond, & Hindman, 2006) and students with

learning disabilities (Bakken, Mastropieri, & Scruggs, 1997; Boyle, 1996;

Brand-Gruwel, Aarnoutse, & Van Den Bos, 1998; Graves, 1986; Ho, 2004; Lau &

Chan, 2007; Lederer, 2000; Miranda, Villaescusa, & Vidal-Abarca, 1997; Simmonds,

1992; Wilder & Williams, 2001; Wong & Jones, 1982). However, the applicability of

cognitive reading instruction strategies to children with SLI has not been well

examined and it is just at emerging stage for regular Chinese students This study

attempts to investigate whether introducing metacognitive processing through

cognitive reading strategies instruction would foster their reading and language skills.

-8-

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

1.3.2. Research approach

In order to address these two related research goals, this study was

conducted in two phases: Study One and Study Two. In Study One, 73 second-grade

and third-grade children were recruited from local schools; 42 were diagnosed with

SLI, and the others were following typical development. All participants were asked

to complete a series of assessment about their oral language, character decoding, and

text comprehension. In order to measure their metacognitive deep processing, an

adapted think-aloud approach was used. Contrary to the traditional view not to

demand SLI student to talk, this study used a cognitive approach to ask them to say

out aloud what they were thinking. The prediction is that with good instruction

supporting children with SLI, not only they will improve their reading, they will also

improve on their oral language.

In Study Two the researcher adopted a quasi-experimental design to identify

any pre- and post-test group differences in terms of their metacognitive processing,

oral language and text comprehension. Cognitive reading strategies instruction was
-9-

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

developed, which focused on participants metacognitive deep processing. The

instruction was implemented with second-grade and third-grade children with SLI,

after normal schooling in small group but pull-out mode. Participants of the SLI

sample involved in the Study One were recruited for Study Two. They were randomly

assigned into two groups, the experimental group and the control group. Qualitative

measures, consists of an adapted think-aloud protocol and interview, were used to

assess students metacognitive processing and beliefs about reading respectively.

Quantitative techniques were used to analyze the pre- and post-test difference in terms

of their oral language, character decoding, metacognitive processing and text

comprehension. In addition, the researcher also investigated student change in a more

ecological sense, such as their classroom engagement and interaction within regular

classroom.

1.3.3. Research significance

Current work in the development of reading strategies instruction focuses


- 10 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

on typical students or students with learning difficulties on Western scripts, while

relatively little has been done on children with SLI in Chinese context. This study

provides significance that their deficits do not bounded within speech and language,

but also extend to their metacognitive processing. The implementation of cognitive

reading strategies instruction leads to a reframe the reading acquisition framework

among that population and offers the issue of cross cultural relevance.

This study also poses strong educational implication. Literacy has always

been considered one of the most important aspects of mainstream primary school

learning. In other words, literacy is the fundamental to become a successful learner.

Poor literacy skills prevent students from processing different kinds of knowledge and

make it difficult them to keep pace with the mainstream primary school curriculum.

Literacy difficulties are a type of specific learning disability; since the introduction of

inclusive education in Hong Kong in the 1970s, providing support services for

students with literacy difficulties has been a challenge for education policy.

However, many students with SLI are erroneously assumed to have only
- 11 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

speech and language problems, and are, in accordance with policy, entered into

mainstream elementary schools with the support of school-based speech therapists.

These students, however, have problems far beyond speech and language; their

potential literacy issues challenge the success of both their schooling and the global

inclusive education trend (Kelso et al., 2007). Children with SLI must first learn to

read before they are able to read to learn. This study offers education significance

to eliminate the obstacles facing SLI students entering mainstream schools and to find

ways to facilitate their learning. Conventional Chinese language teaching shows its

weakness when faced with the challenge of children with SLI and the trend towards

inclusive education has slowed. It had been thought that school-based speech

therapists, working together with teachers, could provide holistic services to

remediate SLI students oral language and text comprehension.

1.4. Overview of the Dissertation

Chapter 2 reviews the literature on literacy problems among elementary


- 12 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

grade children with SLI. The critical role of metacognitive deep processing for

literacy development is emphasized in the review of contemporary reading models

contained in the chapter, which also reviews past evidence-based studies on the effect

of cognitive reading strategies on student literacy and metacognition. These studies

draw attention to the relationship between students literacy, language and deep

processing and became a series of research questions.

Chapter 3 outlines the methodology of Study One, including the sampling

procedures and the use of different measurement instruments. Chapter 4 presents the

results of Study One. It shows the significant and close relationship between literacy

achievement and metacognitive processing and provides further foundation for a

quasi-experimental study. The methods and results for Study Two are then presented

in Chapter 5 and Chapter 6. Finally, a thoughtful discussion of the significance and

implications of this research is provided in Chapter 7.

- 13 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Chapter 2

Literature review and Research problems

2.1. Overview

This chapter reviews the literature relevant to the study. Section 2.2

reviews the population of Specific Language Impairment (SLI) and its impact on

students academic and social life. Bishop and Snowling (2004) first used a Quadrant

Model to conceptualize literacy difficulties among children with SLI; Such a model is

also discussed within this section. Section 2.3 illustrates major learning theories

established over the past 50 years. Contemporary models of reading from word to text

levels and theories of constructivism and metacognition in reading development are

also discussed, and the essential elements required to be a skillful reader are identified.

Section 2.4 focuses on the evidence-based practice of reading instruction in the past

40 years, leading to a comprehensive review of the implementation of cognitive

reading strategies for different kinds of students, including elementary grade children

with special needs.

- 14 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

The subsequent sections focus on the educational context relevant to the

study. Section 2.5 reviews current approaches of reading remediation for children

with SLI. It is followed, in Section 2.6, by a review of conventional Chinese language

teaching and contemporary curricula reform. The final section (Section 2.7) illustrates

a proposed research hypothesis, that changes in metacognitive processing would

foster the development of text comprehension among children with SLI. The

hypothesis sets out the rationale of the present study and generates two sets of

research questions.

2.2. Specific Language Impairment (SLI) and Reading Difficulties

Specific language impairment (SLI) is a developmental disorder found in

students who have impaired receptive and expressive language, but who do not show

evidence of auditory defect, mental retardation, emotional disturbance and/or

neurological origins (Aram, Morris, & Hall, 1992). In other words, students with SLI

exhibit significant discrepancies between their language acquisition and their general

- 15 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

cognitive functions.

SLI is widely seen as a heterogeneous condition with a wide range of

severity, and can be detected using standardized statistical definitions from validated

language test batteries. Statistically, according to the latest version of the World

Health Organizations (WHO) International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10),

children with SLI have language scores below cut-off levels on standardized language

assessment but have non-verbal intelligence scores above 85 and exhibit no other

sensory neurological exclusionary factors (World Health Organization, 2010). The

prevalence rate of SLI in five-year-olds is around 7% (Tomblin et al., 1997).

In recent decades, epidemiological studies have clearly established that

language disorders are more common among children with dyslexia, a learning

disability characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition,

spelling and encoding abilities (Bishop & Snowling, 2004; Snowling & Bishop, 2000).

Further studies have shown up to a 25% co-occurrence of SLI and certain types of

impaired literacy development among older children (Snowling & Hayiou-Thomas,

- 16 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

2006). These results have attracted research attention and have led to a widespread

acceptance that literacy problems and SLI share the same loci (Snowling & Bishop,

2000).

In addition to problems with word decoding, children with SLI show

weakness in other aspects of literacy. The concept of poor comprehenders was first

introduced and received literacy research attention only 10 years ago. The term

originally referred to poor readers with weak semantic processing skills but intact

phonological processing skills (Bishop & Snowling, 2004), and served to differentiate

them from readers with dyslexia, who generally have poor phonological processing.

Poor comprehenders displayed rather intact word decoding skills; however,

their syntactic, semantic and discourse limitations impinged on their text

comprehension (Bishop & Snowling, 2004). This was usually the case for children

with SLI (Catts, Adlof, Hogan, & Weismer, 2005). Catts et al. (2005) applied the term

poor comprehender to children with SLI who displayed specific text comprehension

problems during their school years. Further studies stressed that children with

- 17 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

dyslexia used language skills beyond phonology to compensate for their word

decoding difficulties in text comprehension tasks, while poor comprehenders could

not (Botting et al., 2006). Kelso, Fletcher and Lee (2007) described poor

comprehenders as particularly likely to show good progress in oral language skills and

to present a normal word reading profile, while still having difficulty transitioning

from learning to read toward reading to learn. The Quadrant model was then

developed to explain why children with SLI showed literacy difficulties.

2.2.1. The quadrant model

Bishop and Snowling (2004) were the first to incorporate the concept of

poor comprehenders into the model of literacy impairment, as shown in Figure 2-1.

They employed a quadrant reading model (a two-dimensional spectrum) to

re-conceptualize the relationship between SLI and dyslexia. According to the model,

poor comprehenders in the SLI population scored lower in oral language skills than in

non-verbal abilities in standardized assessment batteries (Bishop & Snowling, 2004).

- 18 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

They had weak semantic processing skills but relatively intact phonological skills.

Thus, they could use phonological cues to decode words, but failed to conceptualize

meanings when putting words together. According to Bishop & Snowling (2004), the

Quadrant Model was supported by neurobiological and genetic findings.

Good non- phonological skills

Dyslexia without SLI

Typical population

Poor
phonological
skills
Dyslexia with SLI
SLI population with
poor word decoding

Good
phonological
skills

Poor comprehender
SLI population with relative
intact at word decoding but
showing profiles of poor
comprehenders

Poor non-phonological skills

Adapted from
Bishop, D. V. M., & Snowling, M. J. (2004). Developmental dyslexia and specific
language impairment: Same or different? Psychological Bulletin, 130, 858-886.
Figure 2-1. The Quadrant Model

The quadrant model and the concept of the poor comprehender was

supported and

expanded upon by subsequent

- 19 -

researchers.

Snowling

and

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Haiyou-Thomas (2006) suggested that poor phonological processing was a risk factor

for poor decoding, and that wider language skills impairment beyond phonology

carried a risk of text comprehension impairment as well (Snowling & Hayiou-Thomas,

2006).

In another quantitative study, a large cohort of 200 11-year-old children

with SLI in the United Kingdom was assessed for basic reading accuracy and text

comprehension (Botting et al., 2006) and the results compared to their scores at age

seven. Receptive language syntax scores were found to be a positive predictor of

reading competence at 11 years of age; in the SLI sample, the incidence of decoding

problems increased over time and a higher incidence of text comprehension

difficulties was found at 11 years of age. These findings supported Snowling and

Haiyou-Thomas (2006) view that students showing impaired wider language skills

tended to have more severe reading deficits. On the other hand, intact oral language

might enable students to compensate, making their perceived text comprehension

appear better than their actual reading accuracy (Botting et al., 2006).

- 20 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

A more recent study further confirmed the quadrant model through

quantitative evidence. A total of 52 eight- and nine-year-old children with SLI were

assessed using a series of tests on word decoding, text comprehension and

phonological processing. The study found that children with SLI with particularly

weak text comprehension skills showed fairly intact phonological skills but significant

poorer oral comprehension skills at the paragraph level, in standardized tests (Kelso et

al., 2007). It suggested that children with SLI who fitted the poor comprehender

profile had difficulties constructing integrated, coherent and meaningful models, in

both auditory and text modalities (Kelso et al., 2007).

2.2.2. Multiple-deficit hypothesis

There is criticism that the Quadrant Model was not applicable to

non-phonological based scripts, including Chinese. There has been a great deal of

debate about similarities and differences between Chinese and English reading, in

particular the processes used in Chinese and English word or character decoding, with

- 21 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

most Chinese reading researchers having focused on lexical levels or word

recognition processes (Lau, 2006b). There is a general consensus that the character

decoding mechanisms for Chinese script and Western alphabetical languages are

different.

First, Chinese is a tonal language in which a minor tone variation can imply

a different word and meaning. Children have to detect abstract tonal changes and

integrate them into a specific context in order to get the right word meaning

(McBride-Chang et al., 2008). Second, Chinese is not a strictly phonologically-bound

language and has quite a lot of homophones; reading according to phonological rules

is not always reliable. Chinese is, however, rich in morphemes, and morphological

awareness is always important; this involves children making use of their prior

knowledge of single characters, or morphemes, then applying their metacognition to

understand how these morphemes combine and appear across a wide variety of words

(Arnbak & Elbro, 2000; McBride-Chang, Wagner, Muse, Chow, & Shu, 2005).

Thus, Chinese childrens reading challenges required a new explanation.

- 22 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Chinese children with SLI were hypothesized as displaying some sorts of cognitive

deficits, such as poor inference making skills, poor morphological judgment, etc.

McBride-Chang et al. (2008) established a cognitive profile of Chinese toddlers with

SLI that hypothesized SLI as a multiple deficit. In other words, students with SLI

were not impaired in the language domain alone; other cognitive areas were also

involved. Children with language impairment showed more severe and global deficits

in terms of their cognition, morphology and phonology, as well as speech acquisition.

The study supported the hypothesis that children with SLI showed

particular difficulties in such cognitive skills as visual processing, tone detection and

morphological awareness. Regression analysis supported the position that such a

cognitive profile could predict students text comprehension scores. Although the

work of McBride-Chang et al. (2008) focused on Chinese character decoding, the

result provided insight for understanding their text comprehension. Some sorts of

cognitive processing or higher order processing deficits hindered their literacy

development.

- 23 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Poor inference-making performance among elementary school students with

SLI was a major and significant predictor of language scores (Adams et al., 2009). In

addition, Children with SLIs verbal inference error patterns also differ from those of

younger peers with typical language development. This suggested that children with

SLI exhibited insufficient processing capacity to interpret surface forms of stimuli and

integrate them into a broader context (Adams et al., 2009). It assumed there would be

a central processing problem across modalities, so that similar problems would persist

in both auditory and text comprehension (Skarakis-Doyle, Dempsey, & Lee, 2008),

and pointed to the importance of examining some sorts of higher order processing,

especially metacognition.

2.2.3. Summary

The studies reviewed in this section have found that, in alphabetic

languages, up to a quarter of children with language impairment exhibited reading

difficulties (Bishop, 2009; Botting et al., 2006; Catts et al., 2005). Unlike children

- 24 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

with dyslexia,

who

showed

impaired phonological processing

but

intact

non-phonological processing (Bishop & Snowling, 2004), children with SLI scored

low on language tests but normal on non-verbal tasks, which was the psychometric

definition of SLI (Bishop & Snowling, 2004). They behaved as poor comprehenders

who demonstrated poor non-phonological language related abilities but had relative

better phonological processing. They showed relatively unimpaired word decoding

skills, but were at high risk of problems in discourse comprehension, which required

language-related skills and metacognition. They usually found it hard to cope with

their academic burden in the absence of remedial services (Lindsay et al., 2005).

As a result, children with SLI, no matter whether reading Western or

Chinese scripts, displayed certain literacy problems, even if they could decode those

lexicons. Thus, students literacy problems could not be determined by their word or

character decoding abilities alone; a broader perspective was needed. The Quadrant

Model showed students non-phonological language-related processing skills to be

one variable; Multiple-deficit Hypothesis further stressed that some processing skills

- 25 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

that were indeed essential to reading still had not being uncovered. Difficulties in

higher-order cognitive processing, specifically concerning about their metacognition,

could be one factor. This mandated a review of contemporary metacognitive

development and its role in students text comprehension.

2.3. Metacognition and Literacy Development

To understand the role of metacognition in literacy development, this

section begins with an examination of frameworks for how knowledge is acquired

from text. Different models of text processing are discussed, raising the importance of

knowledge construction from text and identifying that higher order processing, such

as metacognition, is always essential to the constructivist framework, in terms of

knowledge construction. The definition of metacognition is then reviewed, then

focused to reveal that a good reader is able to demonstrate certain metacognitive

processing and select appropriate reading strategies to overcome any reading

difficulties encountered. The section ends with a review of empirical studies that

- 26 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

show that a number of metacognitive processes are critical to students text

comprehension. In addition to metacognitive processes, the importance of childrens

internal beliefs about learning is also reviewed.

2.3.1. Constructivism and different reading models

Many studies described text comprehension as related to higher-order

processes, such as metacognition. One of the most well-established contemporary

learning theories was constructivism, which stressed that learning was not simply

copying knowledge from one for another (Fosnot, 1989). Rather than focusing on the

acquisition of specific procedural behaviors or skills, advocates of constructivism

focused on the use of metacognitive processing and how to interact with an

ecologically valid environment (Bredo, 1997). According to Piaget (1987), behavior

in human beings was determined by the structure of their environment. Humans seek

coherence and meaning, using strategies and schemes to interact with the environment

and to understand the world (Fosnot, 2005). A new problem is something that

- 27 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

emerges that contradicts earlier notions. Humans are able interpret it, organize it and

infer it using the cognitive structure they have previous constructed, thus constructing

new knowledge (Fosnot, 2005; Malerstein, 1986).

Constructivism includes both cognitive constructivism (the construction of

knowledge) and social constructivism (awareness of the learning environment and

peer learning). Based on these two major strands, constructivists propose that people

have to construct the meanings of new knowledge (Harris & Presley, 1991; Sawyer,

2006; Wittrock, 1978). Knowledge construction can be achieved by actively and

progressively linking new ideas or information to existing knowledge.

The constructivist learning model focuses not on cognitive processes that

memorize knowledge passed from teachers to the learner, but on the learners

constructive processes that build new knowledge. Advocates of constructivism

conducted various studies to examine actual constructive processes during knowledge

building (Bereiter & Bird, 1985; Chan et al., 1992). Contemporary studies on

constructivism made use of Bruners learning theory, Piagets theory on cognitive

- 28 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

development and Vygotskys sociocultural theory to support the notion of knowledge

construction during the reading process (Shunk, 1996). Advocates claimed successful

learners were able to use metacognition to interact with situations; it was assumed that

people could only become effective learners by monitoring their learning process and

assessing their understanding during that process (Bredo, 1997). A number of

cognitive activities were found to be essential to enhancing learning effectiveness,

including learning centeredness, scaffolding, self-regulated learning and collaborative

learning (Chan & Law, 2003). These activities did not function individually, but

worked together through the learners higher order constructive activities, such as

planning, interpretation, elaboration and problem solving. Studies based on the

constructivist viewpoint have shown that children acquired new knowledge better

through constructive activities, such as introducing metacognitive processes and

instruction on learning strategies (Chan et al., 1992; Chi, 1996, 2000) and belief

change (Chan, Burtis, & Bereiter, 1997; Chan & Law, 2003).

In recent decades, a few studies targeted how people learn to read, including

- 29 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

how people integrate different processes to acquire knowledge from text, and

developed some reading models.

One of the most classical and influential of these is

the construction-integration model (Chan & Law, 2003; Kintsch & van Dijk, 1978).

According to this model, literacy development consists of a surface level

(word or character decoding) together with deeper levels of meaning construction. At

the surface level, people must understand the meaning of each word; however, this

actually is a minor part of text processing. The deeper levels included propositional

and situation models. The former activates concepts and meanings from long-term

memory based on the text itself; the latter activates the readers mental representation

and world knowledge (Singer, 1994). Both relevant and irrelevant information are

retrieved at the construction stage; irrelevant and contradictory information is

excluded at the integration stage, until a coherent text meaning is built up (Dunlosky

& Metcalfe, 2009). This model reflects constructivist views. Constructivism stresses

that comprehension was a matter of transactional relationship between readers prior

knowledge and the text; advocates of constructivism described it as a form of

- 30 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

knowledge construction from the authors message. When students learned to read, it

is an application of transferring new knowledge to new domains.

Surface text decoding and deeper level knowledge construction are not

mutually exclusive, but were complementary in nature. Knowledge construction

cannot be achieved when the reader could not decode or recognize specific words.

Surface decoding formed the basic level of text processing. A considerable amount of

reading research has described the importance of phonological processing, as

described at the Quadrant model, as well as cognitive memory capacities, as described

in the multiple-deficit Hypothesis.

However, good readers has to relate their prior knowledge or learnt

information after decoding individual word meanings. This involves some sort of

higher-order text processing, such as inference generation and activation of prior

knowledge; this involved active monitoring of various cognitive processes, but the

actual processes are still under investigation. van den Broek (1994) stated,

Successful reading comprehension requires that the reader identify

- 31 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

words, detect syntactic structures, and extract meaning from

individual sentences. Yet an understanding of words and sentences

in itself is not sufficient. As crucial component of successful

comprehension is the identification of relations between the various

parts of the text, as well as between the text and the readers world

knowledge. (p.539)

Psycholinguistic theorists have attempted to study the reading process and

proposed different models to explain the relations between surface and deep level

processing. In general, there are top-down, down-top and interactive reading

models; a fourth model, known as interactive compensatory model, is added to

explain the reading process of difficult readers.

1. Top-down model Goodman (1968) first proposed a reading model that

was analogous to oral language processing. Children acquire the meaning of the text

by using their knowledge of phonological, morphological, syntactic and semantic

- 32 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

language elements, rather than by decoding the text word by word. At the beginning,

children use syntactic and semantic elements to narrow down the possible choices of

meaning. Students use only limited phonological processing to decode and confirm

the actual meaning. Prior knowledge is always of primary importance, but not the

element of words. Goodman (1968) stressed readers should always be active learners

who kept generating new hypotheses and refining them for better linkages between

text and meaning.

2. Down-top model However, the top-down model fails to explain the

problems encountered by students with reading disabilities, and a down-top model

was developed. Laberge and Samuels (1974) stated the elementary readers have to

master decoding every syllable, for words as well as for phrases and onward

comprehension. The model stresses the concept of automaticity, which hold that

successful readers automatically recognize words so that minimal attention is required

for decoding, whereas poor reader did not.

- 33 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

3. Interactive model Both the top-down model and the down-top model

have been criticized for their serial processing nature. By contrast, the interactive

model focuses on parallel processing. In recent decades, substantial evidence has been

found that learners could process a number of cognitive tasks simultaneously. Under

this model, readers do not proceed sequentially from word decoding to context, but

move between word decoding and meaning through two-way parallel channels, while

at the same time integrating various types of prior knowledge (including syntactic,

semantic, pragmatic, schematic and discourse in parallel) to obtain the meaning.

4. Interactive compensatory model Stanovich (1980) was one of the

pioneers of applying reading models to disabled readers. Stanovich (1980) combined

the above three reading models and proposed a new model, the interactive

compensatory model. The model stresses that students with reading difficulties were

not efficient enough to process texts; they tend to select the process with which they

felt most comfortable. Readers with word or character decoding difficulties use

- 34 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

different reading models when compared to readers with higher-order thinking

difficulties. For example, children with SLI who possessed with relatively intact word

or character decoding would rely heavily on decoding text word by word without

integrating context. This model suggests intervention be made in both surface

processing (word or character decoding) and metacognitive processing (integrate the

prior knowledge).

2.3.2. Metacognition and constructivism

The previous subsection described the various reading models evolved from

constructivism. According to constructivism, reading involves active knowledge

construction between new knowledge and existing knowledge. It is also believed that

reading consisted of surface and deep processing, which involves many different and

integrated cognitive processes. Readers are regarded as active processors of

information and managers of their own learning (Law, 2008). Readers has to be

actively aware of and monitor their own cognitive processes. This subsection

- 35 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

describes how a reader may effectively use different cognitive processes, known as

metacognition, to construct knowledge from text.

Metacognition refers to thoughts about ones own thought and cognition

(Flavell, 1979); in other words, it is thinking about thinking. It included monitoring

and management of the thinking processes and the application of various cognitive

components, leading to successful learning. Flavell (1979) undertook the earliest

theoretical perspective on metacognition. It is comprised of two major strands:

knowledge of cognition and self-regulation. Knowledge of cognition refers to ones

declarative knowledge about cognition. It is ones knowledge of how learning

operates (Dunlosky & Metcalfe, 2009), ones ability to know when, how, why and

where to use strategies to fulfill tasks. It consists of knowledge of ones self, of the

task and of strategies. Self-regulation refers to an ongoing cognitive processing of

planning, checking, evaluating and testing ones ongoing learning and outcomes, such

as deciding whether to stop or continue a specific cognitive activity. It involves

metacognitive control and metacognitive monitoring. One of the most influential

- 36 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

models of metacognitive learning is the C-O-P-E-S model.

1. C-O-P-E-S model

The C-O-P-E-S model, proposed by Winne and

Hadwin (1998), illustrates the involvement of metacognition in students learning

processes (Figure 2-2). The model refers to five factors conditions, operations,

products, evaluation and standards. In order to complete a certain learning task, the

successful learner has to be equipped with adequate metacognitive knowledge; they

have to consider a number of conditions, such as time, resources, prior knowledge and

available cognitive strategies, then formulate a set of standards that accounted for

those conditions (Winne & Hadwin, 1998).

At the same times, the learner has to carry out a series of cognitive operations,

such as selecting appropriate strategies, tactics and prior knowledge, to yield certain

learning products. Metacognitive control and monitoring are used to compare these

products to the standards set earlier. Under certain evaluation processes, on-target

learning products become the final learning outcomes (Dunlosky & Metcalfe, 2009;

- 37 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Winne & Hadwin, 1998).

Under the C-O-P-E-S model, learners use a set of goals to process reading

at deeper levels. These goals require the learner to integrate explicit learning materials

with their prior knowledge (Pressley, 2002). As a result, they cannot simply accept the

surface meaning as explicitly stated, but also have to accept the deeper meanings that

went beyond the text. Learners carry out ongoing evaluation to compare actual

learning outcomes to expected standards (Winne & Hadwin, 1998).

Conditions
Resources, prior knowledge, tactic available
Unsatisfied
Standards

Operations
- Strategies / Tactics

Metacognitive Control
and monitoring
-Comparing the products
and standards

Evaluation

Satisfied
Products
Learning
outcome

Adapted from
Winne, P., and Hadwin, A. (1998) Studying as self regulated learning. In D. J. Hacker,
J. Dunlosky and A. C. Graesser (Eds), Metacognition in Education Theory and
Practice, pp 249-276. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Figure 2-2. The C-O-P-E-S Model of Self-regulated Learning

- 38 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

2. Constructive responsive reading In terms of reading, based on the

C-O-P-E-S learning model, a metacognitive competent reader choose and implement

reading strategies to support learning and reading text materials when encountering

reading difficulties. Metacognitive monitoring evaluates ones understanding of a text,

determined whether it is consistent with prior knowledge and assesses and evaluates

the ongoing progress or current state of a particular cognitive function (Pressley,

2002). This is known as constructive responsive reading.

Hackers (1998) proposed a model of text comprehension, refined from the

C-O-P-E-S metacognitive learning model. This theoretical framework for literacy

development shows that metacognition plays a critical role in students text

processing at deep-level. Indeed, metacognition is a broad term. As stated in the

previous section, metacognition involves two major components metacognitive

knowledge and a self-regulatory component. As shown in Figure 2-3, when a

competent reader get into a piece of text, his or her cognitive processing constructed a

mental representation and simultaneously activated prior world knowledge and

- 39 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

available cognitive reading strategies in order to understand the text (Hacker, 1998).

Under the C-O-P-E-S model, a set of standards and evaluation processes are also

established. The self-regulatory components work simultaneously. Metacognitive

monitoring takes place to assess whether the interaction between different cognitive

processes are on the right track. Metacognitive control selects the appropriate prior

world knowledge and cognitive reading strategies in order to understand the texts

meaning in the most effective manner (Hacker, 1998).

Metacognitive Level
Understanding of World knowledge and Strategies

Monito

ro

nt

Co

ring

Cognitive level
World knowledge
Standard and
Evaluation

Internal text

Strategies

External Text

Adapted from
Hacker, D. J. (1998) Self-regulated comprehension during normal reading. In D. J.
Hacker, J. Dunlosky and A. C. Graesser (Eds), Metacognition in Education
Theory and Practice, pp 165-191. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Figure 2-3. Model of Text Comprehension
- 40 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Based on this model, readers would engage in three different phases at the

cognitive level (Hacker, 1998), namely,

a) preparing to read, which involved the application of prior knowledge and

the setting of reading goals;

b) constructing meaning from the text and identifying its main ideas; and,

c) reflecting during reading, through questioning and summarizing.

These phases all involve metacognitive monitoring and control. In the first

phase, readers evaluate their reading goals and applied available prior knowledge. In

the next phase, readers select appropriate strategies to identify the main idea, draw

inferences and evaluate accuracy. Self-questioning and summarization, the last phase,

employed recursive evaluation and strategic decision making (Pressley, 1998).

2.3.3. Metacognitive processing and reading strategies

The above model illustrates the importance of both metacognition and

- 41 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

cognitive strategies. Readers are required to equip themselves with a number of

different cognitive strategies and to apply them wisely, in an appropriate and timely

manner. Palincsar (1986) pinpointed different kinds of metacognitive processing.

When encountering reading failure, competent students could slow the reading

process, making use their metacognition to run these processes and select the most

appropriate cognitive reading strategies in order to attain their reading goals. In other

words, metacognitive processing could be viewed as an elaboration of students

metacognition during reading. Research on metacognitive processing had been

ongoing since 1980s. By analyzing and comparing the reading processes of competent

readers and poor readers, certain types of metacognitive processing were identified as

critical to students literacy acquisition.

Wong and Jones (1982) conducted one of the classic studies investigating

metacognitive processing between learning disabled and normal achieving student. A

total of 120 eighth- and ninth-grade students with learning disabilities and sixth-grade

students were recruited and introduced to self-questioning as a metacognitive reading

- 42 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

process.

Before being instructed on self-questioning, lower achieving students

scored particularly poorly in generating questions from text when comparing with

their normally developing, but younger, peers. After instruction, students with

learning disabilities showed significant improvement in terms of comprehension tasks,

while normally developing students did not. The findings suggested that lower

achieving students metacognitive processing was not mature enough before explicit

instruction, and that the self-questioning process was critical to their improved

reading achievement.

Another classic study was carried out by Palincsar and Brown (1984),

identifying four metacognitive processes: 1) self-review; 2) questioning; 3) clarifying;

and 4) predicting. 24 seventh-grade students, poor comprehenders with intact

intellectual functioning and word decoding ability but poor text comprehension, were

recruited. These poor comprehenders did poorly in metacognitive activities of

predicting questions when comparing with age-matched peers under normal

development.

Half

of the

students

received

- 43 -

reciprocal teaching

on

the

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

above-mentioned four metacognitive processes, while the another half was an

untreated control. Students who received reciprocal teaching did significant better in

answering comprehension questions in daily classes and made significant scoring

gains on a standardized comprehension battery. At the post-test phase, the treatment

group also demonstrated significant progress in recalling the main idea from the text,

predicting questions and detecting incongruities within the text. Scardamalia, Bereiter

and Steinbach (1984) also demonstrated a correlation between elementary students

summarization and their ability to detect anomalous information.

Another study, conducted by Bereiter and Bird (1985), identified four

metacognitive strategies to deal with comprehension difficulties among ten normally

developing adults, using think-aloud protocols.

These students said aloud what they

thought while reading, and their responses were transcribed and analyzed. These four

strategies used were 1) Restatement; 2) Backtracking; 3) Demanding relationship; and

4) Problem formulation. Then strategic instruction was given to 40 female and 40

male seventh- and eighth-grade students for three consecutive weeks. A group of 16

- 44 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

students to whom these four strategies were modeled and explained showed

significant improvement in three out of four strategies, except demanding relationship;

there was no correlation between the students text and oral comprehension scores.

The findings suggested some of the strategies from the adults sample were relevant

to the students metacognitive reading process. The lack of correlation might be

related to the studys small sample size and the short duration of instruction.

The

study also stressed that other metacognitive processes, such as prediction and imagery,

warranted further investigation.

Chan et al. (1992) conducted a relatively large study on different identify

construction activities among early-grade student. Instead of a quantitative measure of

the percentage of correct responses for a certain reading or metacognitive task, an

innovative scale was developed to measure students responses in term of their

complexity of constructive activities in learning from text. A total of 109 students

ranging from grades 1 to 6 were recruited. It was found that students prior knowledge

and constructive activities all correlated with the learning outcomes of making new

- 45 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

information and generating new questions. Another implication was that constructive

activities or, in other words, metacognitive processing could be rated across a

continuum of complexity from unrelated ideas to extrapolation. However, the study

measured students constructive activities in a single construct, instead of identifying

different metacognitive processes.

Kinnunen and Vauras (1995) conducted another study on elementary school

students over three consecutive years. A total of 56 third-grade students were

recruited from an array of 414 students in a community. 36 were regarded as low

achievers, based on their comprehension test scores. Through eyeball tracking,

low-achieving students were found to spend more reading time and to fail to detect

reading obstacles.

These obstacles included 1) adding difficult words (lexical

difficulties); 2) adding words that were inconsistent with their world knowledge

(external inconsistency); and 3) adding words that made sentences contradict the

meaning of other parts of the passage (internal inconsistency). The findings suggested

that poor reader overused bottom-up processing and failed to apply proper strategies

- 46 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

when experiencing comprehension failure. In the subsequent year, the students were

given treatment on metacognitive processing for 1) activating prior knowledge

through prediction before reading and 2) identifying the main idea. Treatment

findings suggested that low achieving students could pick up the processing, as their

text summarization scores were significantly better than those of the untreated control.

Pressley, Gaskins, Solic and Collins (2006) described a benchmark school

for struggling readers in grades 1 to 8. The students typically arriving the school after

one or two years of regular school failure.

The school introduced four kinds of

different metacognitive processes prediction, questioning, constructing images and

summarizing using background knowledge very often and across the whole

curricula. After a few years under the provision of constructive responsive reading

across curricula, they returned to regular school. The study echoed previous findings

that certain types of metacognitive processing were essential to poor readers.

However, no inferential statistics or case studies were drawn upon to describe the

actual changes to the students text comprehension.

- 47 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Most of the studies concerning metacognitive processing and reading

strategies focused to Western alphabetical scripts. Few were in a Chinese context,

although So and Siegel (1997) did conduct an innovative study of normal developing

and low-achieving Chinese elementary school students from the first to fourth grade,

the findings of which showed students phonological awareness, semantic awareness,

syntactic awareness and their working memory were significantly correlated with

their word recognition scores. It suggested that students in a local context showed

similar cognitive processing profiles as those found in Western alphabetical studies.

Lau and Chan (2003), using validated quantitative and qualitative measures,

showed that poor Chinese readers experience similar metacognitive deficiencies in

their

English-language

reading

processes;

these

authors

investigated

159

seventh-grade students in Hong Kong. The results indicated that low-achieving

readers were less-motivated readers than their counterparts, and scored significantly

lower on their use of such metacognitive strategies as deletion, selection,

generalization, construction, inferred word meaning, error deletion and summarization.

- 48 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Correlation studies also suggested students metacognitive reading strategy use had a

positive and strongest relation to their text comprehension scores.

A more recent in-depth study of eight seventh-grade Chinese good and poor

readers (Lau, 2006b), using think-aloud protocols and student metacognitive

interviews, reported similar results. The think aloud protocol showed that good

readers made significantly more use of such strategies as pre-reading, main idea

identification and interpretation, and reading monitoring. Poor readers tended to

simply read the text word by word without using such strategies (Lau & Chan, 2007),

and generally failed to answer comprehension questions that required the use of

reading strategies. The findings supported the view that, across languages, readers

metacognition is critical to reading success. Thus, reading strategies from other

languages were shown to be applicable to reading research in Chinese.

Another qualitative case study, carried out by Yau (2005), evaluated two

Mandarin speaking sixth-grade students (with high and low reading proficiency levels)

using data obtained from interviews and think aloud protocols. The results showed

- 49 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

that the more skillful reader adopted multidimensional strategies to handle

comprehension, including summarization, synthesis and various inference generation

techniques. In contrast, the less proficient reader tended to use simple bridging

interference, word replacement or text repetition to handle the task.

Rao, Gu, Zhang and Hu (2007) conducted a three-year study to examine

how good and poor elementary-grade students used metacognitive processing in

dealing with language learning tasks in a bilingual context. Six bilinguals students

were recruited, five of them Anglo-Chinese bilinguals. Students were asked to read

and think aloud about different types of text materials. The data was then transcribed

and coded. A number of surface level processing and metacognitive processing were

identified. By calculating the frequency of each processing from each student, a

distinctive pattern between good and poor reader was drawn and a number of

metacognitive processing components that were essential to creating a mental

representation of both English and Chinese text were identified. These included 1)

problem solving, 2) prediction, 3) contextualization and 4) questioning.

- 50 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Table 2-1 shows a summary of past studies on metacognitive processing

during reading. These findings echo the view of Perfetti (1994), that lower achieving

reader employed ineffective lexical processing at the surface level. This placed greater

cognitive demands on the reader, leaving insufficient metacognitive comprehension

capacity for deep level processing (Perfetti, 1994). For example, the inference

generation process involved the retrieval, computation and storage of large amounts

of world knowledge and ideas from previous texts, which then had to be integrated

with the current text. Thus, poor readers had problems, not just with lexical access,

but also with propositional encoding and metacognition for text processing and

understanding. Enhancing metacognition through the use of reading strategies might

improve among poor readers reading (Perfetti, 1994).

Palincsar and Brown (1984) had already identified metacognitive

processing for almost three decades. Although there has been a considerable amount

of research work that has identified that these metacognitive processes are important

to students text comprehension, especially among poor readers, only a very few

- 51 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

studies have been conducted in non-alphabetical language contexts. These few studies

were usually in small scale, making inferential statistics impossible. They targeted

upper elementary-grade students. Investigation of metacognitive processing among

students at early elementary-grade levels remains virtually absent.

Table 2-1.
Summary of Studies on Metacognitive Processing since 1980s
Study
Context
Subjects
Metacognitive processing
identified.
Wong and Jones (1982)

Western alphabetical 8th and 9th grade


good vs. students
with learning
disabilities (N=120)
Palincsar and Brown (1984) Western alphabetical 7th grade poor
comprender (N=24)
Bereiter and Bird (1985)
Western alphabetical 7th and 8th grade
students (N=80)
Chan et al. (1992)
Western alphabetical 1st and 6th grade
students (N=80)
Kinnunen and Vauras
Western alphabetical 3rd grade normal
(1995)
developing vs. poor
students (N=36)
Lau and Chan (2003)

Yau (2005)
Lau (2006)
Rao et al. (2007)

Chinese Hong Kong, 7th grade students


non alphabetical
(N=159)

Self-questioning

Self-review, Questioning, Clarifying


and Predicting
Restatement, Backtracking, Demanding
relationship and Problem formulation
Prior knowledge, New questioning
Activating prior knowledge, Main idea
identification

deletion, selection, generalization,


construction, inferred word meaning,
error deletion and summarization
Mandarin Chinese,
6th grade students Summarization, Synthesis and
non-alphabetical
(N=2)
Inference generation
Chinese Hong Kong, 7th grade good vs. Pre-reading, Main idea identification
non alphabetical
poor readers (N=8) and interpretation
Singapore,
6th grade good vs. Problem solving, Prediction,
Anglo-Chinese
poor students (N=6) Contextualization and Questioning.
bilingual

- 52 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

2.3.4. Beliefs about reading


Besides metacognitive processing and the application of cognitive strategies,

the beliefs about reading of children with SLI have been found to be an important

factor in promoting text comprehension (Anderson, Chan, & Henne, 1995). Such

beliefs reflect the competence of their metacognitive knowledge. Allen and

Hancocks (2008) systematic metacognitive inquiry treatment noted that intermediate

elementary-grade students exposed to their understanding of their own cognitive

profiles and related metacognitive activities made significant gains in standardized

reading tests compared to students without such training. Children who understood

their underlying reading problems could make better self-evaluations (Dunlosky &

Metcalfe, 2009), and tended to apply proper knowledge to self-regulate their own

reading.

Children equipped with proper beliefs about reading should hold

constructivist beliefs and alertly use cognitive reading strategies to understand the

texts meaning (Law, 2009; Winne & Hadwin, 1998), actively apply prior knowledge

- 53 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

and construct meaning to more deeply process the text, and ensure their reading

outcomes meet the standards they have established (Law, 2009). Studies concerning

students beliefs about reading in the Chinese reading context are now beginning to

emerge. Law, Chan and Sachs (2008) reported that fifth and sixth grade students who

received constructivist training achieved higher comprehension scores and applied

cognitive reading strategies more frequently. Lau & Chans 2007 experimental study

focused on the effect of cognitive reading instruction on seventh-grade low achievers

(Lau & Chan, 2007), and used an interview based on the work of Paris and Jacobs

(1984) and Schmitt (1988) to assess their beliefs about reading. Descriptive results

showed that students who received the experimental instruction were better able to

explain how and when to use the given reading strategies than were the control

students.

2.3.5. Summary

Difficulty in text comprehension is always a great challenge among students

- 54 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

with special educational needs. Constructivism has played a dominant role in

explaining the underlying problem since the late twentieth century. One solution for

these deficiencies is to teach students how to use strategies to improve processing.

Pressley, Johnson, Symons, McGoldrick, and Kurita (1989) first identified four key

metacognitive processing components for improving comprehension among

elementary grade students: a) relating to prediction; b) mental imagery; c) questioning;

and, d) summarization. Rao et al. (2007) further defined these metacognitive

processes as a) prediction, b) problem solving, c) questioning and d) theme

identification. Students have to be aware of the proper strategies to facilitate such

metacognitive processing and keep monitoring the usage. In other words, the

employment of these metacognitive processing components actually reflects students

metacognition during reading.

The conceptual framework of metacognition is complex and still under

investigation. Hackers model of text comprehension (1998) stated that metacognitive

processing basically refers to control and monitoring of the cognitive processing. The

- 55 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

metacognitive processing identified, a) prediction, b) problem solving, c) questioning

and d) theme identification, demonstrated their control and monitoring components.

Children have to practice these strategies to keep these processing running with

ongoing recursive evaluation and strategic decision making. Metacognitive processing

should be viewed as an elaboration of metacognition, rather than a general cognitive

processing.

Past empirical studies suggested that, besides word decoding problems, low

achieving and high achieving students differ in terms of metacognitive processing.

Such metacognitive processing was positively related to students subsequent text

comprehension. However, most of these studies were carried out an a Western

alphabetical context. Studies in Chinese contexts were virtually absent until the latest

10 years. These innovative studies were generally in form of case studies or

interviews. Unlike the Western studies of Chan et al. (1992), these studies seldom

used a psychometrically sound scale to measure students metacognitive processing.

Their findings were found to be descriptive and lacking in inferential statistics

- 56 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

support.

In addition, although there were studies focusing on the difference between

good and poor readers, the definition of poor readers was solely based on academic

achievement.

The actual metacognitive processing, as well as its impact on reading

among students with SLI, still remained a mystery.

2.4. Cognitive Reading Strategies Instruction

Keene and Zimmermann (1997) commented that poor readers can become

proficient readers through comprehension strategies instruction. The National

Reading Panel (2000) reviewed 38 multiple strategies and concluded that a

combination of reading strategies showed results in natural learning classrooms.

Based on the above, this section now looks into past evidence-based intervention

studies to understand how cognitive reading strategies instruction can facilitate text

comprehension.

This section reviews how to reinforce these processes for a fruitful product.

- 57 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Numerous experiments have investigated the extent to which teaching cognitive

reading strategies improves metacognitive processing and text comprehension, and

several reviews have examined the effectiveness of different comprehension

instruction strategies. These kinds of intervention are known as cognitive reading

strategies instruction. Children with SLI have been found to have problem in terms of

their poor word decoding and impaired language processing. Intervention on

metacognitive processing may be one of the ways to promote reading proficiency of

children with SLI. On the other hand, intervention on each single strategy at one time

has been found to be less effective in promoting metacognition. Cognitive reading

strategies instruction on multiple strategies has been found to be relatively better. One

such instruction is reciprocal teaching. A comprehensive review of evidence-based

practice in reading instruction shows that the application of cognitive reading

strategies instruction has been useful for a wide range of students. The application

involved modeling and practicing different reading strategies, such as relating prior

knowledge, self-questioning, and so on, while reading. Students had to use their

- 58 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

metacognition to self-regulate the process. Such instruction was successfully used in

classroom situations with students who had poor academic achievement; however, it

has rarely been used for students with SLI.

Unlike conventional one-way instruction, which asks students to memorize

and practice one single strategy under superficial context, cognitively-based reading

strategy instruction aims at promote students metacognition and facilitate their active

use of different metacognitive processing components. The instruction is interactive

enough for students to plan, implement, and evaluate different strategic approaches

with sufficient peer interaction within the learning context. One of the classical

instructional strategies is reciprocal teaching.

In reciprocal teaching (Palinscar & Brown, 1984), students were taught not

only multiple cognitively-based reading strategies, but also comprehension

monitoring, which promoted metacognitive awareness under specific circumstances

(Trabasso & Bouchard, 2002). Instructors modeled the strategies to the students and

explained them at their language level, then shifted from instructor to expert

- 59 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

(Rosenshine & Meister, 1994). Children formed groups and elected a leader who,

under proper guidance, applied the strategies so that the group could master the

selected reading task. As each student was given an opportunity to lead, each also had

the opportunity to practice and internalize the strategies taught (Rosenshine & Meister,

1994).

The following sections reviews the evidence-based practice for children

with typical development, children with learning disadvantage and those in Chinese

contexts. To illustrate the treatment effect, Glasss effect sizes, ES, are reported given

that the data is available. It is calculated by first dividing the difference between the

pretest means between the experimental group and the control group by the standard

deviation of pretest control. The quantity yielded then was subtracted from the

quantity of dividing the difference between the posttest means between the

experimental group and the control group by the standard deviation of posttest control

(Bryant & Wortman, 1984). Typically, the effect sizes greater than .50 is considered

as medium effect (Bryant & Wortman, 1984). The effect size value reached .80 or

- 60 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

above is considered to having large effect. The value may be larger than 1.

2.4.1. Evidence-based practice for children under typical development

Talbott, Lloyd, and Tankersley (1994) reported an overall effect size of 1.10

for comprehension interventions when compared to students with no intervention.

Mastropieri, Scruggs, Bakken and Whedon (1996), in a comprehensive review of 82

studies, reported those students being taught cognitive reading strategies

outperformed their control groups in both expository text, ES = 1.02; and narrative

text,

ES

.86.

In

recent

years,

such

experiments

had

shifted

from

researcher-performed, laboratory-based studies to classroom-based teacher-guided

studies.

Four fifth-grade classes were engaged in an experimental pre-test/post-test

retention design, using age-matched peers in Belgium as control. Four text

comprehension strategies activating prior knowledge, clarifying difficult words,

making schematic representation and formulating the main ideas of the text were

- 61 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

employed (De Corte et al., 2001) in a total of 24 50-minute lessons delivered in a

normal class context over a period of four months. The study used principles of

reciprocal teaching, including highly interactive modeling, whole class discussion and

small group work (De Corte et al., 2001).

Three types of standardized tests (text comprehension, reading strategies

and reading attitude) and additional student interviews were carried out. The results

show that the experimental group performed significant better in terms of strategy

adoption and application; there was, however, no significant difference in terms of

standardized reading test.

Another similar but larger experiment involved 22 teachers and 454 nine- to

12-year-old students from 19 Belgian primary schools. Six metacognitive processes

were measured: 1) activating background knowledge; 2) predictive reading; 3)

identifying the main issue; 4) understanding words and expressions; 5) monitoring

difficult words; and, 6) classifying text genres and adjusting reading behavior (van

Keer, 2004). The instruction techniques used were mostly based on transactional

- 62 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

strategies instruction and reciprocal teaching (van Keer, 2004). Teachers first

explicitly explained and modeled each reading strategy using think-aloud

methodology (van Keer, 2004), followed by a gradual transfer from external

regulation to student self-regulation, supported by a practice and coaching phase. The

final phase of the study encouraged students to use the strategies more independently.

Multilevel analysis revealed that students who had teacher- and peer-led

(cross-age tutoring) explicit reading instruction made significant pretest retention

progress compared to the control group, with moderate to large effects (van Keer,

2004). Pairwise comparison also showed that explicit reading instruction through

cross-age peer tutoring was significantly more effective than similar instruction

through reciprocal same-age peer tutoring (van Keer, 2004).

Allen and Hancoc (2008) recently conducted a large scale study involving

196 students in 10 fourth- and sixth-grade classrooms. The students were selected

randomly and subjected to three different instruction types: no treatment; explaining

and discussing students own cognitive profiles; and providing addition metacognitive

- 63 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

systematic inquiry treatment (Allen & Hancock, 2008). Students who underwent

treatment were trained to make learning predictions about the text based on their

background knowledge. Students were also instructed to evaluate their weaknesses

and strengths and their relationship to text comprehension (Allen & Hancock, 2008).

Students who received metacognitive inquiry treatment performed better in

standardized State assessments, p = .01.

In Sporer, Brunstein and Kieschkes (2009) study, 210 third- to sixth-grade

students received small-group reciprocal teaching, while the control group received

traditional instruction. Four metacognitive processes were measured predicting,

clarifying, summarizing and questioning. Student progress was measured by two

implements: a closed book experimentally designed reading test (three open

questions on a single piece of information from the text and six covering the texts

main ideas) and a standardized multiple choice reading test. (Sporer et al., 2009).

Students who received cognitive reading strategies instruction acquired the reading

strategies and showed significantly better strategy acquisition at all grade levels.

- 64 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

These students also outperformed the control group in experimentally-designed

reading tasks, ES = 6.87; and standardized Diagnostic Test German, ES

= .57.

Huff and Nietfeld (2009) studied 21 fifth grade students over 14

consecutive school days. Students received daily direct instruction and metacognitive

reading strategies instruction on 12 passages presented paragraph by paragraph

through an overhead projector. Students were asked to read and think aloud about the

text, identify text that was confusing and implement fix-up strategies. The students

improved their calibration accuracy during reading and outperformed their peers in

standardized Gates-MacGinitie text comprehension tests (Huff & Nietfeld, 2009).

Studies have shown that cognitive reading strategies instruction works well

in early elementary grades, and can benefit even preschool toddlers. Williams (2005)

conducted a study to demonstrate that theme identification program was applicable to

second- or third-grade at-risk students (Williams, 2005). A total of 120 second- and

third-grade students were engaged in the study; the students were drawn from three of

the five classes at each grade level, with remaining classes acting as control. This

- 65 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

study examined at-risk second-grade students comprehension of narrative and

expository texts both. Expository text is common in primary schools and appears in

various forms, including description, temporal sequence of events, concept

explanation, definition, compare-contrast, problem-solution or a mix of these.

Students were taught how to use such strategies as identifying clue words; building

graphic organizers to lay out relevant information; comparing and contrasting; and

summarization. Interviews were conducted pre- and post-test as an outcome measure.

The program was effective. Readers, regardless their reading abilities, were

sensitive to both narrative and expository text structure (Williams, 2005). The result

showed that at-risk students in primary grades who received explicit reading

instruction displayed superior ability to draw compare-contrast statements from the

text and to read novel contents (Williams, 2005).

Besides the strategies on theme identification, Garner & Bonhna (2004)

investigated 35 first-grade beginning readers to determine whether students would use

reading strategies on narrative text structures. Over a 16-week period, students were

- 66 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

taught to identify narrative text structure and to self-question using standardized

prompts. The study subjects significantly outperformed their peers in both reading and

listening comprehension. The pre- and post-test scores on prompted recall and

identification of story structure showed significant gains compared to those of

students who had been taught the same reading or listening material using traditional

teaching methods.

Wasik, Bond and Hindman (2006) studied another 207 preschool students

in 10 classrooms for nine months. Teachers were asked to provide a language-rich

learning environment and facilitate student use of such strategies as asking questions

and making connection with prior knowledge using concrete objects and themes. Each

student received intensive book reading. (Wasik et al., 2006). The students

demonstrated improvement in standardized receptive and expressive language

batteries, including Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test and Expressive One Word

Vocabulary Test, ES = .44 to .73 (Wasik et al., 2006); however, the study did not

measure changes in student text comprehension over the study period.

- 67 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

These evidence-based studies showed that cognitive reading strategies

instruction can promote text comprehension in elementary grade students across

cultures (Table 2-2). These studies were not only laboratory studies, but included

classroom studies (Allen & Hancock, 2008; De Corte et al., 2001; Garner & Bochna,

2004; Huff & Nietfeld, 2009; Lau, 2006a; Sporer et al., 2009; van Keer, 2004; Wasik

et al., 2006).

- 68 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Table 2-2.
Summary of Studies on Cognitive Reading Strategies Instruction Programs from 2000-2009
Study

Subject

Experimental instruction

De Corte et al. (2001)

5th grade classes (N = 79)

Transactional strategies instruction (TSI) of activating Students showed significantly more


prior knowledge, clarifying difficult words, making
pretest retention progress than the
schematic representations and formulating main ideas control group, with moderate effect (ES
= 3.32)

Van Keer (2004)

9-12 years old students (N = Teacher-led whole class activities (START) with
22)
explicit reading strategies instruction on activating
prior knowledge, prediction, theme identification,
monitoring understanding, tracing difficult ideas

Student made significantly more pretest


retention progress than the control
group (N = 454)

Garner & Bochna (2004)

1st grade student (N = 35)

Students significantly outperformed in


both reading and listening
comprehension.

Wasik et al. (2006)

Preschool students (N = 207) Intensive book reading and oral strategies on asking
Students showed greater improvement
questions and making connections to prior knowledge in standardized receptive and
expressive language batteries ( ES = .44
- .73)

Allen & Hancock (2008)

4th and 6th grade students


(N = 196)

Metacognitive inquiry treatment

Students showed superior performance


on standardized reading test (p = .01)

Sporer et al. (2009)

3th, 4th, 5th and 6th grade


students (N = 210)

Small-group reciprocal teaching of four reading


strategies (predicting, clarifying, summarizing and
questioning)

Students outperformed peers in


experimental-designed reading task (ES
= 6.87) and on standardized reading
test (ES = .57)

Huff & Nietfeld (2009)

5th grade students (N = 21) Metacognitive strategy instruction (self monitoring and Students outperformed peers on reading
fix-up strategies, main idea identification)
tests and in calibration accuracy

Strategic instruction on narrative text structures

69

Result

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

2.4.2. Evidence-based practice for children with learning disadvantages

As mentioned in the previous section, students with SLI have difficulty

constructing text meaning, despite having intact word decoding skills. However, only a very

few studies targeted children with SLI solely. A number of studies have examined whether

cognitive reading strategies instruction can promote reader comprehension. Wanzek, Wexler,

Vaughn and Ciullo (2007) conducted a meta-analysis of 24 studies on reading intervention

involving fourth and fifth grade students with reading difficulties. Five experimental studies

and four single-subject studies addressing text comprehension development were identified,

all of which provided opportunities for students to preview text and connect with their

knowledge through a series of cognitive strategies. These strategies included self-questioning,

self-regulating and summarizing what they had learnt, and showed moderate to high effect
(Wanzek et al., 2007). On the other hand, working on word recognition alone yielded

minimal effect.

Another meta-analysis examined 29 studies conducted between 1987 and 2006 on

reading intervention in elementary students with learning difficulties. Ten articles examined

70

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

single cognitive reading strategies and eight studies employed different packaging

approaches to teaching multiple strategies (Gajria, Jitendra, Sood, & Sacks, 2007). Both

single and multiple strategy instruction were effective.

Among single strategies, identifying main ideas through paraphrasing and


summarizing had the most effect (Gajria et al., 2007), while self-questioning, text structure

and questioning had less effect. Direct instruction in a reciprocal teaching format was more
effective, mean ES = 2.11, N = 8, in teaching multiple reading strategies to special needed
students (Gajria et al., 2007) than was teaching single strategies, mean ES = 1.83, N = 15
(Gajria et al., 2007). The use of cognitive strategies in reading instruction was effective for

both typically developing students and students with poor academic achievement or learning

disabilities. The following section reviews individual cognitive reading strategies instruction

programs for struggling readers.

There are a number of studies on different individual reading strategies to promote


literacy among students with learning disadvantages (Bakken et al., 1997; Boyle, 1996;
Brand-Gruwel et al., 1998; Graves, 1986; Ho, 2004; Lau & Chan, 2007; Lederer, 2000;

71

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Miranda et al., 1997; Simmonds, 1992; Wilder & Williams, 2001; Wong & Jones, 1982). One

of the classic studies was conducted by Wong and Jones (1982). In their study, 120 eighth

and ninth grade students with learning disabilities were randomly divided into two groups.

One group received no training, while the other was trained to find the main ideas in a text by

generating related questions. The students using this self-questioning procedure showed
better results when tested on the prediction of idea, ES = .40; and passage comprehension, ES
= .58 (Gajria et al., 2007; Wong & Jones, 1982).

1. Single cognitive reading strategy instruction Graves (1986) conducted an early

instruction program on different metacognitive reading strategies among fifth- to

eighth-grade students with learning disabilities (N = 24). However, one strategy was targeted

at a time. Graves found that students using main idea identification and self monitoring
strategies significantly outperformed those who did not in immediate comprehension, ES =
1.64, and delayed comprehension, ES = 1.49 (Gajria et al., 2007; Graves, 1986). Gajria and

Salvias (1992) study focused on summarization. It built on previous studies on main idea

72

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

identification to teach 30 sixth- to ninth-grade students with learning disabilities how to

generate a summary. The instruction included five rules: a) reduce the list; b) select a topic

sentence; c) construct a topic sentence; d) delete redundancies; and, e) delete unimportant

information (Gajria & Salvia, 1992). The students significantly outperformed their
un-instructed peers in both condensation, ES = 6.14, and factual questions, ES = 2.76 (Gajria
et al., 2007; Gajria & Salvia, 1992).

In a study by Simmonds (1992), special education resource teachers taught 480

first- to ninth-grade students with learning disabilities how to use question-answer strategy
(QAR) on three types of questions literal, text implicit and script implicit. Large effect size

was reported when compared to those who relied on traditional reading instructions on
comprehension tests, ES = 1.57, on the same social studies material (Gajria & Salvia, 1992;

Simmonds, 1992). Moreover, students in early grades also benefited from strategic reading

instructions (Simmonds, 1992). Strategic instruction is not only applicable to students with

mild learning disabilities but also to students with intellectual deficit. Boyles (1996) study

examines a group of sixth to eighth grade students with either learning disabilities (N = 20) or

73

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

mental retardation (N = 10). The subjects were randomly assigned into either an experimental

or a control group, matched for disability. Students in the experimental group were taught to

use a mnemonic prompt to identify and link the main ideas in the text with the supporting

content, then construct a cognitive map (Boyle, 1996). Students using cognitive mapping

strategies performed significantly better than their control groups peers on grade level
reading passages, ES = 1.13 ;and inferential questions, ES = .89 (Boyle, 1996; Gajria et al.,

2007). Strategic instruction can also be extended across subjects. Bakken, Mastropieri and

Scruggs (1997) focus on the identification of specific text structures in expository science

passages. 54 eighth-grade students with learning disabilities were asked to identify three
major kinds of text structure in science passages main ideas, lists and order using specific

structure study strategies. The results showed that using text-based strategies led to large
effect size in term of immediate, ES = 1.36; and delayed recall, ES = 1.23, compared to
students using paragraph restatement or given traditional instruction (Bakken et al., 1997;

Gajria & Salvia, 1992). A more recent study investigates the effects of student- and

teacher-managed instructional reading activities on third-grade students (Connor, Morrison,

74

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

& Petrella, 2004). The classroom interactions and standardized assessment results of 73

third-grade American students in 43 classrooms were compared over two consecutive

seasons. Students with low or below-grade-level text comprehension skills showed


significant positive response to teacher-managed text comprehension strategies (Connor et al.,

2004).

Wilder and Williams (2001) conducted an experiment in a rather different way.

Rather than using standardized batteries or counting the number of questions answered

correctly, the study adopted a cognitive think-aloud approach to qualify students response.

This experiment investigated the delivery of a text structure-based instructional program to

91 middle school students with severe learning difficulties (Wilder & Williams, 2001), and

focused on narrative text. Small group special education classes were randomly assigned to

either the theme identification program or a traditional instruction program for 12 lessons;

both programs used the same 12 stories (fiction, fables and folk tales).

Students in the theme identification program outperformed those in traditional

therapy at almost all levels, including themes concepts, theme identification and theme

75

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

application, to great effect, ES = 1.33 - 5.93 (Wanzek et al., 2007; Wilder & Williams, 2001).
In a more recent narrative reading study conducted by Williams et al. (2005) of 128 second-

and third-grade at-risk students, students who received text structure strategy instruction
showed superior achievement on structure, ES = 2.29; and content, ES = 2.23 when
comparing with the control group (Wanzek et al., 2007; Williams et al., 2005).

2. Multiple cognitive reading strategies instruction The success of single

cognitive reading strategy instruction has, over the past 20 years, led to the evolution of
multiple cognitive reading strategies instruction (Pressley, 2002; Wanzek et al., 2007).

Englert and Mariages (1991) study proposed five reading strategies to facilitate students

comprehension skills. It used a reciprocal teaching format to teach students to predict ideas,

organize ideas and search-summarize ideas from text, as well as to evaluate comprehension.

28 fourth- to sixth-grade students with learning disabilities outperformed their


traditionally-taught peers with large effect sizes in total free recall of ideas, ES = 1.90; recall
of main ideas, ES = 1.13; overall organization of recalls, ES = .94; and strategic knowledge,

76

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

ES = .85 (Englert & Mariage, 1991; Gajria et al., 2007; Wanzek et al., 2007). At the same

time, Bruce and Chan (1991) conducted a case study to examine the effect of reciprocal

teaching on facilitate questioning, summarizing and predicting from text. Two fifth-grade

struggle readers were recruited and received instruction in resource room. They demonstrated

remarkable progress on their total comprehension scores, including main ideas identification

and recall of passage details (Bruce & Chan, 1991). The comprehension accuracy increased

from the baseline of 16 - 20% to 75 - 90% (Bruce & Chan, 1991). Miranda, Villaescusa, and

Vidal-Abarcas (1997) experimental study examined the effects of two reading interventions

on 60 fifth- and sixth-grader students with learning disabilities. The students were randomly

divided into three groups. The first group received cognitive reading strategies instruction on

reading strategies. The second group received the same instruction as the first group plus

attribution training. The third group acted as control. While the first two groups were both

taught and practiced strategies for activating knowledge, previewing, questioning, clarifying

and mapping main ideas from the text, the first used a general self-instruction procedure

during reading (stop, think, decide, check and evaluate), while the second received additional

77

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

teacher modeling and received positive attribution relating to their work (Miranda et al.,

1997). Both forms of reading intervention produced large treatment effect in terms of

researcher-developed measurements of main idea identification (ES = 1.93), recall (ES = 5.89)
and cloze (ES = 2.56) (Miranda et al., 1997; Wanzek et al., 2007).

Brand-Gruwel, Aarnoutse and Van Den Bos (1998) studied 167 nine- to

11-year-old students from six special schools for the learning disabled. Each scored from -2

SD to -1 SD on a word decoding test, at least one standard deviation below mean in a text

comprehension test and -1 SD from the general listening comprehension test (Brand-Gruwel
et al., 1998). Four metacognitive processes clarifying, questioning, summarizing and
predicting were targeted using a combination of direct instruction and reciprocal teaching

in grade-appropriate 45-minutes reading lessons. Strong and significant program-across-time


interaction was found on both strategic reading, F = 15.90, p < .001; and strategic listening
tests, F = 13.77, p < .001; similar results were seen in a Text comprehension Questionnaire,
F = 8.43, p < .01, which assessed student knowledge and awareness of different
metacognitive strategies for text comprehension (Brand-Gruwel et al., 1998). Lederer (2000)

78

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

conducted a large-scale study exploring the effectiveness of reciprocal teaching in social

studies. 25 fourth- to sixth-grade students with learning disabilities were mixed with 128

typically developing peers in existing inclusive classrooms and were taught, using reciprocal

teaching methods, the strategies of 1) questioning, 2) summarizing and 3) clarifying difficult

words (Lederer, 2000; Palinscar & Brown, 1984). Compared to those undergoing traditional
teacher-directed instruction, the students performed well in answering short questions, ES
= .35; generating meaningful questions, ES = .55 ;and composing summaries ES = .82
(Wanzek et al., 2007). Klingner, Vaughn, Arguelles, Hughes & Leftwichs (2004) study

modified reciprocal teaching to accommodate collaborative strategic reading, which includes


four strategies: 1) preview; 2) click and clunk; 3) get the gist; and, 4) wrap up (Klingner et al.,

2004). In the study, 29 fourth-grade students with learning disabilities performed to medium
effect on text comprehension of social studies text ES = .51, relative to their traditionally
taught peers (Gajria et al., 2007; Klingner et al., 2004).

3. Evidence-based practices for children with SLI

79

Rich and Blakes (1994)

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

single subject study on students with language difficulties recruited five fifth-grade students

to receive a comprehension intervention in 15, 45-minutes sessions. The intervention

included such self-regulated learning strategies as extracting main ideas, self-questioning and

paraphrasing during teachers reading of expository text (Rich & Blake, 1994). The reading

outcome was deduced from a research-made, non-standardized reading inventory, consisting

of eight open-ended questions from one expository passage. All five students showed

improvement. In the post-test, students scored 56 - 100% in listening comprehension (pre-test

vs. post-test: 1-6 vs. 4.5-8), and 63 - 100% (pre-test vs. post-test: 2-6 vs. 5-8) in text
comprehension (Rich & Blake, 1994; Wanzek et al., 2007). This study was exploratory and

consisted of case studies; its lack of representative sampling and inferential statistics limited

its generalizability. This remained the case until Takala (2006) conducted another

experimental study, more than a decade later.

Takalas (2006) experimental study introduced four reciprocally taught and

cognitive reading strategies to typical fourth-grade students and those with SLI: predicting;

clarifying; questioning; and, summarizing (Palinscar & Brown, 1984; Takala, 2006). The

80

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

study included 15 lessons and took place in a normal classroom. During text discussions, the

teachers taught the four strategies through dialogues with students. The result showed a

significant intervention effect in typical fourth grade students. While the SLI experimental

group does not showed a significant pre- and post-test difference, the trend is positive

(Takala, 2006).

Another finding suggested that word decoding skills do not show significant

correlation to text comprehension results in any group in the study (Takala, 2006). It further

concluded that weak word decoding skills do not necessarily indicate poor text
comprehension (Takala, 2006; Wanzek et al., 2007). Poor word decoding might not affect the

development of text comprehension among students with SLI. This innovative study showed

that students with SLI who do not respond to traditional teaching method may respond to

cognitive strategic training.

81

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Table 2-3.
Summary of Cognitive Reading Strategies Instruction Programs for Disadvantaged Children between 1980 to 2010
Study

Subject

Experimental instruction

Wong & Jones (1982)

8th and 9th grade students Self-questioning


with learning disabilities (N
= 120)

Students showed better prediction of


idea units (ES = .40) and greater
passage comprehension (ES = .58)

Graves (1986)

5th, 6th, 7th and 8th grade


students with learning
disabilities (N = 24)

Main idea identification and self monitoring

Students
outperformed
peers
significantly in immediate (ES = 1.64)
and delayed (ES = 1.49) comprehension

Englert and Mariage (1991)

4th, 5th and 6th grade


students with learning
disabilities (N = 28)

POSSE strategies (predicting ideas, organizing ideas,


searching/summarizing ideas, and evaluating
comprehension)

Students significantly outperformed


peers on all comprehension measures

Bruce & Chan (1991)

Two 5th grade struggling


readers

Reciprocal teaching on questioning, summarizing and Students showed improvement on


predicting
answering comprehension question

Gajria & Salvia (1992)

30, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th


Summarization strategies
grade students with learning
disabilities

Students significantly outperformed


peers on both condensation (ES = 6.14)
and factual questions (ES = 2.76).

Simmonds (1992)

1st to 9th grade students


Question-answer strategies (QAR)
with learning disabilities (N
= 480)

Students significantly outperformed on


comprehension tests (ES = 1.57)

Boyle (1996)

6th, 7th and 8th grade


Cognitive mapping strategies
students with learning
disabilities (N = 20) or
mental retardation (N = 10)

Students performed significantly better


on grade level reading passages (ES =
1.13) and inferential questions (ES
= .89)

82

Result

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Table 2-3 (cond.)


Summary of Cognitive Reading Strategies Instruction Programs for Disadvantaged Children between 1980 to 2010
Study

Subject

Experimental instruction

Result

Miranda et al. (1997)

5th and 6th grade students


with learning disabilities (N
= 60)

Activating knowledge, previewing, questioning,


clarifying and mapping

Students showed improvement on main


idea identification (ES = 1.93), recall
(ES = 5.89) and cloze (ES = 2.56).

Bakken et al. (1997)

8th grade students with


Text-based strategies
learning disabilities (N = 54)

Students showed significantly better


immediate (ES = 1.36) and delayed
recall (ES = 1.23)

Brand-Gruwel et al. (1998)

3th and 5th grade students


with learning disabilities (N
= 167)

Strategic clarifying, questioning, summarizing,


predicting

Students significantly outperformed


peers in both reading and listening
comprehension

Lederer (2000)

4th, 5th and 6th grade


students with learning
disabilities (N = 25)

Reciprocal teaching on strategies of questioning,


summarizing, questioning and clarifying

Students performed well in answering


short questions (ES = .35), generating
meaningful questions (ES= .55) and
composing summaries (ES = .82)

Wilder & Williams (2001)

91 7th grade students with


severe learning difficulties

Strategic instruction on identification of story theme Students showed significant treatment


effect over traditional therapy at almost
all levels, including theme concepts,
theme identification and theme
application, with large effect size (ES =
1.33-5.93)

Connor et al. (2004)

Primary Students with low or Teacher-managed text comprehension strategies


below grade level text
instruction (e.g. self-questioning)
comprehension (N = 73)

83

Students response significantly more


positively to standardized reading tests

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Table 2-3 (cond.)


Summary of Cognitive Reading Strategies Instruction Programs for Disadvantaged Children between 1980 to 2010
Study

Subject

Experimental instruction

Result

Klingner et al. (2004)

4th grade students with


Collaborative strategic reading instruction
learning disabilities (N = 29)

Students text comprehension improved


significantly (ES = .51)

Williams et al.(2005)

2nd and 3rd grade at-risk


Explicit strategies of text structure instruction
students in reading narrative
(N = 128)

Students achieved superiorly on


structure measure (ES = 2.29) and
content measure (ES = 2.23) than
control

Rich & Blake (1994)

Five 5th grade students with Strategic training on main ideas, paraphrasing,
language impairment
self-questioning and predicting

Students showed improvement in both


listening comprehension (pre-test vs.
post-test: 1-6 vs. 4.5-8) and text
comprehension (pre-test vs. post-test:
2-6 vs. 5-8)

Takala (2006)

16 4th grade students with


Reciprocal teaching on prediction, clarification,
specific language impairment questioning and summarizing

Students showed insignificant but


positive trend on answering
comprehension questions

For Children with SLIs

84

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

2.4.3. Evidence-based practice in Chinese context

Few studies have been conducted in Chinese contexts, and none of those

focused on the SLI population. Lau (2006a) published what was probably one of the first

studies to apply cognitive reading strategies to Chinese text reading, in an exploratory

research study, involving 205 seventh-grade students at a single secondary school. A

month-long school-based Chinese reading strategies instruction consisting of 21

40-minute lessons was implemented, along with the students regular Chinese lessons.
Paired t-tests showed significant pre- and post-treatment effects on quantitative reading

strategies and narrative and expository text comprehension (Lau, 2006a). Six of the

students studied were selected to participate in a qualitative study that included think

aloud measures and a metacognitive interview. The study suggested that students with

average reading abilities can benefit more from strategy instruction, compared to students

with poor vocabulary knowledge and low learning motivation (Lau, 2006a).

Lau and Chan (2007), developed the first Chinese cognitive strategies

instruction (CSI) reading program based on theoretical frameworks and empirical findings
from Western studies (Klingner et al., 2004). The program recruited 88 low-achieving
85

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

eighth-grade Hong Kong Chinese students from remedial classes. All had scored in the

bottom one-fifth on a local standardized Chinese language assessment, and all had

intellectual and character decoding abilities within normal limits. Over a period of six

consecutive weeks, one-fourth of the students (N = 22) were engaged in 32, 35-minute

CSI lessons focusing on four sets of strategies. The first set comprised general strategic
rules, such as deletion, selection, generalization and construction (Klingner et al., 2004;

Lau & Chan, 2007). The second set consisted of comprehension monitoring strategies,

such as error detection and simple fix-up strategies. The third and fourth sets focused on

expository and narrative text structures. Students were assessed based on their ability to

apply reading strategies, a text comprehension test, a reading motivation questionnaire, a

reading transfer test, a think-aloud task and an in-depth interview focusing on their

metacognitive knowledge and reading motivation (Lau & Chan, 2007). CSI program
students made superior gains in: generalization/construction, F ( 3, 80 ) = 5.36, p < .01;
summarization, F ( 3, 80 ) = 4.67, p < .01); error detection, F ( 3, 80 ) = 4.57, p < .01; and
total comprehension, F = ( 3, 80 ) = 9.87, p < .001, compared to students taught using

traditional procedures, whether using CSI texts or original school texts. Students were
86

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

able to maintain their improvements for up to four months after the program ended (Lau

& Chan, 2007). Although only descriptive statistics were reported, students demonstrated

improved metacognitive knowledge and more positive motivation towards reading.

The above study focused on secondary school students. An unpublished thesis

by Ho (2004) recounts a study of three groups (N = 36) of academically low-achieving

fourth-grade students, all of whom were in intensive remedial teaching programs. Each

group had 12 students. The first group received cognitive strategy instructions, while the

second group received lexicon enhancement instructions focusing on character decoding

strategy, appreciation and skilled use of vocabulary, and language expression. The last

group was the control group and did not receive any specific tuition.

A reader response-based approach was adopted for the first group (Ho, 2004),

with the subjects generating questions and explanation in response to the story and

classmates ideas. These responses reflected the quality and level of the subjects thinking,

and so helped the teacher to evaluate their learning progress (Ho, 2004). Ho (2004)

described the lesson outline as follows:

In each lesson, except the first lesson, all subjects were asked to read
87

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

stories and express and share their thinking in response to the teachers

questions. At the beginning of the treatment, the teacher took the

initiative role in asking the subjects questions which included both

open-ended and structured questions in order to help them scaffold their

thinking skills. Discussions were encouraged among the subjects. At the

same time, the subjects were taught cognitive reading strategies such as

questioning and story grammar. The active nature of the comprehension

process was emphasized and subjects were motivated to integrate text

meaning with personal experience. A dynamic environment was created

for their social modeling. At the later stage, the subjects were encouraged

to ask questions themselves and the teachers guidance was gradually

faded away so that the subjects could take initiative in reflecting and

develop self-metacognition skills. The content of the first lesson was the

same to the one offered to the language-focused group. The teacher

firstly discussed with the subjects the functions of reading in order to

motivate them to learn the new reading strategies. (p.28-29)


88

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

The three groups were pre- and post-tested to analyze the effect of the

treatments. The measuring instruments included text- and oral-based reading tests,

interviews and reflection sheets that measured subjects perceptions about a multi-part

story; the subjects had to answer questions about each part before moving to the next. The

students gave oral responses as well; the researcher read each part of the story aloud, then

questioned the subjects before continuing to the next part. There were pre- and post-test

questions (seven written and six oral) relating to prediction, problem solving, theme

identification, summarization and creative thinking.


Based on oral tests, the cognitive group, pre-test vs. post-test: 11.17 vs. 21.5, t
(12) = 9.61, p < .001, outperformed both the lexicon-focused group, pre-test vs. post-test:
12.17 vs. 13.25, t (12) = 2.95, p = .02, and the control group, pre-test vs. post-test 9.84 vs.
10.92, t (12) = 1.82, p = .10. Multiple comparison showed greater improvement among

cognitive training students in each categorical question of prediction, problem solving,

theme identification and summarization (Ho, 2004). In addition, the cognitive group

outperformed the language-focused and control groups on overall reading conceptions


(Gain score: Cognitive vs. Lexical vs. Control = 8.50 vs. .42 vs. 1.35, paired difference, t
89

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

(12) = 7.56, p < .001). The results provided some evidence that cognitive instructional

program have a positive impact on subjects conceptions of reading (Ho, 2004).

Hos (2004) work raised an interesting issue concerning student development of

metacognitive reading concepts. Instead of totally relying on reading test scores, as

previous studies had, Ho (2004) also considered students metacognitive concept

development. Metacognitive improvement drove students to be more alert to their

learning environment, possible reading outcomes and reading strategies available; it

fostered students metacognition and internalized their learnt cognitive reading strategies.

2.4.4. Summary

Twentieth century reading strategy instruction programs have generally focused


on single strategies (Gajria et al., 2007; Wanzek et al., 2007; Zhang, 1993); more recently,

however, numerous researchers have examined the use of multiple cognitive reading

strategies, together with reciprocal teaching or similar systematic, teacher-led instruction


techniques (Connor et al., 2004; De Corte et al., 2001; Lau, 2006a; Takala, 2006; van

Keer, 2004), and shown cognitive reading strategies to be successful within regular
90

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

classes at both the both middle school and elementary grade levels, regardless of the text
structures studied (Allen & Hancock, 2008; De Corte et al., 2001; Garner & Bochna,
2004; Huff & Nietfeld, 2009; Lau, 2006a; Sporer et al., 2009; van Keer, 2004; Wasik et
al., 2006). Moreover, the strategies benefited not only on children under typical
development, but also those with a learning disadvantage (Bakken et al., 1997; Boyle,
1996; Brand-Gruwel et al., 1998; Graves, 1986; Ho, 2004; Lau & Chan, 2007; Lederer,
2000; Miranda et al., 1997; Simmonds, 1992; Wilder & Williams, 2001; Wong & Jones,

1982).

Rich and Blake (1994) and Takala (2006) both produced innovative cognitive

reading strategies instruction programs for students with SLI, though the treatment effect

on children with SLI was modest compared to that noted in mainstream students. As the

interventions were carried out in normal classes without explicit introductory activities, it

is possible that students with SLI were not motivated. In addition, the programs lasted for

only five weeks, giving students little time to practice between pre- and post-program

tests.

Of the numerous studies of cognitive reading strategies instruction conducted


91

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

over the past 30 years, relatively few focused on Chinese language comprehension (Lau

& Chan, 2003). While some studies documented differences between the cognitive

processing of alphabetical scripts and Chinese character decoding, metacognition

strategies could still be applicable to Chinese text comprehension. Lau (2006a) tested a

cognitive reading strategies instruction program for Chinese language classes, and found

that it ran smoothly in class; however, the study did not control for maturation effect or

practice effect. Moreover, the Laus conclusion that poor vocabulary knowledge and low

learning motivation prevented students from applying the strategies learnt during the

program is based on a qualitative study of only two poorly-performing readers, and has

been criticized for its lack of generalizability. Further study, using a control group and a

statistically acceptable sample size, was needed.

2.5. Current Approaches to SLI Reading Remediation

The previous section explored a number of evidence-based practices of

cognitive reading strategies instruction, very few of which targeted SLI populations. This

section reviews the current approach to SLI reading remediation, particularly in Chinese
92

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

literacy instruction. It also recounts the traditional intervention approach to children with

SLI. It stresses that current children with SLI, despite having made significant progress in

term of their linguistic skills, still found it very difficult to cope with the literacy

requirements in schools. Through carefully planned instruction, it still remains a mystery

that the instruction can promote these five essential processes and yield the ultimate

outcome, that is, successful reading. In other words, it drives students with SLI from a
position of learning to read to one of reading to learn, and helps them to become

successful learners within the inclusive education system.

2.5.1. Traditional and contemporary SLI treatments

In the past, the treatment of SLI focused very much on the late acquisition of

grammatical skills (Swanson, Fey, Mills, & Hood, 2005). The treatment given to many

children with SLI targeted their grammatical comprehension and production to reach

morphosyntax development milestones. Due to increased awareness of speech and

language pathology and, since the 1980s, a growing movement toward early intervention,

children with SLI were now readily identified at preschool or elementary school age
93

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

(Swanson et al., 2005).

Occasionally, preschool children with SLI were discharged from treatment after

developing their morphosyntax to a certain degree. However, while these students had

recovered from their language deficit and passed standardized language tests, their

narrative performance remained weak; they tended to produce narratives with fewer

words, more syntax errors, poorer use of cohesive devices and less story content
(Swanson et al., 2005).

As mentioned above, such children always showed cognitive and metacognitive

functioning deficiencies. In addition to their flawed narrative skills, they usually

demonstrated difficulty coping with text comprehension in daily schooling. However,

given their remediated linguistic skills, their deeper problems were easily overlooked by
school teachers or even speech and language pathologists (Kelso et al., 2007). These

students faced repeated academic failures unless and until introduced to cognitive

strategies. This situation remained unchanged until in recent years. Narrative-based

Language Intervention, or NBLI in short form, is a hybrid program combining skill-based

linguistic training and cognitive strategies similar to those for narrative text. The program
94

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

began with a story retell-imitation task (Swanson et al., 2005). The clinician highlighted

the main theme of story and activated the childrens prior knowledge of the story

semantic details, then read the story on a component-by-component basis. Afterwards,


children retold the story and the necessary story component upon visual cues (Swanson et
al., 2005). The last task was story generation, in which the children, interacting with the
clinician, created a new story from the story components they had learnt (Swanson et al.,

2005). Children in the intervention group showed clinically significant improvement in

narrative quotients, which reflected their productive story organization, story content and

language sophistication. However, no significant change was found in lexical diversity.

Cognitive strategies not only enhance text processing, but also auditory-verbal

processing in oral communication. Garner and Bochna (2004) conducted a study of 35

first-grade students (randomly selected into intervention and control groups) in a 16-week

intervention focusing on direct explanation and guided theme identification practice. The

intervention group demonstrated higher post-test listening and text comprehension during

a prompted recall of story elements than did the control group (Garner & Bochna, 2004).

Another study of 207 preschool children aged between two years, eight months
95

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

and four years, 10-months addressed the effectiveness of a language cum literacy
intervention program (Wasik et al., 2006). The results indicated that, by using language

rich conversational strategies and questioning strategies before, during and after book

reading, program students performed significantly better than control group students on

an expressive one-word vocabulary test and Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test. In another

large-scale study, 428 fourth-grade mainstream students from 20 elementary schools and

167 nine- to 11-year-old children with learning disabilities from 6 special schools
received 20 reciprocal teaching lessons on cognitive reading and listening strategies
predicting, clarifying, questioning and summarizing (Brand-Gruwel et al., 1998). Strategy

use, auditory listening comprehension and text comprehension were variables in the

analysis. The MANOVA result showed that, although mainstream students performed

better than students with learning disabilities, the program demonstrated significant
Groups x Time interactions.

2.6

Education Context for SLI Reading Problems

The previous section has identified some cognitive intervention approach for
96

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

children with SLI. This section continues to explore the current schooling for these group

of children. Its main focus lies on the weaknesses in current conventional Chinese

language teaching, especially as regards the growing number of children with SLI, and

identifies an urgent need to find more appropriate instruction methods. Although there is

still no study showing a direct causal relationship between the implementation of

cognitive reading strategies instruction and gains in oral communication, the studies

reviewed in the previous section demonstrate that language and literacy intervention can
combined at elementary grade levels (Brand-Gruwel et al., 1998; Garner & Bochna, 2004;
Wasik et al., 2006). Through environmental modification, cognitive reading strategies
instruction could be language-rich and interactive (Wasik et al., 2006), and childrens

reading and listening comprehension could be fostered. As such, school language teaching

classes might be one of the best places to implement cognitive reading strategies.

2.6.1. Conventional Chinese language teaching

Conventional Chinese language teaching in Hong Kong primary schools is

viewed as prescribed text teaching, in that teachers select a certain number of prescribed
97

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

texts for use in each grade (Curriculum Development Council, 2001). The texts are

usually adapted from commercial textbooks approved by the authority; the same process

is used for elementary to secondary students. Following recent educational reforms,

prescribed text teaching is no longer found in secondary school curricula (Lau & Chan,

2007); however, the situation remains unchanged in early-elementary curricula.

The employment of cognitive strategies to enhance text comprehension was

particularly important in Hong Kongs primary education system, which had a long
tradition of prescribed teaching (Lau, 2006a; Lau & Chan, 2007; Tse et al., 1995).

Chinese language teachers in Hong Kong spent most of their effort explaining lexical

items in the text rather than teaching reading strategy. However, findings had shown that

poor readers, and especially poor comprehenders, had low intrinsic motivation to read text

(Lau, 2006b; Lau & Chan, 2003; Yau, 2005). Such students needed not only sophisticated

text reading strategies, but also explicit instructional practice on how best to make use of

these strategies. As such, current instructional practice in Hong Kong may not address

their problem.

The Authority seems to have recognized the problem, and recent educational
98

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

reforms have emphasized the importance of reading to learn (Curriculum Development

Council, 2001). Reading, one of the four key tasks of school curriculum reform, pinpoints

the importance of teachers encouraging students independent reading and, through that

reading, further enhancing such higher-order cognitive processing or metacognition as

grasping basic skills, constructing and applying knowledge, solving problems and taking

initiative in seeking knowledge (Curriculum Development Council, 2001).

2.6.2. Inclusive policy for children with SLI

Current Education Bureau policy is to integrate students with special

educational needs (SEN) into the mainstream whenever possible and allow them to

receive the same educational opportunities as their normally-developing peers (Education

Bureau, 2004). Since the introduction of inclusive education in the 1970s, the demand for

support services for SEN students had always exceeded supply. As such, the benefit of

inclusive education for SEN students was questionable.

As mentioned in the previous section, students with SLI, together with other

low achievers, exhibit deficiencies in character decoding, combining sentences and


99

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

constructing main ideas from the text. In particular, students with SLI lack the

metacognitive ability to apply appropriate reading strategies. In the past, these students

were relegated to small remedial classes, where it was expected they would receive

intensive remedial support (Lau & Chan, 2007). However, this is not working out at all, in

practice. The reading instruction given is more or less the same as that found in regular

classes, and putative student changes are questionable (Lau & Chan, 2007).

Only recently have regular school-based speech therapy service been offered,

together with educational psychological services (Education Bureau, 2007). Due to

limited resources and services available in the market, one speech therapist often had to

service four or five primary schools in a single week. Students with SLI and those with

other specific learning disabilities received assessment and intervention within the

mainstream primary school, and could, with appropriate treatment, overcome their

academic difficulties. The critical point is that speech therapists and teachers could work
together to identify their literacy problems for suitable intervention (Kelso et al., 2007).

Unfortunately, due to a high student-to-teacher ratio and limited support for remedial

training, mainstream teachers often fail to do so.


100

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

2.6.3. Summary

Recent works on NBLI have taken an innovative approach to language

intervention. Instead of targeting a single linguistic structure, they have focused more on a
metacognitive domain increasing awareness of narrative structure and themes (Swanson
et al., 2005). The interventions goals were similar to cognitive reading strategies

instruction for the enhancement of metacognitive processing. The incorporation of

cognitive strategic training on language intervention was generally effective and practical.

Conventional Chinese language teaching showed shortcomings in meeting the

challenges of current education reforms and the trend toward inclusive education.

School-based speech therapists and teachers could work together to provide holistic

services for children with SLI in terms of

oral language and text comprehension

remediation; however, the question remains what is the most effective instructional

method for SLI children in mainstream language learning classes?

101

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Traditional
speech therapy

Cognitive reading strategies


instruction

Morphosyntax output
Auditory comprehension
AT RISK text comprehension

Metacognitive processing
Beliefs towards reading
Oral language

Successful reader

Successful communicator

A competent learner in mainstream school

Figure 2-4. Cognitive Reading Strategies Instruction within the Education Context.

Figure 2-4 demonstrates cognitive reading strategies instruction in the

education context. It calls attention to the increased demands of inclusive education.

Children with SLI learn using the same curriculum as their mainstream classroom peers.

Through speech therapy services, students with SLI receive training on oral expression

and comprehension; however, it is risky to discharge students who are making good

102

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

progress in their spoken language, while neglecting their inadequate literacy and text
comprehension skills. Despite having relatively normal character decoding skills that
allow them to learn to read, children with SLI still show difficulty reading to learn.

This calls for the development of an effective early intervention of cognitive

reading strategies instruction program to enhance the development of metacognition for

children with SLI, facilitate their use of metacognitive processing and then refine their

metacognitive knowledge on reading. The enhancement not only affects reading, but also

communication in turn. Such a successful program yields the final product to prepare

children with SLI to be as competent learners in mainstream school as their peers are, or

in broad terms, to improve the quality of inclusive education from a more holistic

perspective. However, a research gap remains in this area.

2.7. The Present Study

Past reading studies have shown differences among normally achieving and

poor reader on metacognitive processing. Student with SLI show impaired language

processing, but also have particular difficulties in word recognition and text
103

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

comprehension. However, there are few studies available concerning children with SLIs

metacognitive processing and its impact on text comprehension. Table 2-4 illustrates four
essential metacognitive processes, based on past Western empirical studies and Raos et
al. (2007) study on bilingual students.

Table 2-4.
Metacognitive Processing Components
Metacognitive processing components

Definition

Prediction

Anticipating what content will occur in succeeding


portions of the text

Problem solving

Guessing unknown meaning using prior knowledge


and other relevant source of knowledge

Written as inferencing in Rao et al. (2007)


Questioning

Questioning the significance, coherence or veracity


of content

Theme identification

Distinguishing between main idea and supporting


details

Written as recognition of text structure in Rao et


al. (2007)

These authors also found that both Western and Chinese students can benefit

from cognitive reading strategies instruction in terms of metacognitive processing,

literacy and oral language development. These studies largely focused on mainstream

students and children at an educational disadvantage in elementary and middle schools.

104

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

The previous sections outlined various cognitive reading strategies instruction programs

that were practical enough within the education context and should be beneficial to

children with SLI. Figure 2-5 illustrates the proposed framework for cognitive strategy

processing and instruction for Children with SLIs. In order to become a competent reader

(the product), Children with SLI need to master a number of processes; they need to have

adequate: 1) language skills; 2) character decoding skills; 3) metacognitive processing;

and, 4) beliefs about reading.

Language processing
- Auditory
comprehension
- Vocabulary
- Narrative

Belief about reading


Text
Comprehension
Metacognitive
processing
- Prediction
- Problem solving
- Questioning
- Theme
identification

Cognitive
reading strategies
instruction

Character decoding skills

PROCESSES
Figure 2-5. The Theoretical Framework
105

PRODUCT

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Children with SLI, a heterogeneous group at high risk of having text

comprehension difficulties, are assumed to benefit from explicit instruction on cognitive

reading strategy for the enhancement of metacognitive processing and relevant beliefs

about reading and the text comprehension. These processes are expected to be important

for their reading development. Through a language-rich cognitive reading strategies

instructional approach, students with SLI are likely to improve their oral language

processing, in turn, and further their reading development.

2.7.1. Research questions

This section outlines the research questions to test this framework. This study is

broken into two research steps. The first is to examine whether metacognition actually

plays a significant role in text comprehension for children with SLI, a topic virtually

un-researched in the past. The second is to test whether improved metacognition improves

text comprehension in the SLI population, using cognitive reading strategies instruction as

medium.

106

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Based on the theoretical framework, this proposed study consists of two parts.

The first part aims to identify the profile of Children with SLI in terms of their

metacognitive processing and to identify their relationships with reading achievement and

other essential processes; the second part is to test whether the theoretical framework for

instruction tapping on their metacognitive processing, upon the introduction of cognitive

reading strategies, does improve childrens metacognitive processes as well as subsequent

literacy achievement of children with SLI.

1. The first research question


Key Question:
What are the patterns of cognitive and language processing of children
with SLI and how are they related to their text comprehension?
Sub-questions:
1a) Are there any difference between children with SLI and their normally
developing peers in language processing, character decoding, and
metacognitive processing?
107

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

1b) Are there any difference between children with SLI and their normally
developing peers in text comprehension?
1c)

What

is

metacognitive

the

relationship

between text

comprehension

and

processing, character decoding and language processing

among children for SLI and those with typical development?

This research question examines cognitive and language processes involved in

reading for students with specific language impairment. The literature review shows that

poor metacognitive processing leads to poor text comprehension (Lau, 2006a; Lau &

Chan, 2007; Lau & Chan, 2003; Yau, 2005). It is expected that children with SLI, in

addition to having poor oral language and character decoding, also have rather poor

metacognitive processing. In addition, it is expected that children with SLIs

metacognitive processing will be correlated with other processes as well as becomes the

predictors of their text comprehension. However, virtually none of the previous studies

has focused on SLI populations. It is not clear how students with SLI use their

metacognition during text comprehension tasks, while at the same time facing the

challenge of an oral language deficit. It is expected that children with SLI will show
108

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

impaired deep processing, character decoding and text comprehension. The association

between their metacognitive processing and text comprehension will be examined. To

answer this research question, the researcher will first identify patterns of performance in

character decoding, oral language, metacognitive processing and text comprehension in

both children with SLI and those with typical development.

2. The second research question


Key Question:
Does cognitive reading instruction program improve text comprehension of
children with SLI and what are the effects of cognitive reading strategies
on children with SLI?
Sub-questions:
2a) After instruction, do children in the experimental group out-perform
their control group peers in processes of i) character decoding, ii) oral
communication and iii) metacognitive processing?
2b) Do children in the experimental group improve on beliefs about
109

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

reading?
2c) Do children in the experimental group improve on text comprehension,
including i) answering inferential questions, ii) recalling narrative text and
iii) recalling expository text?
2d) What are the prediction of metacognitive processing, oral language,
character decoding on text comprehension for experimental group and the
control group after instruction.
2e) Do children in the experimental group improve more than control
group in terms of classroom engagement?

The second research question closely follows by the first one. Once the

metacognitive processing profile is identified, it is time to test whether an instruction

program touching on childrens metacognitive processing will help. Reviews of similar

studies have shown that teacher-led, small group reciprocal teaching produces positive
treatment effects among students with learning disadvantage (Bakken et al., 1997; Boyle,
1996; Brand-Gruwel et al., 1998; Graves, 1986; Ho, 2004; Lau & Chan, 2007; Lederer,
2000; Miranda et al., 1997; Rich & Blake, 1994; Simmonds, 1992; Takala, 2006; Wilder
110

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

& Williams, 2001; Wong & Jones, 1982). In addition, a review of language intervention

studies has suggested that introducing cognitive strategies and a language-rich


environment has a positive effect on oral communication (Brand-Gruwel et al., 1998;
Garner & Bochna, 2004; Wasik et al., 2006).

Several Chinese studies have implemented similar intervention programs for

low-achieving middle school students without control measures (Lau, 2006a). A Finnish

study of children with SLI showed positive, but not significant treatment effects (Takala,

2006); however, those effects might have been hindered by the interventions five-week

duration and its lack of random group assignment (Takala, 2006). As such, it remains

unclear whether carefully planned, small group reciprocal teaching of cognitive reading

strategies would increase students strategy use, metacognitive knowledge, reading

motivation and reading and oral communication.

The second research question examines for four metacognitive processes

identified from the literature as important for reading of children with SLI. Cognitive

reading strategies instruction, which targets on metacognitive processing, is a way to

promote their metacognitive processing, oral language, change their beliefs about reading
111

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

and finally forwards their literacy development. In other words, the research question is:

The second research question addresses the treatment effectiveness and

practicability of cognitive reading strategies instruction among elementary school students

with SLI. The researchers will adopt a quasi-experimental design to look for pre- and

post-test group differences. The research will also explore the underlying predictors of

such differences.

112

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Chapter 3
Study One - Material and Methods
3.1. Overview

The goal of Study One was to establish the profile of processing among Chinese

children with SLI at elementary grades during reading. Specifically, it was to examine the

processes related to reading, namely, character decoding, oral language processing and

metacognitive processing. It was to test whether literacy problems among students with

SLI were due to deficits in metacognitive processing, and to provide a foundation for

further tests to determine whether improved metacognitive processing could foster

improved text comprehension among children with SLI.

This chapter outlines the methodology for Study One. It describes how the

subjects were recruited (sampling) and how they were tested (the procedure). It also

includes a detailed description of different instruments employed in Study One, in order

to measure students character decoding, oral language, metacognitive processing and text

comprehension. Section 3.2 explains the research design, including subject inclusion and

exclusion criteria and recruitment procedures. It illustrates the sampling procedure and its
113

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

inclusion and exclusion criteria, respectively. Section 3.3 briefly describes the research

procedure, followed, in Section 3.4, by a detailed illustration of the development of and

the scoring protocols used in the Text Recall Scale and the Metacognitive Processing

Scale. These two scales are described in detail, with examples of childrens responses.

3.2. Research Design

Study One attempted to identify the role of metacognitive processing among

students with SLI in text comprehension as a basis for intervention in Study 2. It first

examined how metacognitive processing could be measured and examined its

relationships with other common predictors of reading. A correlation design was used to

explore the relationships between character decoding, metacognitive processing and

communication, followed by a comparison of the profiles of children with SLI and those

with typical development.

3.2.1. Participants

The subjects consisted of 42 children diagnosed with Specific Language


114

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Impairment (SLI sample) and 31 typically developed students (TD sample). All students

were randomly selected from Grade Two and Three classes at two government-subsidized

primary schools in Hong Kong, both of which use Chinese as the medium of instruction

and follow the standard ministry curriculum. There were 557 students (51 with SLI) in the

selection pool. The schools are located in two different areas of Hong Kong, have each

existed for more than 30 years. Both used traditional, conventional Chinese language

teaching methods, as do most other schools in Hong Kong.

1. Inclusion and exclusion criteria

By definition, specific language

impairment (SLI) is a developmental disorder in which children exhibit receptive and

expressive language impairment that is not the result of auditory deficits, mental
retardation, emotional disturbance or neurological damage (Aram et al., 1992). Children

in the SLI sample had to satisfy at least one of two requirements. First, they had to have

recorded two or more subtests composite scores that were at least one standard deviation

below mean on the Hong Kong Cantonese Oral Language Assessment Scale, the only

validated local oral language assessment for elementary grade children. Second, they had
115

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

to have been diagnosed as language delayed by a qualified speech therapist in Hong Kong

within the last two years. Students receiving extra speech therapy or reading training

outside the school were excluded from the study. In addition, any student whose

intelligence was 1.5 standard deviations or more below the norm was excluded from the

study, as were any who had failed a school hearing test or who had known neurological or

cognitive deficits. All children identified Cantonese as their mother tongue.

The school, the children and their parents were each given a covering letter and

standardized consent form. The covering letter invited them to join this study and outlined

the studys purpose and procedures and the study participants rights. Interested childrens

parents had to sign the consent form and return it to the researcher via the school

personnel.

3.3. Procedure

Table 3-1 describes the general picture of the procedure. The participants were

asked to complete a series of standardized tests over two separate days (i.e. Day 1 and

Day 2). Childrens standardized test scores were collected individually by the author of
116

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

this study, who was trained and qualified to administer these tests. They were then asked

to take the Text comprehension Test and the Metacognitive Processing Scale on another

two separate days (i.e. Day 3 and Day 4).

As the study investigated both the narrative and expository text, there were
some special arrangements made on Day 3 and Day 4. On Day 3, participants were asked
to perform the first part of the Text Comprehension Test, which was a set of inferential
forced-choice questions in class. On the next day (Day 4), they were asked to read a piece
of narrative text individually. They were asked to complete the Metacognitive Processing
Scale, followed by the second part of the Text comprehension Test, which was the recall
task. After a short break, they were asked to read another expository text and complete the
Metacognitive Processing Scale and the second part of the Text Comprehension Test.
Participants responses were audio-taped, unless the task given called for a written
response.

117

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Table 3-1.
General Procedure of Study One
Procedure

Mode

Outcome measures

Pre-test

Obtain the consent from childrens


parents and the schools

Day 1

Standardized test on non-verbal


intelligence
- Ravens Standard Progress
Matrices

In class

Non-verbal intelligence

Day 2

Standardized tests on oral language and


character decoding
- Hong Kong Graded Character
Naming Test (HKGCNT)
- Hong Kong Cantonese Oral
Language Assessment Scale
(HKCOLAS)

Individual

Character decoding scores


Language scores
- Auditory
Comprehension score
- Vocabulary score
- Narrative score

Day 3

Text Comprehension Test (Part I)


- The forced-choice inferential
question on one narrative and one
expository texts.

In class

Day 4

Metacognitive Processing Scale

Individual

Number of correct
answers (max = 11)

Part A (Narrative text)


Metacognitive Processing Scale
- What do you think will happen
next? Why?
- What is/are the problem(s)? How
can you solve it?
- What was the theme of this story?
- Do you have any question about
anything? How would you solve it?

Metacognitive Processing
Scale score
- Prediction
- Problem solving
- Questioning
- Theme identification

Text Comprehension Test (Part II)


- Recall the content as much as you
can without looking back at the text

The Text Recall Scale score


(narrative text)

Part B (Expository text)


Metacognitive Processing Scale
- What do you think will happen
next? Why?
- What is/are the problem(s)? How
can you solve it?
- What was the theme of this text?
- Do you have any questions about
this? How can you answer them?

Metacognitive processing
Scale score
- Prediction
- Problem solving
- Questioning
- Theme identification

Text Comprehension Test (Part II)


- Recall the content as much as you
can without looking back at the text

The Text Recall Scale score


(expository text)

118

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

3.3.1. Standardized tests

Table 3-2 shows three standardized instruments used in Study One. They were

Ravens Standard Progress Matrices (Hong Kong Education Department, 1986), the Hong

Kong Graded Character Naming Test (Leung, Cheng-Lai, & Kwan, 2008) and the Hong
Kong Cantonese Oral Language Assessment Scale (T'sou et al., 2006). All of these tests

were standardized in the local context. The details of each instrument are described at the

following subsections.

Table 3-2.
The summary of standardized tests used in the Study One
Constructs
Instruments
Sub-scale

Standardization

Non-verbal
intelligence

Ravens standard progress


matrices

Hong Kong (1986)

Character
decoding

The Hong Kong Graded


Character Naming Test
(HKGCNT)

Hong Kong (2008)

Language

The Hong Kong Cantonese


Oral Language Assessment
Scale (HKCOLAS)

1.

2.

3.

119

Textual
Hong Kong (2006)
Comprehension
Test
Expressive
Nominal
Vocabulary Test
Narrative Test

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

1. Non-verbal intelligence The Ravens Standard Progress Matrices (Hong

Kong Education Department, 1986) is a standardized and validated non-verbal

intelligence test used in Hong Kong elementary schools. Participants were asked to

complete the Ravens Standard Progress Matrices in class. Their score was based on local

norms established by the then Hong Kong Education Department in 1986. There were,

altogether, 36 items grouped into three sets (A1-12, B1-12 and C1-12). Participants were

asked to identify the missing item. Non-verbal intelligence was also measured, for two

reasons. First, to ensure inclusion and exclusion criteria were met and, second, because

childrens non-verbal intelligence might reflect their cognitive abilities. These abilities

were the potential covariates of the study.

2. Character decoding The Hong Kong Graded Character Naming Test (Leung
et al., 2008) is a validated and standardized tests developed by the University of Hong

Kong. It is intended for the local qualified speech therapists and psychologists to assess

childrens Chinese character decoding abilities at elementary grade level. Its

standardization meets acceptable standards for test construction, and has high reliability
120

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

and validity (Leung et al., 2008). Students read aloud 150 Chinese grade-appropriate

words selected based on their frequency, regularity and complexity. Norms were based on

standard scores by grade level. As children of different ages and at different grade levels

use different sets of tests, the raw scores were compared to appropriate sets of

standardized scores, and validated using well-established psychometric properties.

According to the administration manual, the Cronbach alpha of this subtest reached .85

for grade 2 and .88 for grade 3, which indicated acceptable internal consistency; a

coefficient value of .70 or above is generally considered a desirable degree of internal

consistency (Cronbach, 1951; George & Mallery, 2003).

Participants were asked to complete the Hong Kong Graded Character Naming

Test (HKGCNT). The test was carried in an individual basis. Each participant was asked

to read aloud 150 Chinese characters according to the education levels attained. There was

no time limit for this test.

3. Oral language The Hong Kong Cantonese Oral Language Assessment Scale

(HKCOLAS) is the first validated oral assessment instrument to evaluate Hong Kong
121

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Chinese Cantonese-speaking children between the ages of 5 and 12 (T'sou et al., 2006). It

was also the first and most recent diagnostic instrument used by local speech therapists in

diagnosing language impairment in Hong Kong Cantonese-speaking pre-primary and

primary school children. It was published in 2006 and validated using a pool of 1080

Hong Kong Chinese Cantonese-speaking children recruited from the Child Assessment

Service of the Department of Health of the Government of the HKSAR and the Language
Information Sciences Research Centre of the City University of Hong Kong (T'sou et al.,

2006). The instrument is based on Cantonese linguistics and language development in

children.

The original test consists of 7 subtests, including tests of comprehension and


production abilities in lexis, grammar, discourse and semantics (T'sou et al., 2006). On

average, the complete test can be administered in about 80 minutes. Previous literature

has shown that the development of reading strategies is related to listening comprehension,
vocabulary development and narrative formation (Brand-Gruwel et al., 1998; Garner &
Bochna, 2004; Swanson et al., 2005; Wasik et al., 2006); therefore, instead of

administering the whole test, three HKCOLAS subtests (textual comprehension, narrative
122

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

and expression nominal vocabulary) relating to these areas were selected, and

administered over an approximately 15 minute period. As the scale covered students from

five to 12 years of age, the raw score for each subtest was converted into a scale score and

z-score, according to chronological age. In this study, childrens language score was in

form of z-score, for easy comparison. There was no time limit for students to finish the

tasks prescribed in these subtests. The following would be the detailed administrative

procedure of these three subtests.


Textual Comprehension Test: The Textual Comprehension Test consisted of

three, one-minute passages. Students listened to two of the three passages, then orally

answered questions specific to their chronological age. The subtest score reflected the

total number of questions answered correctly. Both literal and inferential questions were

distributed across the three passages. According to the administration manual, the

Cronbach alpha for this subtest was .89.


Expressive Nominal Vocabulary Test: The Expressive Nominal Vocabulary

Test consisted of 100 items categorized into 10 sub-sections. Students began with the

sub-section specified for their chronological age. Each item was paired with a photo,
123

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

which the children were asked to label orally. The test was discontinued if the child failed

to correctly label 9 items in a given subsection. According to the administration manual,

the Cronbach alpha for this subtest was .91.


Narrative Test: The narrative test required the student to listen to a

tape-recorded story while simultaneously reading it from a booklet with 24 pictures, and

then retell the story. The language sample thus obtained was audio-recorded and analyzed

for story content, sentence connectives, reference introduction and switching, and

syntactic complexity. According to the administration manual, the Cronbach alpha of this

subtest was .89.

3.3.2. Researcher-developed instruments

Current work in the development of validated assessment batteries on

elementary grade text comprehension has mostly focused on Western scripts, while very

little work has been designed to examine Chinese childrens metacognitive processing and

reading process. Researcher-developed instruments were therefore employed to

investigate participants metacognitive processing and text comprehension. Table 3-3


124

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

shows a brief description of two researcher-developed instruments, namely, the

Metacognitive Processing Scale and the Text Comprehension Test. The details are

described in the subsequent subsections.

Table 3-3
The Summary of Researcher-developed Instruments used in Study One
Constructs

Instruments

Metacognitive Metacognitive processing


processing
Scale

Sub-scale
1.
2.
3.
4.

Text
Part I
comprehension 11 forced-choice inferential
questions
Part II
Text Recall Scale

1.
2.

Standardization

Researcher
Prediction
Problem Solving developed
Questioning
Theme
identification
Researcher
developed

Narrative text Researcher


Expository text developed

1. Text comprehension The Text comprehension test consisted of two parts.

The first part (Part I) was a total of 11 forced-choice inferential questions assigned in

class, while the second (Part II) was a recall task. Direction and examples were presented

verbally to the students, according to their language level. They were asked to record their

125

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

answers in individual booklets; the teacher would read aloud the questions, if any student

so requested.

(a) Text comprehension test (Part I):

A set of 11 forced-choice questions

assessing childrens inferential comprehension of the narrative and expository texts

mentioned above, used to assess childrens inferential comprehension and text

understanding, including their induction, deduction, analysis and abstraction abilities. The

two texts used were adapted from the Basic Competence Assessments: Assessment for

Learning Resource Pack organized by the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment

Authority for Hong Kong Grade 1 to Grade 3 students, and were different from those used

for think aloud.

The texts were reviewed for appropriateness by five experienced senior Chinese

language teachers using a 7-point Likert scale, as shown at Appendix A. Panel members

had to judge the statements of appropriateness from 1 (not at all true of me) on the left to

7 (very true of me) on the right. The mean score of every piece of text was above 4, with

no ratings of two or lower. All items in the assessment were pilot tested using 24 typical
126

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

second- and third-grade students. Items with low corrected-item total correlations (less

than .3) were deleted. Correct responses in the forced-choice section received one mark,

while incorrect responses received zero. The Cronbach item coefficient alphas were .73

and .74 for the narrative and expository text, respectively. Though the coefficients was

relatively lower than the standardized instruments used in the same study, the internal

consistencies were still found to be acceptable. Appendix A shows the sample panel

review form and the Appendix B shows the finalized test version.

(b) Text comprehension test (Part II): The second part of the test was a recall

task. It was included to balance the limitations inherent to forced-choice instrument

(Baker, 2002); forced-choice items can suggest that there is a single right way to think

that might differ from what the child actually thinks (Baker, 2002), and can encourage the

child simply to mimic stock answers rather than seek true understanding (Baker, 2002).

Participants were asked to immediately recall as much of the content of the text

as possible. Childrens responses were then rated according to the qualitative Text Recall

Scale. Childrens responses were rated using a 4-point scale based on earlier works on
127

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

text understanding among western (Chan & Sachs, 2001) and Chinese children (Law,

2008). Such task has also used to measure academically low achieving students (Wilder &

Williams, 2001). In accordance with the studys emphasis on text understanding, the

coding scheme focused on structural complexity and depth of understanding; low points

indicated poor performance.

A four-point scale was developed for rating childrens response in terms of how

the students recalled contents from the text. Participants who recalled the text contents in

a bulky or fragmentary way or not at all were rated 1. Participants who retold the content

as a whole picture, but omitted relevant elements, were rated 2. Participants who could

relate all the main incidents, but did so in an unsystematic manner, were rated 3.

Participants who retold the content in a systematic and concise way, with the presence of

story grammar and use of compare-contrast strategies, were rated 4. Table 3-8 shows some

examples of childrens responses, coded at different levels of text recalling. A second rater, with

similar background but blind to the ratings given by the first rater, scored a random set of

44 protocols, which accounted for more than 30% of the whole sample. The inter-rater

agreement of Cohen Kappa reached an acceptable value of .73; according to Landis and
128

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Koch (1977), this value suggested that the scale possessed good inter-rater reliability.

Table 3-4.
The Description of the Recall Scale
Rating

Description

Sample excerpt (*Translated from Chinese)

Recalled content in a
I cannot tell, I forget, Liang Liang robbed I cannot think
bulky or fragmentary
.
way or could not recall it
at all

Recalled the content as a


whole picture but only
mentioned trivial
incidents

In the past, my classmates, Liang Liang was very naughty, getting a toy
turtle and giving to his brother, Ah Tak. Liang Liang did not have a turtle
and took his brothers. Sister saw and got angry. She ran to the kitchen and
told her mother. Mother said Liang Liang was naughty. Liang Liang said Ah
Tak had turtle but he did not.

Recalled the content,


including the main
incidents

Grandpa gave a toy turtle to [Liang Liangs] brother, Ah Tak. Liang Liang
saw and took Ah Taks toy. Ah Tak cried. Grandpa said, Liang Liang, dont
do that. Sister saw Liang Liang take others toys. Sister went to the kitchen
and told mother. Mother showed an angry face and scolded Liang Liang.

Recalled the content in a


systematic and concise
way (e.g. used story
grammar and
compare-contrast
strategies

Liang Liang behaved rudely. On Sunday, Liang Liang did not go to school.
He saw his grandfather present a gift of a toy turtle to his young brother, Ah
Tak. Liang Liang had no turtle so he took Ah Taks turtle. Ah Tak cried
because of Liang Liangs action. However, Liang Liang paid no attention to
that. His sister saw and told their mother. They found that it was not the first
time. Liang Liang had not returned his sisters crayon. The mother got angry
and would punish him at last.

129

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

2. Metacognitive processing The Metacognitive Processing Scale was used to

investigate childrens metacognitive processing during reading. The methodology of

developing the scale tapping into richer cognitive processes not just self-reporting

questionnaire does. It is based on cognitive researches on thinking aloud (Chi, 1997, Chan
et al, 1992). As stated in the literature review, metacognition is a broad term covering

both knowledge of cognition and self-regulatory strategy. The test was aimed at tapping

childrens metacognitive processing of how to elaborate strategy use. Such elaboration

focused on self-monitoring of learning, application of proper reading strategies, deep

processing, and coordination with other knowledge. Four different kinds of metacognitive
processing were targeted. They were prediction (Chan et al., 1997), problem solving (or
known as application of prior knowledge) (Chan et al., 1997), questioning (Chan et al.,

1992) and theme identification (Wilder & Williams, 2001).

Appendix D shows the respected administrative procedure. A demonstration

was provided first. Each text was divided into four paragraphs, which were presented to

the students separately, followed by a probing question involving either prediction,

problem solving or self-questioning. Participants were required to think aloud before


130

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

answering. After reading all four paragraphs, they were required to think aloud about the

main theme of the text. During the process, the researcher probed and encouraged them to

offer more details about what they are saying. Participants responses were then rated

according to the Metacognitive Processing Scale.

The scale is researcher-designed scale that measures childrens metacognitive

processing during text comprehension by borrowing the principle of think aloud. The

rationale behind it is that childrens metacognitive processing reflects their elaboration of

metacognition. When children use their metacognition to apply specific strategies during

text processing, they have to execute certain terms of metacognitive processing. Pressley

and Afflerbach (1995) identified certain 15 different kinds of metacognitive processing

essential for identifying and interpreting main information. This scale targeted four of

them: 1) predict content/ structure of the text (prediction); 2) construct macrostructure of

the text based on prior knowledge (problem solving); 3) generate questions about the

main ideas and try to find out the answers (questioning); and, 4) make elaborative

inference to achieve in-depth understanding of the theme (theme identification). It was

noted that metacognitively competent readers performed better in these four kinds of
131

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

metacognitive processing (Pressley & Gaskins, 2006).

The principle of think aloud was used to encourage the subjects to relate their

thoughts without interruption or suggestive prompts (Pressley & Afflerbach, 1995). This

is a method largely accepted by the psychological community and fits into the realm of

knowledge engineering (Law, 2003; van Someren, Barnard, & Sandbery, 1994). Bereiter

and Bird (1985) used the think aloud protocol to identify the text comprehension process

of seventh- and eighth- grade students. As a data collection technique, it is very direct,

requires no delay or interpretation, and is easily mastered by subjects after few


demonstrations (van Someren et al., 1994). However, the think aloud protocol itself

posses several shortcoming. The most significant shortcoming is that it relies heavily on

childrens verbal production. Students with specific language impairment may be

disadvantaged or underestimated.

Thus, the administration of the method was slightly modified from the actual

think aloud protocol. Specifically, participants were asked to think aloud after reading

each paragraph, followed by a generic prompting question. Each questioned focused on

one kind of metacognitive processing . Children were encouraged to predict (Question 1),
132

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

solve a problem about the text (Question 2), generate text-related questions (Question 3)

and identify the main themes (Question 4). All the questions were non-directive.

Ho (2004) and Lau and Chan (2007) employed very similar protocol to measure

at least these four kinds of metacognitive processing of disadvantaged students. In

addition to standardized reading test scores, the use of open-ended, probing questions as

an outcome measurement is also widely accepted in reading research. This includes the
outcome measurement of prediction (Sporer et al., 2009), relating prior knowledge for
problem solving (Law et al., 2008; Taboada, Tonks, Wigfield, & Guthrie, 2009),
self-questioning (Bruce & Chan, 1991; Law et al., 2008; Taboada & Guthrie, 2006;
Takala, 2006) and theme identification (Law et al., 2008; Miranda et al., 1997; Takala,

2006; Wilder & Williams, 2001).

The texts used for this scale were a 230-word narrative text adapted from a local

fable (not taught in the school curriculum) and a 140-word expository text adapted from

an elementary grade animal encyclopedia (Appendix E), both of which were reviewed for

appropriateness by five experienced senior Chinese language teachers using a 7-point

Likert scale; mean scores were above 4, with no ratings of two or lower.
133

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

The administration of the Metacognitive Processing Scale was highly

standardized and performed by the researcher (Appendix D). A pilot test was conducted

using five students with typical development and other five with SLI. They all understood

the procedure and carried out the task as expected.

3.4. Scale Construction

The Metacognitive Processing Scale and the Text Recall Scale are

research-developed scales designed to tap childrens level of metacognitive processing

and text recalling. This section includes a detailed description of the development of each

scale.

3.4.1. Method of scale development

The development of the Metacognitive Processing Scale and the Text Recall

Scale followed a method called protocol analysis, which dealt with both theoretical and
empirical considerations (Chan et al., 1992). The general approach consisted of two parts.

134

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

First, it had to take into consideration theoretical notions on childrens text processing.

Second, it had to understand childrens actual responses. Thus, the coding scheme was not

based on an existing classification scheme; rather, it identified childrens prototypical


pattern for a given activity (Chi, 1997; Chan et al, 1997).

Specifically, in the present study, participants responses were first examined at

the intuitive level. Examples of different kinds of metacognitive processing activities (i.e.

prediction, problem solving, questioning and theme identification) and text recalling were

grouped and arranged from the simplest level to the most complex. A preliminary

objective scale was then created, with as much as the intuitive understanding as possible

being preserved. Descriptive criteria for each level of each activity were then derived. A

provisional scale is used to score the response. Any difficulties during scoring would lead

to a new definition or further refinement. Several iterations take places to develop a scale

for scoring the response. Inter-rater reliability will be conducted to show that the response

can be reliably scored. For content validity, the scale developed will be examined with

other relevant variable to test if meaningful relationship exists and the scale is not just

tapping random or subjective levels. This procedure follow established practice for scale
135

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

development and validation for qualitative response in cognitive studies (Chi, 1997; Chan
et al., 1997).

3.4.2. Metacognitive Processing Scale description

As mentioned above, the Metacognitive Processing Scale did not assess text

comprehension; rather, it examined the childrens complexity of use of specific

metacognitive activities. In other words, it was intended to determine not what students

learn, but how. Accordingly, participants responses were rated based on four subscales:

a) Prediction - the ability to predict based on textual elements;

b) Problem-solving - using text information to identify and solve problems;

c) Self-questioning - generating questions based on the text; and,

d) Theme identification - abstracting text themes, using a four-point scale.

A second rater, with similar background but blind to the ratings given by the

first rater, scored a random set of 44 protocols, which accounted for more than 30% of the

whole sample. The inter-rater agreements of Cohen Kappa was ranged from .64 to .87;

according to Landis and Koch (1977), these values suggested the scale had at least
136

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

satisfactory inter-rater reliability.

Prediction

A four-point scale was developed for rating childrens response in terms of

what they predicted from a given text. At first, participants were required to read the first

part of the passage, printed in Traditional Chinese, and a related picture.

Liang Liang (The story main character) was an irrational boy. He

enjoyed stealing other childrens toys. His grandfather had a toy

turtle and presented to his brother, Ah Tak, as a gift. Liang Liang

saw the toy and got the toy from Ah Tak without his permission. Ah

Tak cried but Liang Liang still neglected him. His grandfather said,
You cannot steal anothers toy.

It was followed by a neutral probing question in spoken Cantonese, What do


you think will happen next? Why? Table 3-6 at the next page shows some examples of
137

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

childrens responses, coded at different levels in terms of their prediction of text

information.

Table 3-5.
The Rating Scale for Measuring Childrens Prediction from the Text
Rating Description

Sample excerpt translated from Chinese

Prediction without reason I think Liang Liang was too selfish.

Prediction with reason at Because Liang Liang always stole his brothers toys, his grandpa would
a superficial level
teach him to behave better.
D

Prediction with reasons After I finish reading, I thought that Liang Liang would have a quarrel
at a complex level
[with his brother] because Liang Liang ignored his brothers crying and
took his toys [without his permission]. That is not acceptable at home.

Prediction with reasons The passage mentions that the toy belongs to his brother, not Liang Liang.
at a complex level, using I think Liang Liang will have a quarrel and then being punished by
information contained in grandpa. The reason is that Liang Liang is ignoring his brother and taking
previous content
away his toys. That is not good. Teachers have told [us] it is not good to
take thing without the owners consent. He will be punished unless he
gives the toys back.
d

A rating of one was given to participants who refused to make a prediction, or

who made predictions or related actions without giving a reason. Participants who gave

superficial reasons for their predictions, or could suggest a causal relationship to the

consequence were rated 2. Participants who justified their text predictions using complex

138

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

reasons that illustrated a causal relation were rated 3. Participants who made predictions

with complex reasons and who used information from previous content were rated 4.

Problem solving

A four-point scale was developed for rating childrens response in terms of how

they identified a problem and their ability to solve it. Participants were required to read

the next part of the passage, printed in Traditional Chinese, and a related picture.

His (Liang Liangs) sister discovered that Liang Liang had taken his

brothers toy. She felt very angry. She ran and told her mother. The
mother frowned. You must not take your brothers toy, the mother
scolded Liang Liang. Nobody gave me a toy turtle, Liang Liang

replied.

It was followed by a neutral probing question in spoken Cantonese, What


is/are the problem(s)shown in the text? How can you solve it/them? Table 3-6 at the next
139

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

page shows some examples of childrens responses, coded at different levels in terms of

their problem solving.

Table 3-6.
The Rating Scale for Measuring Childrens Usage of the Text Information to Identify and
Solve Problems
Rating

Description

Sample excerpt (*Translated from Chinese)

Without suggestion or suggesting Liang Liang, as well as the mother, will get angry. Grandpa
unreasonable ways to solve the
will get angry, too.
problem

Suggest reasonable way(s) to solve Liang Liang found a problem, that he does not have a toy
the problem without giving an
turtle[to play with].
explanation

Suggest reasonable way(s) to solve He will be in trouble, he is going to be scolded by his mother.
the problem(s) by using
If I were him, I would give back the toy to his brother, then
information from previous content say, Im sorry that I took your toy.

Suggest reasonable way(s) to solve


the problem(s) by using
information from previous content
and explaining the process of
problem solving

After reading, I think Liang Liang would be scolded by his


sister and mother and learn a lesson. I think Liang Liang
should rethink what he did wrong. I think his sister and mother
asked Liang Liang to learn that he should return things after
borrowing.

Participants who merely labeled a problem or recalled its content without

suggesting how to deal with the problem were rated 1. Participants who suggested

reasonable ways to solve the problem but gave no explanation were rated 2. Participants

who suggested reasonable solutions to the problem using information from previous

140

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

content were rated 3. Participants who were able to suggest reasonable ways in which to

solve the problem, use information from previous content and explain the problem solving

process were rated 4.

Questioning

A four-point scale was developed for rating childrens responses in terms of

how they constructed questions from the text. Children were required to read the last part

of the passage, printed in Traditional Chinese, and a related picture.

His (Liang Liangs) sister said, Liang Liang hasnt returned my


crayons. Liang Liang replied, My crayon has been used already.

The mother found Liang Liang was rude. She thought Liang Liang

should not behave like that. She decided to teach Liang Liang to act

properly.

The reading was followed by a neutral probing question in spoken Cantonese,


141

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Do you have any questions about this? How can you answer them? Table 3-7 at the

next page shows some examples of childrens responses, coded at different levels in terms

of their problem solving.

Table 3-7.
The Rating Scale for Measuring Childrens Questioning from the Text
Rating Description

Sample excerpt (*Translated from Chinese)

Questions unrelated to the


content

He was wrong. I have no questions.

Questions that were already Why did he borrow somebodys pen, but not return it? He saw the pen
raised in the story
was beautiful so he took it.
D

Questions that can help the I think his mother will punish Liang Liang. How will the mother punish
reader gain a deeper
him? What will the mother say to Liang Liang?
understanding of the content

Questions that can help the


reader extend their
knowledge or enhance their
thinking

After reading, I think that Liang Liang is an irrational person. I dont


know why he was irrational like that? It is possible that is mother always
satisfied Liang Liangs every need?

Participants who could not generate any questions or who could only pose

questions unrelated to the content were rated 1. Participants who could re-generate

questions already raised in the story were rated 2. Participants who posed questions that

could help the reader gain a deeper understanding of the content were rated 3. Participants

who generated questions that could help extend the readers knowledge or enhance their
142

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

thinking were rated 4.

Theme identification

A four-point scale was developed for rating childrens responses in terms of

how they identified the problem and their ability to solve it. After reading the whole
passage, a neutral probing question in spoke Cantonese followed: What was the theme of
this story? Table 3-8 shows some examples of childrens responses, coded at different

levels in terms of their theme identification.

Participants who either said nothing or who merely repeated story content were

rated 1. Participants who suggested reasonable themes without offering an explanation

were rated 2. Participants who were able to identify themes and offer explanations by

restating story content were rated 3. Only participants who suggested reasonable themes

and explained them in their own words were rated 4.

143

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Table 3-8.
The Rating Scale for Measuring Childrens Theme Identification from the Text
Rating

Description

Sample excerpt (*Translated from Chinese)

Restated the content of the story

Liang Liang, sister, grandpa, mother, finished [Nothing to tell]

Suggested a reasonable theme,


without further explanation

Do not take others toys

Suggested a reasonable theme,


with an explanation that restated
the content of the story

Liang Liang took somebodys thing, which was wrong. If


somebody refused to lend their toys, you should not take them.
You should ask somebody [first].

Suggested a reasonable theme,


with an explanation in their own
words

Do not take anything without permission. You should be honest


if you do the wrong thing. [The story] provides a lesson - not to
take things, not to fight. If you fight, nobody will play with you.
If you bravely admit doing the wrong thing you will be
considered a good child.
d

3.5. Chapter Summary

In Chapter 2, a comprehensive review of relevant literature showed that students with

specific language impairment (SLI) face difficulties at school due to inadequate literacy,

metacognitive processing, character decoding skills and language development. There is a

research need to find the underlying relationship between these constructs.

144

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

In this chapter, 73 second- and third-grade children were recruited for the study; 42

Children with SLIs and 31 typicallydeveloped students. Childrens non-verbal intelligence,

character decoding, language, metacognitive processing and text comprehension were assessed.

Two of these constructs, metacognitive processing and text comprehension, were measured using
researcher-developed instruments. Thus, this involved the development of two scales the

Metacognitive Processing Scale and the Text Recall Scale. A detailed description of these two

scales was illustrated in this chapter as well.

145

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Chapter 4
Study One - Results
4.1. Overview

Chapter 4 reports the research results for Study One. Section 4.2 outlines the

demographic distribution of the sample of students with typical development (TD sample)

and the sample of those with SLI (SLI sample). Section 4.3 shows the descriptive

statistics for students character decoding, oral language, metacognitive processing and

text comprehension scores. It is followed by factor analysis of the sub-scale scores,

combined into a single language score and single text comprehension score. Section 4.4

shows the correlation and regression results between language score, character decoding,

metacognitive processing and text comprehension. Section 4.5 recounts the statistical

differences between the TD and SLI samples in terms of verbal language, character

decoding, metacognitive processing scores and text comprehension scores.

4.2. Demographic Distribution


4.2.1. Demographic distribution between schools
146

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

As shown in Table 4-1, seven second-grade and eight third-grade participants

with typical development were recruited from one school, while the second school

contributed 10 second- and six third-grade students. Chi-square tests were employed and
showed no significant difference in grade distribution between the two schools ( 2 = .78,
p = .38 ).

Table 4-1.
Participants Grade Distribution between Schools

TD sample

SLI sample

School 1

School 2

Total

Second-grade

10

17

Third-grade

14

Sub-total

15

16

31

Second-grade

10

16

Third-grade

12

14

26

Sub-total

18

24

42

Six second-grade and 12 third-grade children with SLI were recruited from the

first school, with the remaining 10 second- and 14 third-grade students coming from the

second. Chi-square tests were employed and again showed no significant difference in
grade distribution between the two schools ( 2 = .30, p = .58 ).

Among the typical development sample, as shown in the Table 4-2, six boys

147

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

and nine girls were drawn from the first school, eight boys and eight girls from the second.

Chi-square tests were employed and again showed no significant difference in sex
distribution between the two schools ( 2 = .31, p = .58 ). There were 17 SLI boys and one

single SLI girl came from the first school, with 18 SLI boys and six SLI girls recruited

from the second. Chi-square tests found no significant difference in sex distribution
between the two schools ( 2 = 2.81, p = .09 ).

Table 4-2.
Participants Sex Distribution between Schools

TD sample

SLI sample

School 1

School 2

Total

Male

14

Female

17

Sub-total

15

16

31

Male

17

18

35

Female

Sub-total

18

24

42

4.2.2. Demographic distribution between samples

Table 4-3 shows the demographic distribution between the typical development

(TD sample) and SLI sample. The mean age of the TD sample (n = 31) was 90.71 months

(8 years and 7 months); the mean age of the SLI sample (n = 42) was 92.02 months (8

148

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

years and 8 months). Univariate testing showed that age distribution was similar between

these two conditions. However, the SLI sample showed significant lower non-verbal
intelligence compared to those with typical development, t (71) = 4.021 , p < .001.
However, there was a significant sex difference between conditions ( 2 = 11.77 , p

< .001 ). There were 14 boys and 17 girls in the TD sample compared to 35 boys and 7

girls in the SLI sample; this reflected the relatively high prevalence of SLI among male
students (Aram et al., 1992).

Table 4-3.
Distribution of Sex, Age and Non-verbal Intelligence between Samples
TD sample

SLI sample

SD

SD

Age in month

90.71

4.72

92.02

4.67

Non-verbal intelligence

116.61

10.55

106.60

10.50

Sex Distribution
Male

14

35

Female

17

Age, grades, schools attended, sex and non-verbal intelligence were the

potential covariates in measuring metacognitive processing, oral language, character

decoding skills and text comprehension. The data showed that the groups differed in two

149

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

dimensions, with the SLI sample displaying an unbalanced sex distribution and poorer

non-verbal intelligence. Thus, sex and non-verbal intelligence were covariates in the

subsequent group comparison.

4.3. Data and Measures


4.3.1. Descriptive statistics

Table 4-4 shows the mean subscale scores of participants language, character

decoding, metacognitive processing and text comprehension scores between groups.

Participants language performance was measured in terms of their auditory

comprehension score, oral vocabulary score and narrative score. Standard scores were

used. Participants metacognitive processing was measured using the Metacognitive

Processing Scale, which was comprised of 1) prediction, 2) problem solving, 3)

questioning and 4) theme identification. Each score comprised the sum of rating collected

from the narrative text and the expository text. The maximum score was eight for each

subscale. Participants text comprehension was measured based on their correct answers

from forced choice questions and recalling one narrative text and one expository text.
150

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Table 4-4.
Means and Standard Deviations of Participants Language, Character decoding,
Metacognitive Processing and Text Comprehension Scores between Samples
Variables

Typical development
( n = 31 )

SLI
( n = 42 )

SD

SD

Auditory Comprehension

.91

.21

-.03

.23

Oral vocabulary

1.66

.19

.40

.21

Oral narrative

-.15

.18

-1.08

.21

Character Decoding

1.34

.19

-.35

.21

Prediction (max=8)

4.18

.21

3.03

.23

Problem solving (max=8)

3.75

.22

3.20

.25

Questioning (max=8)

3.66

.28

3.04

.32

Theme identification (max=8)

3.65

.17

2.67

.20

Forced choice questions (max=11)

8.67

.53

6.73

.59

Recall narrative (max=8)

2.49

.17

1.66

.19

Recall expository (max=8)

1.89

.16

1.71

.18

Oral Language

Metacognitive processing

Text comprehension

4.3.2. Correlation analyses

Analyses are conducted to investigate the relations among language, character

decoding and metacognitive processing with text comprehension. Table 4-5 shows the

overall partial correlation matrix of all variables being measured, while controlling for

participants sex and non-verbal intelligence.

151

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Table 4-5.
Partial Correlation Matrix of All Variables Measured
Oral language

Auditory comprehension
Vocabulary
Narrative
Character decoding

Character
decoding

Metacognitive processing

Text comprehension

Vocabulary

Narrative

Character
decoding

Prediction

Problem
solving

Questioning

Theme
identification

Forced-choice
question

Recall
narrative

Recall
expository

.39**

.39 **

.29*

.20

-.01

.04

.08

.28*

.26*

.15

.54 **

.31 **

.08

.12

.07

.23

.30*

.31**

.35**

.54 **

.19

.11

.18

.41**

.41**

.26*

.30*

.26*

.25 *

.28 *

.43**

.45**

.44**

.28*

.22

.32**

.25*

.15

.31**

.11

.46**

.53**

.14

.33 **

.15

.47**

.22

.30*

.11

.19

.51**

.35**

.27 *

.11

Prediction
Problem solving
Questioning
Theme identification
Forced-choice question

.60**

Recall narrative

** p < .01
*
p <. 05
Note. Participants non-verbal intelligence and sex were partial out.

152

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

4.4. Relationship between processing and outcome

There were 11 variables in the correlation matrix, making the findings hard to

interpret. The sample size was also too small to allow subsequent regression analyses to

be performed. The following analyses employed factor scores to examine the

relationships among variables in more coherent way.

4.4.1. Factor analyses and reliability

In order to demonstrate the construct validity among different variables, factor

analyses were performed on oral language and text comprehension constructs. Table 4-6

shows the factor loadings and component score coefficients of each variable with respect

to its construct.

153

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Table 4-6.
Component Matrices and Component Score Coefficient Matrices on Oral Language and
Text Comprehension Construct ( N = 73)
Method:
Principal component analysis

Factor loading

Component score coefficient

Auditory comprehension

.77

.37

Oral narrative

.87

.41

Oral vocabulary

.67

.41

Forced-choice inferential questions

.59

.33

Recall narrative text

.89

.50

Recall expository text

.81

.45

Oral language

Text comprehension

1. Oral language Exploratory factor analysis using principal component

method showed that three variables, auditory comprehension score, oral narrative score

and oral vocabulary score, were loaded into a single factor with an eigenvalue of 2.11,

explaining 70.32% of the variance. Thus, a single oral language score was computed with

respect to the corresponding component score coefficients. Its scale reliability

reached .79, considered to be a desirable level (Cronbach, 1951; George & Mallery,

2003).

2. Text comprehension Similarly, an additional three variables forced choice

154

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

inferential questions, narrative text recall and expository text recall were loaded into a

single factor with an eigenvalue of 1.79, explaining 59.60% of the variance. Thus, a

single text comprehension score was computed with respect to the corresponding

component score coefficients. Its scale reliability reached .61, which was slightly above

the minimal acceptable value (Cronbach, 1951; George & Mallery, 2003).

3. Metacognitive processing To examine whether these four variables were

measuring the same construct, exploratory factor analysis, using principal component

methodology, extracted one single factor with an eigenvalue of 2.19, explaining up to

54.86% of total variance. Thus, a single metacognitive processing score was computed

with respect to the sum of all four subscale scores. Scale reliability was obtained at

Cronbachs alpha of .71, which, again, was considered to be acceptable (Cronbach, 1951;

George & Mallery, 2003). Table 4-7 shows the factor scores of oral language and text

comprehension, together with the metacognitive processing scores and character

decoding scores to be employed in regression analyses.

155

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Table 4-7
Means and Standard Deviation of Factor Scores between Samples
Variables

Typical development
(n = 31)

SLI
(n = 42)

Oral Language

.63

.14

-.37

.16

Character decoding

1.34

.19

-.35

.21

Metacognitive processing

15.23

.63

11.94

.71

.40

.18

-.34

.20

Text comprehension

4.4.2. Correlation between factor scores

Table 4-8 shows the condensed partial correlation matrix, considering the

entire sample. Participants text comprehension was found to be significantly correlated


with students oral language, r (70) = .47, p < .001. A similar relationship was found
between text comprehension and character decoding skills, r (70) = .50, p <.001.

Moderate to high correlation was found between metacognitive processing and character
decoding skills, r (70) = .41, p < .001. In addition, a significant correlation existed

between participants text comprehension and their metacognitive processing,


= .43, p < .001.

156

r (70)

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Table 4-8.
Partial Correlation Matrix for the Entire Sample ( N = 73 )
Variables

Character decoding Metacognitive


processing

Text comprehension

Oral language

.47***

.23

.47***

.41***

.50***

Character decoding
Metacognitive processing

.43***

*p < .05, ** p < .01; *** p < .001


Note. Participants sex and non-verbal intelligence were partial out
1. Typical development sample Table 4-9 shows the correlation matrix for

participants with typical development. Text comprehension was significantly correlated


to their character decoding skills, r (28) = .54, p = .002. Participants language and

metacognitive processing also showed certain similar, but statistically insignificant,

correlations with text comprehension scores.

Table 4-9.
Partial Correlation Matrix of the Typical Development Sample ( n = 31 )
Variables

Character decoding Metacognitive


processing

Text comprehension

Oral language

.36

.03

.36

.26

.54**

Character decoding
Metacognitive processing

.33

*p < .05, ** p < .01; *** p < .001


Note. Participants sex and non-verbal intelligence were partial out

157

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

2. The SLI sample Table 4-10 shows another correlation matrix for the SLI

sample. Text comprehension was found to be significantly correlated with participants


oral language, r (39) = .47, p < .001. A similar relationship was found between text
comprehension and character decoding skills, r (39) = .44, p < .001. In addition, a

significant correlation existed between participants text comprehension and their


metacognitive processing , r (39) = .47, p < .001.

Table 4-10.
Partial Correlation Matrix of the SLI Sample ( n = 42 )
Variables

Character decoding Metacognitive


processing

Text comprehension

Oral language

.36*

.24

.47***

.40**

.44***

Character decoding
Metacognitive processing

.43***

*p<.05, **p<.01; ***p<.001


Note. Participants sex and non-verbal intelligence were partial out

The correlation matrices suggested that text comprehension was related to

childrens character decoding skills, oral language skills and metacognitive processing. It

highlighted that the text comprehension proficiency among children with SLI was not

only related to their character decoding skills and oral language skills alone, but was also

158

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

related to childrens metacognitive processing.

4.4.3. Regression analyses

Regression analysis used to find the underlying predictors for differences in

participants text comprehension score. Table 4-11 shows a general regression model;

participants metacognitive processing, character decoding, language, non-verbal

intelligence and sex were entered simultaneously.

Table 4-11.
General regression model on text comprehension score (entire sample, N = 73)
Variables

Metacognitive processing *

.07

.25

2.46

.01

Character decoding *

.20

.29

2.12

.04

Language **

.33

.32

2.62

.01

Non-verbal intelligence

-.02

-.02

-.20

.84

Sex
*p<.05, **p<.01; ***p<.001

-.12

-.05

-.61

.55

The result suggested the predictors of students text comprehension were

metacognitive processing, character decoding and language. Sex and non-verbal

intelligence played a minimal role in predicting text comprehension. Table 4-12 shows

159

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

the subsequent hierarchical multiple regression analysis, performed within a conceptually

guided framework. Sex and non-verbal intelligence were the variables to be controlled for,

and were entered first, followed by the variables of character decoding, metacognitive

processing and oral language, which were entered one by one.

Table 4-12
Hierarchical Multiple Regression on Text Comprehension Score (entire sample, N = 73)
R2

Model
1. Sex and Non-verbal IQ **
2. Character decoding ***
3. Metacognitive processing **
4. Language **
*p<.05, **p<.01; ***p<.001

.14
.35
.40
.46

R2 Change
value
.14
.21
.06
.06

F
5.48
22.01
6.20
6.85

p
.01
.000
.02
.01

The multiple regression results showed that non-verbal intelligence and sex

were the significant predictors for text comprehension. When character decoding was
added, a multiple R square of .35 was obtained, explaining 21% of the variance. This

suggested that character decoding was also a significant predictor. When metacognitive
processing was added, a multiple R square of .40 was obtained, explaining an additional
6% of variance. Finally, when language processing was added, a multiple R square of .46

160

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

was obtained, explaining an additional 6% of variance. Both metacognitive processing

and language were found to significant predictors. These findings suggested that

language, character decoding and metacognitive processing were significant contributors

to participants text comprehension. The significance of sex and non-verbal intelligence

further suggested a need to separate the SLI sample from those with typical development.

1. Typical development sample Table 4-13 shows a general regression model

for the typical development sample. The predictor to students text comprehension is

character decoding. Sex and non-verbal intelligence were found to play minimal roles in

predicting text comprehension.

Table 4-13.
General Regression Model on Text Comprehension Score for Typical Development
Sample (n = 31 )
Variables
Metacognitive processing
Character decoding*
Language
Non-verbal intelligence
Sex
*p<.05, **p<.01; ***p<.001

B
.05
.68
.29
-.027
-.31

.21
.46
.21
-.28
-.16

161

t
1.27
2.33
1.22
-1.50
-.90

p
.22
.03
.24
.15
.38

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Table 4-14 shows the subsequent hierarchical multiple regression analysis

results, which showed that non-verbal intelligence and sex were not significant predictors
of text comprehension. When character decoding was added, a multiple R square of .30

was obtained, explaining 30% of the variance. This suggested character decoding was a
significant predictor. However, when metacognitive processing was added, a multiple R

square of .33 was obtained, explaining an additional 4% of the variance. Finally, when
language was added, a multiple R square reaching .37 was obtained, explaining an

additional 4% of the variance. Neither metacognitive processing nor oral language were

significant. The findings suggested that character decoding was the only significant

contributor to students text comprehension among students with typical development.

Table 4-14.
Hierarchical Multiple Regression on Text Comprehension Score for Typical Development
Sample ( n = 31 )
Model
1. Sex and Non-verbal IQ
2. Character decoding *
3. Metacognitive processing
4. Language
*p<.05, **p<.01; ***p<.001

R2
.004
.30
.33
.37

162

R2 Change
value
.004
.30
.04
.04

F
.05
11.31
1.38
1.48

p
.95
.000
.25
.24

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

2. The SLI sample Table 4-15 shows a general regression model. The predictor

to students text comprehension was language. Again, sex and non-verbal intelligence

played minimal roles in predicting text comprehension.

Table 4-15
General Regression Model on Text Comprehension Score for the SLI Sample ( n = 42 )
Variables
b

t
p
Metacognitive processing
.12
.29
1.90
.07
Character decoding
.14
.17
1.11
.28
Language*
.30
.30
2.03
.05
Non-verbal intelligence
.01
.13
.89
.38
Sex
.04
.01
.10
.92
*p<.05, **p<.01; ***p<.001

Table 4-16 shows the subsequent hierarchical multiple regression analysis,

which showed that non-verbal intelligence and sex were not significant predictors of text
comprehension. When character decoding was added, a multiple R square of .25 was

obtained, explaining 11% of the variance. When metacognitive processing was added, a
multiple R square of .33 was obtained, explaining an additional 8% of the variance.
Finally, when language processing was added, a multiple R of .40 was obtained,

explaining an additional 7% of the variance. These findings suggested character


163

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

decoding , metacognitive processing and oral language were the significant contributor to

their text comprehension.

Table 4-16
Hierarchical Multiple Regression on Text Comprehension Score for the SLI Sample ( n =
42 )
R2

Model
1. Sex and Non-verbal IQ
2. Character decoding *
3. Metacognitive processing *
4. Language *
*p<.05, **p<.01; ***p<.001

.14
.25
.33
.40

R2 Change
value
.14
.11
.08
.07

F
3.17
5.39
4.17
4.12

p
.06
.03
.05
.05

The correlation and regression analyses results suggest the prediction that

metacognitive processing was correlated with text comprehension for the entire sample

and for children with SLI. For regression, typically developing childrens text

comprehension was likely to be predicted by character decoding skills. However, the SLI

sample showed a different picture. With hierarchical analyses, metacognitive processing

predicted text comprehension. Further examination through sample comparison was

conducted.

164

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

4.5. Sample Comparison

Analyses were conducted to examine whether there were differences between

children with SLI and their typically developing peers in language, character decoding,

metacognitive processing and text comprehension. Preliminary analyses were conducted

to investigate possible sex differences; however, results indicated no sex differences on

these measures, so the scores were collapsed for analysis.

4.5.1. Factor scores

Table 4-17 shows means and standard deviations for the factor scores for oral

language, character decoding and text comprehension scores between the typical

development sample and the SLI sample, after controlling for covariates of non-verbal

intelligence.

165

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Table 4-17.
Mean Factor Scores between Samples after Evaluation of the Covariates (i.e. non-verbal
intelligence)
Variables

Typical development

SLI

SD

SD

Oral Language ***

.63

.14

-.37

.16

19.38

< .001

Character decoding ***

1.34

.19

-.35

.21

30.63

< .001

Metacognitive processing **

15.23

.63

11.94

.71

10.93

.002

Text comprehension *
*p<.05, **p<.01; ***p<.001

.40

.18

-.34

.20

6.99

.01

Multivariate analysis was conducted on language scores, character decoding

scores, metacognitive processing score and text comprehension score for both groups,

controlling for the effects of non-verbal intelligence. There was a significant difference
between the typical development and SLI samples, F (4, 64) = 10.51, p < .001, partial 2

= .16.

Subsequent univariate analyses showed that the typical development sample


outperformed their SLI peers in oral language, F (1,67) = 19.38, p < .001, partial 2 = .22;
Metacognitive processing, F (1,67) = 10.93, p = .002, partial

= .14; and text

comprehension, F (1,67) = 6.99, p = .01, partial 2 = .09. The greatest difference between
the two samples came in the area of character decoding, F (1,67) = 30.63, p < .001,
166

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

partial 2= .31.

4.5.2. Oral language scores

Further analyses were conducted on each of the three language scores. Table

4-18 shows the findings. There was significant difference between SLI and TD samples,
F (3, 66) = 7.00, p < .001, partial 2= .24.

Table 4-18.
Mean Auditory Comprehension, Oral Vocabulary and Oral Narrative Scores between
Samples after Evaluation of the Covariates (i.e. non-verbal intelligence)
Variables

Typical development

SLI

SD

SD

Auditory Comprehension **

.91

.21

-.03

.23

8.21

.01

Oral vocabulary ***

1.66

.19

.40

.21

17.50

<.001

Oral narrative **
*p<.05, **p<.01; ***p<.001

-.15

.18

-1.08

.21

10.35

.002

Subsequent univariate analyses show that the typical development sample

outperformed their SLI peers in terms of auditory comprehension scores, scoring


significantly higher SLI sample, F (1,68) = 8.21, p = .006, partial 2= .11. Similar results
were also found in vocabulary, F (1,68) = 17.50, p < .001, partial 2 = .20; and narrative
scores, F (1,68) = 10.35, p = .002, partial 2 = .13. These findings suggested that
167

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

typically developing children performed significantly better than their SLI peers at all

oral language parameters.

4.5.3. Metacognitive processing scores

Further analyses were conducted on different metacognitive processing ratings,

with Table 4-19 showing the findings. There was significant difference between the SLI
sample and TD sample, F (4, 64) = 5.68, p = .001, partial 2= .26.

Table 4-19.
Mean Prediction, Problem Solving, Questioning and Theme Identification Scores between
Samples after Evaluation of the Covariates (i.e. non-verbal intelligence)
Variables

Typical development

SLI

SD

SD

Prediction **

4.18

.21

3.03

.23

12.54

001

Problem solving

3.75

.22

3.20

.25

2.41

.13

Questioning

3.66

.28

3.04

.32

1.96

.17

Theme identification **
*p<.05, **p<.01; ***p<.001

3.65

.17

2.67

.20

12.47

.001

Subsequent univariate analyses showed that students with typical development

outperformed their SLI peers. The typical development sample was superior in prediction

and theme identification, but not in problem solving and questioning. In terms of
168

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

prediction, it scored significantly higher than did the SLI sample, F (1,67) = 12.54, p
= .001, partial 2 = .16. Similar results were also found in theme identification, F (1,67) =
12.47, p = .001, partial 2 = .16.

4.5.4. Text comprehension scores

Further analyses were conducted on each of the three text comprehension

scores. Table 4-20 shows the findings. There was a significant difference between SLI
sample and TD sample, F (3, 65) = 4.86, p = .004, partial 2=.18.

Table 4-20.
Mean Inferential Questions, Recalling Narrative Text and Recalling Expository Text
Scores between Samples after Evaluation of the Covariates (i.e. non-verbal intelligence)
Variables

Typical development

SLI

SD

SD

Inferential questions

8.67

.53

6.73

.59

5.39

.02*

Recall narrative

2.49

.17

1.66

.19

9.77

.003**

Recall - expository
*p<.05, **p<.01; ***p<.001

1.89

.16

1.71

.18

.49

.49

Subsequent univariate analyses showed that the typical development sample

outperformed their SLI peers. The typical development sample was superior in answering

inferential questions and recalling narrative text, but not in expository text. In terms of
169

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

inferential questions, it scored significantly more correct items than did the SLI sample,
F (1,67) = 5.39, p = .02, partial 2= .07; Similar results were also found in recalling
narrative text, F (1,67) = 9.77, p = .003, partial 2= .13.

4.5.5. Potential language covariates in group comparison

Some might argue that, in addition to sex and non-verbal intelligence, poor

language performance might also affect study results. Thus, students language scores

were added as further covariates.

After controlling for students oral language scores in addition to non-verbal

intelligence, multivariate testing showed that the typical development sample still
performed significantly better in metacognitive processing than did the SLI sample , F (4,
63) = 3.28, p = .02, partial 2 = .17. Again, no significant difference was found in terms

of sex. In text comprehension, too, there was a significant difference between the typical
development and SLI samples, F (3, 64) = 3.03, p = .04, partial 2=.13, indicating that

students with SLI made less use of metacognitive processing and did poorly in text

comprehension, regardless of their language deficiencies.


170

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

4.6. Chapter Summary

This chapter has presented the studys findings to address the first research

question. The SLI sample not only showed poor oral language skills, as was expected,

based on the definition of their condition. It also showed significantly poorer lexical

decoding and performed more poor than typical children in terms of metacognitive

processing, even when controlled for sex and non-verbal intelligence. Children with SLI

demonstrated significantly fewer metacognitive activities during text processing than

their peers in the typical development sample, even when controlled for their poor

language skills. At the same time, correlations and regression analyses both suggested

that metacognitive processing, oral language and character decoding were significantly

related to the text comprehension scores of children with SLI.

Indeed, children with SLI are disadvantaged in literacy, and have difficulties

reading to learn. However, conventional Chinese teaching focuses more on character


decoding than on metacognition and verbal language (Lau & Chan, 2007; Tse et al.,

1995), and might not meet the needs of these special students. A new research enquiry
171

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

can test whether improved metacognitive processing can foster the development of oral

language and text comprehension. The findings discussed above provide the foundation

for Study Two, which will be discussed in the next two chapters.

172

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Chapter 5
Study Two Materials and Method
5.1. Overview

The goal of Study Two was to examine whether cognitive instruction can

facilitate the reading process among children with SLI. Study One had identified that

children with SLI showed deficits in terms of metacognitive processing, performing

fewer metacognitive activities than their peers with typical development. Correlation

analysis and subsequent regression analysis further identified that their metacognitive

processing contributed to their poor text comprehension. Study One is a correlation study,

and study Two followed Study One using an experimental approach to test casual

relations and to investigate whether promoting metacognitive processing of children with

SLI through cognitive reading strategies instruction could promote their literacy

development.

Specifically, it was designed to address the following questions: After

instruction, did children in the experimental group out-perform their control group peers

in processes of i) character decoding, ii) oral communication and iii) metacognitive


173

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

processing? Did children in the experimental group improve on beliefs about reading?

Did children in the experimental group improve on text comprehension, including i)

answering inferential questions, ii) recalling narrative text and iii) recalling expository

text? What were the prediction of metacognitive processing, oral language, character

decoding on text comprehension for experimental group and the control group after

instruction? Did children in the experimental group improve more than control group in

terms of classroom engagement?

This chapter outlines the methods for Study Two. It consists of three main

sections. Section 5.2 describes the quasi-experimental design and the related grouping

procedures and sampling issues, together with the measurement instruments used to

evaluate how the literacy proficiency of children with SLI could be improved through the

promotion of metacognitive processing. Participants were randomly divided into two

groups, the cognitive group and the conventional group. Section 5.3 details the

development and employment of the scoring protocols used to measure students beliefs

about reading. These two scales are described in detail, with examples of student

responses. Section 5.4 systemically describes the instruction techniques used in the two
174

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

groups: cognitive reading strategies instruction and conventional teaching.

5.2. Research Design

This section covers the sampling methodology and the measurements involved

in Study Two. Study Two employed a non-equivalent quasi-experimental design.

Children in the SLI sample from Study One were asked to join the study. They were

randomly divided into either the cognitive reading strategies program (Experimental

group) or the conventional comprehension program (Control group). Class sizes ranged

from eight to 11 children. Both programs were taught over 15 weekly sessions in the

same semester, each consisting of one 45-minutes lesson delivered by the same

researcher. The length of the program was comparable to those from previous studies
(Lau, 2006a; Lau & Chan, 2007; Wilder & Williams, 2001; Williams, 2005; Williams et
al., 2005). Although school-based, the programs were delivered outside of school hours,

to lessen the impact on participants normal schooling. The researcher acted as the

instructor.

175

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

5.2.1. Sampling and procedures

Study Two involved the SLI sample from Study One; two children dropped out

of the study for personal reasons. There were, altogether, 40 children involved. These 40

students were randomly assigned into two groups in two separate schools. The first group
was given cognitive reading strategies instruction (Experimental group, n = 21), whereas
the second group received conventional comprehension instruction (Control group, n =

19). All of them were receiving regular school-based speech therapy service during the

instructional program by the same speech therapist. They had not received any other

speech therapy service outside the school. The speech therapy followed the traditional

linguistic approach. No cognitive strategy was introduced at any speech therapy session

during the period.

The flow-chart of Study Two is shown in Figure 5-1. Participants were not

pre-tested for oral language, character decoding, text comprehension or metacognitive

processing, as this data had been already collected in Study One.

176

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Recruitment of SLI sample participants from Study One

Pre-test phase
One-to-one interview on participants beliefs about reading
Teacher-rated Students Classroom Engagement Questionnaire

15 weekly-basis lessons on cognitive


reading strategies instruction

1)
2)
3)
4)
5)
6)

15 weekly-basis lessons on
conventional reading training

Post-test phase
The Hong Kong Cantonese Oral Language Assessment Scale (HKCOLAS)
The Hong Kong Graded Character Naming Test (HKGCNT)
Text Comprehension Test
Metacognitive Processing Scale
One-to-one interview on participants beliefs about reading
Teacher-rated Students Classroom Engagement Questionnaire

Inter-rater reliability examination


30% of script was rated by second rater

Figure 5-1.

Flow Chart of Study Two

177

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

After the 15-week program, each participant was tested on their oral language,

character decoding, text comprehension and metacognitive processing, and interviewed

about their belief about reading, using the same set of interview questions as in the

pre-test. The pre- and post-tests were completed 50 days before and after the instruction,

respectively.

To maintain fidelity, the entire instructional programs, including all the

students verbal responses, were audio-recorded. Participants pre- and post-test

responses were audio-taped, except in the case of pen-and-paper tasks. To check

inter-rater reliabilities (except for standardized instruments), 30% of the scripts were

randomly selected and coded by a second rater, who had a similar background as, but was

blind to the ratings of, the first rater.

In order to address ecological validity and the extent to which the pull-out

instruction reflected real-life classroom conditions, a Teacher-rated Students Classroom

Engagement Questionnaire was delivered to the participants respective class teachers

before and after the program. The Questionnaire partially adopted the validated Hong

Kong Specific Learning Difficulties Behavior Checklist - For Primary School Pupils (Ho,
178

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Chan, & Education Department, 2001). It asked teachers views about participants

engagement in regular classes before and after the instruction program.

5.2.2. Measurements

A number of instruments were employed to measure students performance at

the pre-test and post-test phases. Some of the measures had also been used in Study One,

but others were unique to Study Two. Table 5-1 shows a summary of the measurements

used in Study Two.

179

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Table 5-1.
Summary of Measurements used in Study Two
Constructs

Instruments

Sub-scale

Character
decoding

The Hong Kong Graded


Character Naming Test
(HKGCNT)

Oral language The Hong Kong Cantonese Oral 1.


Language Assessment Scale
2.
(HKCOLAS)
3.
Metacognitive Metacognitive processing Scale 1.
processing
2.
3.
4.
Text
Part I
comprehension 11 forced-choice inferential
questions

Textual Comprehension Test


Expressive Nominal
Vocabulary Test
Narrative Test
Prediction
Problem Solving
Questioning
Theme identification

Part II
Text Recall Scale

1.
2.

Belief about
reading

Reading Belief Scale

Academic
engagement

Teacher-rated Students
Classroom Engagement
Questionnaire

Narrative text
Expository text

1. Measures already mentioned in Study One The measures used in both

studies included two standardized tests on language and character decoding: The Hong
Kong Cantonese Oral Language Assessment Scale, HKCOLAS (T'sou et al., 2006) and
the Hong Kong Graded Character Naming Test, HKGCNT (Leung et al., 2008). Two

researcher-developed instruments, the Metacognitive Processing Scale and the Text

180

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Comprehension Test, were also employed in both Study One and Study Two. The

administrative procedures were detailed in the previous chapter on Study One and will

not be described here. As all of the participants involved in this study were from Study

One, their scores were directly obtained from Study One; in other words, they were not

required to retest at the pre-test phase.

After the instruction, participants were post-tested. Besides the standardized

tests on language and character decoding, which followed the manual strictly, the text

stimuli used in the Metacognitive Processing Scale and Text Comprehension Test were

changed to prevent any over-learning effect. All the text stimuli (Appendix C and

Appendix F) used in the post-test phase were reviewed for appropriateness by five

experienced senior Chinese language teachers using a 7-point Likert scale; mean scores

were above 4, with no ratings of two or lower.

2. Measures for Study Two only In Study Two, two new measures were

added. The first was a one-to-one interview. Participants were interviewed before and

after the program concerning their beliefs about reading. Their responses were rated
181

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

using the self-developed Reading Beliefs Scale. The second new measure involved

questionnaire distribution. To ensure ecological validity, a researcher-developed,

Teacher-rated Students Classroom Engagement Questionnaire was administered to

participants regular classroom teachers, both before and after the instruction program.

a) Teacher-rated Students Classroom Engagement Questionnaire The

participants respective class teachers were asked to complete a Teacher-rated Students

Classroom Engagement Questionnaire, a 20-item questionnaire about their students

classroom learning experiences, using a seven-point Likert scale. Appendix G shows the

questionnaire. To avoid possible instrumentation bias that the respondent easily got into

any sort of response routine, the order of items was reversed in half of the questionnaires.

The questionnaire was based on selected items from the Hong Kong Specific Learning
Difficulties Behavior Checklist - For Primary School Pupils (Ho et al., 2001), a validated

checklist used by teachers to identify students with learning difficulties in 2001. As such,

the teachers were expected to be familiar with the tests items. The coefficient alpha for

these 20 items was .78, suggesting an acceptable level of internal consistency; coefficient
182

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

values of .70 or above are considered desirable (Cronbach, 1951; George & Mallery,

2003).

The questionnaire was delivered twice; once approximately one month before

the program started, and then again within one month of its end. Each teacher completed

the questionnaire independently. The teacher had 14 days to complete and return the

questionnaire. No classroom teachers knew whether their student was in the experimental

group or the control group. School personnel passed the questionnaires on to the

classroom teachers, along with a covering letter explaining, in detail, the researchs

purpose and background.

b) One-to-one interview concerning beliefs about reading

Rather than

directly measuring metacognitive activities, Anderson, Chan, and Henne (1995) focused

on students beliefs about learning, which, they argued, were critical to learning

outcomes. Competent readers viewed the reading process as a sort of knowledge


construction (Anderson et al., 1995), while low achievers took an opposite view, known
as reproductive belief (Law et al., 2008).
183

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Students proper and positive beliefs about reading were important factors in

successful text comprehension (Allen & Hancock, 2008). Students who understood their

reading goals and potential reading challenges made better self-evaluations (Dunlosky &

Metcalfe, 2009) and tended to self-regulate their own reading by applying proper

knowledge.

Participants were engaged in one-to-one interviews to assess their beliefs about

reading. The flexibility of the interviews enabled researchers to follow up on ideas, probe
responses and investigate motives and feelings (Anderson et al., 1995; Mertens &

McLaughlin, 2004), as well as to triangulate the data collected using other research

methodologies (Breakwell, 2006). A total of seven open-ended questions were adapted


from previous research applicable to low achieving primary school students (Anderson et
al., 1995; Ho, 2004). Seven questions concerned beliefs about reading. Appendix H

shows the guideline of the interview. The interview was pilot tested using 24 typical

second- and third-grade students.


Each participant was interviewed twice once approximately one month before

the program started, and once within a month of its end. Both were carried out using
184

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

highly standardized procedures . Each participant was invited into a classroom, where the

interview was conducted on a one-to-one basis. The interviewer explained the purpose of

the interview and stressed that it was not a gradable examination and that there were no

absolute correct or incorrect answers. There was no time limit on the interviews and

students could answer as freely as they wished. The interviewer presented seven

questions, pausing after each to let the student reply. Neutral probing strategies facilitated

the conversation.

All participants responses were audio-taped and transcribed. The

response was rated using the research-developed Reading Belief Scale for subsequent

analysis. The detail of the scale construction is described in the next section (Section 5.3).

5.3. Scale Construction

The previous section described a number of measures involved in Study Two,

most of which had already been discussed in Chapter 3 in relation to Study One. Study

Two involved the Reading Beliefs Scale, which has not been discussed before. The

Reading Beliefs Scale was a researcher-developed scale designed to tap participants

185

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

beliefs about reading. Its development followed a method called protocol analysis, which
addressed both theoretical and empirical considerations (Chan et al., 1992). The general

approach consisted of two parts. The first was to consider theoretical notions regarding

students text processing; the second was to understand students actual responses. Thus,

the coding scheme was not based on prior classification schemes. Rather, it identified

students prototypical patterns for a given activity (Chan & Sachs, 2001).

5.3.1 Reading beliefs scale description

Seven questions (Question 1 to 7) addressed childrens beliefs about reading:


Question 1, What is reading?; Question 2, What is the goal of reading?; Question 3,
What should I do to become a skillful reader?; Question 4, What is the main difficulty
encountered during reading?; Question 5, Do you enjoy reading, and why?; Question 6,
What do you do when you are reading?; and, Question 7, Do you think you are a

skillful reader, and why? The interviewer presented the questions then awaited the

participants responses. Each response was first examined on an intuitive level. Examples

of responses from different interview questions were grouped and arranged from the
186

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

simplest level to the most complex. A preliminary objective scale was then formatted,

with as much intuitive understanding being preserved as was possible. Descriptive

criteria for each level of each activity were derived. Any difficulties during scoring led to

new definitions or further refinement. To reiterate, these scales did not aim to describe all

possible student responses; they provided a prototype for each level, and students

responses were put into different levels based on the raters judgment.

To address inter-rater reliability, a second rater, with similar background but

blind to the ratings of the first rater, scored a random set of 24 protocols, which

accounted for 30% of the whole sample. The inter-rater agreements in terms of Cohen

Kappa ranged from .68 to .89 among the seven questions, which, according to Landis and

Koch (1977), suggested good to excellent inter-rater reliability.

Question 1 What is reading?

Table 5-2 shows the four-point scale for rating childrens responses to the

above question. Participants who answered this question by focusing on physical

behavior alone were rated 1. Participants who answered in terms of a simple learning
187

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

outcome were rated 2. Participants who were able to focus on the learning process and

simple learning outcomes were rated 3. Participants who focused on both learning

outcome and learning process and could illustrate some reading strategies were rated 4.

Table 5-2.
Description of the Reading Beliefs Scale for Question 1: What is reading?
Rating Description

Sample excerpt translated from Chinese

Focused on behavioral
factors

Looking through the passage

Focused on a simple
learning outcome

Getting ideas from content

Focused on the learning Looking at the passage and answering the questions and understanding the
process and a simple
reasons
learning outcome

Focused on BOTH
Looking at more books. Understanding the content. Looking at words and
learning outcome and
any words you do not understand at the same time
learning process, and
ddd
illustrated some reading
strategies

Note. None of the participant attained the rating of 4 at this study. The respected excerpt
was obtained from typical students during pilot test.
Question 2 What is the goal of reading

Table 5-3 shows the four-point scale developed for rating childrens responses

to the above question. Participants who provided an unelaborated response or who simply
identified task completion were rated 1; typical responses included pronunciation,
complete an examination, getting higher marks and satisfied teachers. Participants

188

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

who focused on aspects of literacy (e.g. learning vocabulary, information acquisition and

understanding the text) were rated 2. Participants who were able to focus on aspects of

literacy and future use were rated 3. Participants who focused on literacy as a means of

problem solving were rated 4.

Table 5-3.
Description of the Reading Beliefs Scale for Question 2: What is the goal of reading?
Rating Description

Sample excerpt translated from Chinese

Unelaborated response / Pronunciation


task completion

Focused on aspects of
Expand knowledge
literacy, learning more
vocabulary, information
acquisition and
understanding the text

Focused on aspects of
literacy and future use

To teach us to be good people and to let me know more about things that
might happen in the future

Focused on regarding
literacy as a means of
problem solving

To think about how to gain more knowledge and solve questions. To


develop writing skills
d

Note. None of the participant attained the rating of 4 at this study. The respected excerpt
was obtained from typical students during pilot test.

Question 3 What should I do to become a skillful reader?

Table 5-4 shows the four-point scale developed for rating childrens responses

to the above question. Participants who answered this question with unelaborated

responses or who focused on behavioral factors alone were rated 1; exemplar responses
189

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

included Read more books, Look closer at books, and Wear glasses before reading.

Participants focusing on aspects of literacy, word level difficulties or text comprehension

were rated 2. Participants who were able to focus on the use of a simple reading strategy,

such as prediction, were rated 3. Participants who focused on using more than one

reading strategy and who could explain the strategic process were rated 4.

Table 5-4.
Description of the Reading Beliefs Scale for Question 3: What should I do to become a
skillful reader?
Rating Description

Sample excerpt translated from Chinese

Unelaborated response / To be smart, read more books


Focused on behavioral
D
factors

Focused on aspects of
literacy, word level
difficulties and
understanding the text

To learn more words


D

Focused on using simple To think and reflect. To predict what is going on in the content
reading strategies (e.g.
dd
Prediction)

Focused on using more To use your brain to understand and draw conclusions, and then speak
than one reading strategy, aloud. Think up some questions to test myself
with an explanation of
d
the process (e.g.
Questioning)

Question 4 What is the main difficulty encountered during reading?

Table 5-5 shows the four-point scale developed for rating childrens responses

to the above question. Participants who answered this question by providing unelaborated
190

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

responses were rated 1. Participants who focused on simple aspects of literacy, such as
word level difficulties, were rated 2; typical responses included I dont know how to
speak the words aloud, I did not understand the meaning of a word and The words

found in the text were too difficult. Participants who focused on complex aspects of

literacy, such as failing to understand the text, were rated 3. Participants who focused on

elements of literacy, such as finding reasons for ones inability to understand the text,

were rated 4.

Table 5-5.
Description of the Reading Beliefs Scale for Question 4: What is the main difficulty
encountered during reading?
Rating Description

Sample excerpt translated from Chinese

Unelaborated response

Too much homework. There are many hours of work before we can return
home from school

Focused on simple
Dont know how to speak the words aloud
aspects of literacy word D
level difficulties

Focused on complex
aspects of literacy
failure to understand the
text

Dont know how the content on the first page relates to the next page. I
want to understand the underlying meaning of the text on page 1.
D

Focused on the elements


of literacy, finding
reasons for being unable
to understand the text

I sometimes fail to answer the wh-questions from the text. It may be


because I forget to use a story map to visualize the content. I should
remember to use a story map next time.
DD
[/]

Question 6 What will you do when you are reading?

191

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Table 5-6 shows the four-point scale developed for rating childrens responses

to the above question. Participants who answered this question with unelaborated

responses or who focused merely on behavioral factors were rated 1. Participants who

could focus on aspects of literacy, such as word level difficulties and text comprehension,

were rated 2. Participants who focused on story grammar or reading strategies, but who

could not list more than half of the elements, were rated 3. Participants who focused on

story grammar or reading strategies by listing more than half of the possible elements

were rated 4.

192

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Table 5-6.
Description of the Reading Beliefs Scale for Question 6: What will you do when you are
reading?
Rating Description

Sample excerpt translated from Chinese

Unelaborated response / Dont damage the book


Focused on behavioral
D
factors

Focused on aspects of
literacy, word level
difficulties and
understanding of text

Focused on story
Pay attention and think about the impression it makes. Highlight words and
grammar or reading
ask my own questions
strategies, but cannot list d
more than half of all
elements

Focused on story
grammar or reading
strategies and can list
more than half of the
elements

Pay attention to words and pictures


d

If you cannot understand, you should ask yourself why. If you still do not
understand, you could check the dictionary. You should think for reflection
by reading through the passage and saying your feelings aloud

Question 5 Do you enjoy reading, and why? and


Question 7 Do you think you are a skillful reader, and why?

Question 5 and Question 7 were so similar to each other that the scale

description was the same for both questions. Table 5-7 shows the four-point scale

developed for rating childrens responses. Participants who provided negative responses

were rated 1. Neutral responses were rated 2. Participants who answered positively, but

without any explanation about literacy, were rated 3. Participants who provided a positive

response and an explanation related to literacy were rated 4; however, no participant was
193

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

rated 4 for Question 7. A second rater, with similar background but blind to the ratings of

the first rater, scored a random set of 24 protocols for each question, which accounted for

30% of the whole sample. The inter-rater agreement Cohen Kappa coefficients were .88

(Question 5) and .86 (Question 7), which, according to Landis and Koch (1977),

suggested that both scales showed excellent inter-rater reliability.

Table 5-7.
Description of the Reading Beliefs Scale for Question 5: (Do you enjoy reading, and
why?) ;and 7: (Do you think you are a skillful reader, and why?).
Rating Description

Sample excerpt translated from Chinese


Question 5

Question 7

Negative response

Nonsense, the words are troublesome


d

Not skillful because of the difficult


new words

Neutral response

Sometimes like, sometimes dislike,


Fair, because I dont understand too
because some fiction books have too
many words
many words

DDD

Positive response
without explanation
related to literacy

I like it because it is interesting

Positive response
with explanation
related to literacy

I like it because it makes me learn more I am good at reading. I can guess the
words
meaning of difficult with the word
surrounding.
d

I am skillful. I am always reading


books
d

Note. None of the participant attained the rating of 4 (Question 7) at this study. The
respected excerpt was obtained from typical students during pilot test.

194

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

5.4. Instruction

The previous section has described the measures involved in the pre- and

post-test phases. This section outlines the core of this study, and shows how the different

instruction programs were implemented. To show the effectiveness of cognitive reading

strategies instruction, participants were divided into two groups and received either

cognitive strategies instruction or conventional reading training. Both groups were well

controlled, so that the teaching environment, stimuli and resources were roughly the

same.

The difference falls on the teaching strategies used. The cognitive program

instructs participants in the use of such cognitive reading strategies as prior knowledge

activation, self-questioning, clarifying difficult words, summarization and using graphic

organizers and story maps. The conventional reading training focused on teaching

lexicons that appeared in the text, and improving participants text comprehension by

increasing their understanding of word meanings. Table 5.8 illustrates the differences

between the two programs. For a better illustration, features common to the two

techniques are discussed first, followed by their differences. Appendix I and Appendix J
195

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

show the sample session plans.

Table 5-8.
Summary of the Instruction Programs
Session Stimuli

Experimental Group

Control group

Cognitive reading

Conventional instruction

strategies instruction
1-3

Narrative text Activating prior knowledge


Clarifying difficult words

4-6

Vocabulary development
(8 words each session)

Narrative text Use of story map


Problem solving & Summarizing

Reading the text by instructor


Explain the vocabulary

Self-Questioning

Writing task
7-9

Expository text Activating prior knowledge


Clarifying difficult words

10-12

Expository text Identifying clues words


Use of graphic organizer
Summarizing

13-15

Mixed

Revision of reading strategies


Regulating reading behaviors

5.4.1. Teaching environment and settings

Each class consisted of eight to 11 participants. Both programs were taught

over 15 weekly sessions over one semester, with each 45-minutes lesson being given by

the same researcher. The length of the program was comparable to those conducted in
196

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

previous studies (Lau, 2006a; Wilder & Williams, 2001; Williams, 2005; Williams et al.,

2005). Although school-based, the program was delivered outside of school hours so that

students normal schooling was less likely to be affected. The researcher acted as

instructor.

1. Teaching resources The same set of reading material was used in both
programs. One text was presented in each session, for a total of 15 texts eight narrative

texts and seven expository texts. The narrative and expository texts were selected from

storybooks and elementary grade level animal encyclopedia respectively. All texts were

reviewed for appropriateness by five experienced senior Chinese language teachers using

a seven-point Likert scale. The mean score was above four, with no rating of two or

lower. No text introduced was found in the current Chinese language text-book.

Powerpoint and printed materials were utilized in each lesson to facilitate teaching. It was

expected that visual images might enhance subjects interest in learning and enable them

to understand and learn the materials more easily (Ho, 2004).

197

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

2. Home practice The programs included almost an academic year of explicit

teaching; home practice was a must for both. Written home practice was assigned after

each session so that students could practice with their parents at home. The school

assistant wrote a short note regarding home practice, and school regulations required that

each parent sign the handbook daily. In addition, revision booklets were delivered before

every students long vacations (Christmas, Chinese New Year and Easter). Telephone

follow- ups were conducted at least once for each student to ensure parental

understanding.

5.4.2. Cognitive reading strategies program

The purpose of the integrated program was to help children with SLI to develop

reading competence using cognitive strategies. As the participants in this program were

required to verbalize, it was possible that the program would also help to improve their

communications skills.

The aim of the program was to foster comprehension through metacognitive

instruction. The National Reading Panel (2000) identified and validated a number of
198

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

cognitive reading strategies that had helped children at elementary grade improve

academically, including relating prior knowledge, mental imagery, questioning, clarifying,

problem solving, theme identification and summarization. However, the focus of the

program was not teaching individual strategies, but what the National Reading Panel
(2000) referred as curriculum plus strategies teaching multiple strategies in the

context of content learning.

Participants were taught not only multiple cognitive reading strategies, but also

comprehension monitoring, which promotes metacognitive awareness under specific

circumstances (Trabasso & Bouchard, 2002). Strategies taught included activating prior

knowledge, question generation and summarizing (Keene & Zimmermann, 1997).

Activating prior knowledge This strategy drew attention to relevant parts of the

text to encourage readers to infer about and elaborate on what they are reading (Trabasso

& Bouchard, 2002). It enabled readers to construct mental representations to fill in

missing or incomplete information.

Prior knowledge activation has been well documented to be effective for first199

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

to ninth-grade children. The strategy was taught through a series of pre-reading activities.

Participants read the text, then thought about what might happen based on their personal

experience and knowledge.

Question generation Question generation instruction asked readers to question

themselves while reading the text. There has been strong evidence that question

generation instruction during reading encourages positive changes in answering questions,

integration and theme identification (Trabasso & Bouchard, 2002).

Initially, the instructor modeled, through thinking aloud protocols, how to

generate questions while reading a passage. Participants then practiced and the instructor

provided feedback on question quality and helped them to answer the question generated

(Keene & Zimmermann, 1997; Rosenshine, Meister, & Chapman, 1996). The core focus

was to teach students to evaluate whether the most important questions were asked, as

well as whether they were integrative and answerable (Trabasso & Bouchard, 2002).

Summarization Strategic summarization facilitates readers awareness of text


200

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

structure and idea articulation (Keene & Zimmermann, 1997). In order to create a text

summary, reader must learn how to extract ideas from the text, stress the main ones and

minimize less relevant items. Such strategies have proven effective for third- to

eighth-grade students, improving not only the quality of their summaries, but also

memory, recall, question answering and theme identification (Trabasso & Bouchard,

2002).

In order to internalize this strategy, participants were provided modeling and a

series of examples of how to apply summarization rules, such as identifying key words or

topic sentences and deleting redundancies (Bender, 2003; Trabasso & Bouchard, 2002).

They first summarized a single paragraph, then later constructed a spatial organization of

paragraph summaries. Often, visualized cues, such as graphic organizers and story maps,

were used to familiarize students with a given text structure (Bender, 2003).

Graphic Organizer Graphic organizers were effective instruments for


constructing meaning from a specific text structure (Gajria et al., 2007; Williams et al.,

2005). Participants were instructed to use systematic, visual graphs to organize ideas.
201

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Such practices had been proven to be effective strategy for early elementary to

eighth-grade students, especially for expository texts in the sciences and social studies

(Trabasso & Bouchard, 2002).

Story map Story mapping has sometimes been described as a subset of graph

organizers in which story content or narrative text structure is organized into an episode

(Person & Duke, 2002). Story mapping provides visualized cues that encourage students

to ask the who, what, where, when and why of stories, along with what happened and

what was done, and infers causal relationships between events (Bender, 2003; Wilder &

Williams, 2001); the answers to these questions help students to construct a more

coherent memory representation. Participants were taught to identify main characters,

where and when events took place, what the main characters did, how the stories ended

and how the character felt (Trabasso & Bouchard, 2002).

As mentioned above, the aim of this program was to teach students not one, but

several strategies. Table 5-8 and the coming paragraphs briefly outline how the program

helped students use those strategies to comprehend narrative and expository texts. In
202

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

addition to the above text processing strategies, text-specific reading strategies were also

included.

1. Narrative text instruction The program was adapted from the work of De
Corte et al. (2001) and Wilder and Williams (2001), with some modifications to

accommodate second- and third-grade readers. First, four cognitive reading strategies for

narrative text comprehension were taught: activating the prior knowledge; clarifying

difficult words; theme identification; and, questioning & summarizing. According to De


Corte et al. (2001), activating prior knowledge involved asking participants what they

had already known about the topic before reading the text and having them answer using

key words. Clarifying difficult words required them to identify difficult words during or

after the initial reading and to find their meaning by searching for synonyms, descriptions
or definitions, or by deriving the meaning from the context of the passage (De Corte et al.,

2001).

Theme identification, self questioning and summarizing were taught together

by reading the story, stopping at intermediate points and motivating students to make
203

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

associations between their own knowledge and the information contained in the text.

After reading the whole story and identifying its main events, the instructor focused on

five questions to organize important story components and generate a story map that
covers the necessary structures of narrative text (De Corte et al., 2001). These questions

were:

a) Who is the main character?

b) What is his/her problem?

c) What does he/she do?

d) What happens at the end of the story?

e) Is what happens good or bad? Why?

The instructor then modeled the response and helped the participants to state
the theme in a standard format; e.g. (The main character) learned that he/she should
(not) ; We should (not) and The theme of the story is (De Corte et al.,

2001). Initially, the instructor posed the questions and modeled the participants answers;

in later lessons, that task was gradually transferred to the participants. They would

alternate taking the role of group leader, provide models and share with their peers.
204

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

2. Expository text instruction In the second half of the program, a number of

strategies were introduced specifically to facilitate comprehension of expository text.


These were adapted from the work of Williams et al. (2005), and involved the use of 1)

clue words; 2) trade books; 3) graphic organizers; 4) compare-contrast questions; and, 5)

summarizing techniques.

Participants were asked to learn five to six clue words (e.g. alike, both, and, but,

than) and then create sentences using appropriate clue words. Next, a trade book on the

texts topic was introduced to motivate students. They were then instructed to make and

use a graphic organizer to organize three compare-contrast statements that would help

them grasp the most important information in the expository text. The questions were:

a) What two things is this paragraph about?

b) How are they the same?

c) How are they different?


Participants then answered these questions using the set format This
paragraph is about and . In some ways, they are the same
205

In other ways

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

they are different .

5.4.3. Conventional comprehension program

Participants in this program followed a traditional approach focused on

vocabulary acquisition. Traditional rote learning methodology (look-and-say approach)

was used. In each lesson, students had to read the passage aloud, and were asked to read

and memorize the target words selected by the instructor. The instructor would present

the meaning of, and generate sentences using the target words.

An average of eight words per lesson were introduced through the text (Wilder

& Williams, 2001). These words were written on the chalkboard and verbally defined,

after which the students would read each word and repeat the definitions. The instructor

and teachers would then generate sentences using these words. Students had to memorize

them in order to complete the reading and writing tasks prescribed by the instructors.

These tasks included copying exercises and cloze passages from the targeted words.

Neither text processing strategies nor text-specific reading strategies were included in the

instruction.
206

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

5.5. Chapter Summary

Study One indicated that children with SLI had difficulties with text

comprehension that were likely to affect their academic achievement. In addition, the

metacognitive processing of children with SLI was highly related with their text

comprehension scores, suggesting that improving their metacognitive processing might

positively affect their text comprehension.

Study Two used a quasi-experimental design to investigate whether improved

metacognitive processing can enhance text comprehension by implementing cognitive

reading strategies instruction. A sample of 40 children with SLI from Study One were
recruited and randomly divided into two groups a cognitive group and a conventional

group, to receive either cognitive reading strategies instruction or conventional reading

training. Their oral language, character decoding, metacognitive processing and text

comprehension skills were examined before and after they received seven months of

weekly instruction and compared.

Participants oral language, character decoding, metacognitive processing and

text comprehension scores were directly adopted from Study One, rather than being
207

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

pre-tested again; participants did, however, undergo an additional interview on their

beliefs about reading. For the post-program test, each student was assessed again for oral

language, character decoding, text comprehension and metacognition processing; the text

used in post-test was different from that used in the pre-test, but was at a similar

academic level. In addition, students were once again interviewed using the same set of

questions as before. To ensure ecological validity, each students class teachers had to

complete a questionnaire concerning participants classroom behaviors, pre- and

post-test.

208

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Chapter 6

Study Two- Results

6.1. Overview

Study Two followed Study One to investigate whether promoting the

metacognitive processing of children with SLI through cognitive reading strategies

instruction could promote their literacy development. Specifically, it was designed to

address the following questions: After instruction, did children in the experimental group

out-perform their control group peers in processes of i) character decoding, ii) oral

communication and iii) metacognitive processing? Did children in the experimental

group improve on beliefs about reading?

Did children in the experimental group

improve on text comprehension, including i) answering inferential questions, ii) recalling

narrative text and iii) recalling expository text?

What were the predictions of

metacognitive processing, oral language, character decoding on text comprehension for

experimental group and the control group after instruction? Did children in the

experimental group improve more than control group in terms of classroom engagement?

209

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

In this chapter, empirical findings yielded by Study Two are reported.

Specifically, Section 6.2 outlines the demographic distribution of the SLI sample in the

Experimental group and the Control group. Section 6.3 shows the descriptive statistics of

students character decoding, oral language, metacognitive processing and text

comprehension score, followed by a factor analysis to compute the different factor scores.

Section 6.4 recounts the statistical differences between the Experimental and the Control

groups in terms of their language, character decoding, metacognitive processing scores,

text comprehension scores, metacognitive knowledge scores and reading motivation

scores. Section 6.5 shows the after instruction correlation and regression results between

language scores, character decoding, metacognitive processing and text comprehension.

Section 6.6 outlines the result of the teacher questionnaires on students regular

classroom academic engagement.

6.2. Demographic Distribution

This section covers the demographic distribution between the Experimental

group and the Control Group. Each participant was randomly assigned to one of the
210

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

groups. Participants in the Experimental group were instructed in a cognitive reading

strategies instruction program. Conventional reading instruction was provided to the

participants in the Control group. Table 6-1 shows the sex and grade distribution between

the groups. More boys than girls were recruited, which resembles the prevalent sex ratio

of the larger SLI population. Although the groups were randomly sampled, more girls

were assigned to the Control group (n = 6) than to the Experimental group (n = 1). There
was no significant difference between the groups in terms of grade, 2 (1, N = 40) = .80, p

= .37. There was no significant age difference between groups.

Table 6-1.
Participants Sex and Grade Distribution between Groups
Experimental

Control

Total

Male

20

13

33

Female

Total

21

19

40

Second-grade

14

Third-grade

15

11

26

Total

15

16

40

Table 6-2 shows the age distribution between groups. The mean age of the

Experimental group (n = 21) was 93.00 months (7 years and 9 months); the mean age of

the Control group (n = 19) was 91.05 months (7 years and 7 months). Although the
211

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Experimental group showed higher non-verbal intelligence than the Control group, the

difference was insignificant,

F (1,38) = 3.15, p = .08.

Table 6-2.
Distribution of Age and Non-verbal Intelligence between Groups
Group

Experimental (n = 21)

Control (n = 19)

SD

SD

Age in months

93.00

4.42

91.05

4.81

Non-verbal intelligence

109.48

9.97

104.11

9.07

Participants language scores and character decoding scores between groups

were also compared at the pre-test phase. As shown in Table 6-3, there was no significant
difference between groups in terms of participants auditory comprehension scores, F
(1,38) = .48, p = .49; oral vocabulary scores, F (1,38) = 1.24, p = .27; or oral narrative
scores F (1,38) = 1.56, p = .22. Neither did the groups differ in terms of their character
decoding scores, F (1,38) = .17, p = .68. Generally speaking, the Experimental group and

the Control group did not differ before instruction.

212

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Table 6-3
The Language Scores and Character decoding Scores between Groups before Instruction
Group

Experimental (n = 21)

Control (n = 19)

SD

SD

Auditory
Comprehension

-.23

1.25

.03

1.06

Oral vocabulary

-.06

.51

.24

.99

Oral narrative

-1.43

.79

-1.08

1.17

Character decoding

-.43

1.33

-.61

1.18

Language scores

6.3. Empirical Findings


6.3.1. Descriptive statistics

Table 6-4 shows the mean subscale scores of participants language, character

decoding, metacognitive processing and text comprehension scores between groups.


Their language performance was measured based on three subscale scores the auditory

comprehension score, the oral vocabulary score and the narrative score. Standard scores

were used. Participants metacognitive processing was measured using the Metacognitive

Processing Scale, which comprised the subscale scores of 1) prediction, 2) problem

solving, 3) questioning and 4) theme identification. Each score comprised the sum of

213

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

ratings collected from the narrative text and the expository text. The maximum score was

eight for each subscale. Students text comprehension was measured based on their

correct answers to a series of forced-choice questions (maximum score = 11), together

with their recall of one narrative text (maximum score = 4) and one expository text

(maximum score = 4). Students beliefs about reading were measured using the Reading

Beliefs Scale, originally adopted from Anderson, Chan and Henne (1995) for student

responses during interviews. There were, altogether, seven questions, each worth a

maximum of four marks.

214

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Table 6-4.
Means and Standard Deviations of Oral Language, Character decoding, Metacognitive
Processing, Beliefs about Reading and Text Comprehension Scores between Groups
Variables
Experimental (n = 21)
Control (n = 19)
Pre-test

Post-test

Pre-test

Post-test

SD

SD

SD

SD

Auditory Comprehension

-.23

1.25

.61

.98

.03

1.06

-.07

1.07

Oral vocabulary

-.06

.51

1.33

.78

.24

.99

.95

.93

Oral narrative

-1.43

.79

-.60

1.18

-1.08

1.17

-1.13

.94

Character decoding

-.43

1.33

.76

.96

-.61

1.18

.76

.94

Prediction (max=8)

3.08

.20

4.95

.32

3.23

.21

3.80

.33

Problem solving (max=8)

3.22

.24

5.37

.28

3.23

.26

3.60

.30

Questioning (max=8)

3.28

.27

5.39

.31

3.01

.28

2.12

.33

Theme identification (max=8)

2.95

.20

3.92

.29

2.95

.20

2.72

.30

Q1. What is reading?

1.29

.56

2.05

.87

1.16

.38

1.16

.38

Q2. What is the goal of


reading?

1.67

.58

2.29

.46

1.74

.65

1.63

.68

Q3. What should I do to


become a skillful reader?

1.48

.81

2.48

.87

1.16

.38

1.21

.42

Q4. What is the main


difficulty encountered during
reading?

1.71

.72

1.86

.57

1.47

.51

1.47

.51

Q5. Do you enjoy reading?

2.43

.93

2.38

.81

2.68

.95

2.53

.91

Q6 What will you do when


you are reading?

1.33

.58

2.57

.87

1.11

.32

1.37

.60

Q7. Do you think you are a


skillful reader?

1.48

.51

1.74

.81

1.67

.86

1.37

.68

Forced choice questions


(max=11)

6.87

.71

7.44

.50

5.57

.27

6.72

.53

Recall narrative (max=4)

1.57

.15

2.95

.21

1.80

.16

2.21

.22

Recall expository (max=4)

1.36

.13

2.50

.23

1.97

.14

1.92

.25

Oral Language

Metacognitive processing

Beliefs about reading

Text comprehension

215

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

6.4. Group comparison

Analyses were conducted to examine whether there were differences between

the Experimental group and the Control group in terms of language, character decoding

metacognitive processing and text comprehension. Preliminary analyses were conducted

to determine if there were sex differences in these measures; results indicated there were

none, so the scores were collapsed across this variable for all further analyses.

6.4.1. Oral language


There were three measures of participants oral language auditory

comprehension, oral vocabulary and oral narrative. Exploratory factor analysis, using the

principal component method, extracted only one factor with an eigenvalue greater than 1.

That value was 1.78, explaining up to 59.44% of total variance and suggesting that these

three tests were measuring the same construct. Table 6-5 shows the component matrix

and the respected component score coefficient matrix.

216

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Table 6-5.
Component Matrices and Component Score Coefficient Matrices on Oral Language
Construct (N = 40)
Method:
Principle component analysis

Factor loading

Component score coefficient

Auditory comprehension

.59

.43

Oral narrative

.59

.43

Oral vocabulary

.60

.44

Oral language

Thus, a single oral language factor score was computed with respect to the

corresponding component score coefficients, as shown at Table 6-6. Scale reliability was

obtained for three scores (auditory comprehension, oral vocabulary and oral narrative)

with a Cronbachs alpha of .73, which was considered an acceptable degree of internal

reliability (Cronbach, 1951; George & Mallery, 2003).

Table 6-6.
Means and Standard Deviations of Oral Language Scores
Variables

Experimental (n = 21)
Pre-test

Post-test

Control (n
Pre-test

= 19)
Post-test

SD

SD

SD

SD

-.19

.94

.32

.91

.26

1.01

-.36

1.00

-.23

1.25

.61

.98

.03

1.06

-.07

1.07

-.06

.51

1.33

.78

1.24

.99

.95

.93

Oral narrative *
-1.43
*p<.05, **p<.01; ***p<.001

.79

-.60

1.18

-1.08

1.17

-1.13

.94

Factor Score
Oral language ***
Subscale scores
Auditory
Comprehension **
Oral vocabulary *

217

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

In terms of the single oral language factor score, as shown in Table 6-5, after

control of the covariates (i.e. non-verbal intelligence), repeated measure ANOVA (Group

x Time) results indicated significant group across time interaction between the
Experimental group and the Control group, F (1, 37) = 15.54, p < .001, partial 2 = .30.

Further analyses were conducted on each of the three language subtest scores, with

multivariate analysis findings with Wilk's lambda revealing significant group across time
interaction, F (4, 34) = 3.81, p = .01, partial 2 = .31.

Subsequent repeated measure ANOVA (Group x Time) analyses showed that

the Experimental group performed better than the Control group in terms of auditory
comprehension scores. Significant group across time interaction was found F (1, 37) =
7.77, p = .008, partial 2= .17, with similar results found in vocabulary (F (1, 37) = 6.77,
p = .01, partial 2= .16; and narrative scores, F (1, 37) = 6.55, p = .016, partial 2 = .15.

Generally speaking, the Experimental group showed improvement, while the Control

group showed either no improvement or some regression. The results remained

significant after a standard Bonferroni adjustment.

218

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

6.4.2. Metacognitive processing

There were four measures of participants oral language, namely prediction,

problem solving, questioning and theme identification; analysis was done to determine

whether these four measures were within the same construct. Exploratory factor analysis,

using a principle component method, extracted only one factor with an eigenvalue greater

than 1; the value was 2.99, explaining up to 74.77% of total variance. Table 6-7 shows

the component matrix with factor loadings.

Table 6-7.
Component Matrix of four Metacognitive Processing Subscales (N=40)
Method: Principle component analysis

Factor loadings

Prediction

.67

Problem solving

.82

Questioning

.81

Theme identification

.68

Thus, a single metacognitive processing score was computed with respect to

the sum of all four subscale scores. Scale reliability obtained a Cronbachs alpha of .89,

which was considered a good level of internal reliability (Cronbach, 1951; George &

219

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Mallery, 2003).

Table 6-8 shows the single metacognitive processing factor score after

evaluation of covariates (i.e. non-verbal intelligence). Repeated measure ANOVA (Group

x Time) results indicated significant group across time interaction between the
Experimental group and the Control group, F (1, 37) = 19.70, p < .001, partial 2 = .35.

Further analyses were conducted on each of the four metacognitive processing scores,

with multivariate analysis findings with Wilk's lambda suggesting significant group
across time interaction, F (4, 34) = 3.81, p = .01, partial 2 = .31.

Table 6-8.
Means and Standard Deviations of Metacognitive Processing Scores
Variables

Experimental (n = 21)
Pre-test

Post-test

Control (n = 19)
Pre-test

Post-test

SD

SD

SD

SD

12.76

2.70

19.90

5.19

12.16

2.34

12.79

3.05

Subscale scores
Prediction *

3.08

.20

4.95

.32

3.23

.21

3.80

.33

Problem solving **

3.22

.24

5.37

.28

3.23

.26

3.60

.30

Questioning **

3.28

.27

5.39

.31

3.01

.28

2.12

.33

Theme identification * 2.95


*p<.05, **p<.01; ***p<.001

.20

3.92

.29

2.95

.20

2.72

.30

Factor score
Metacognitive
processing ***

220

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Subsequent repeated measure ANOVA (Group x Time) analyses showed that

the Experimental group performed better than the Control group in terms of prediction,
with significant group across time interaction found, F (1, 37) = 6.52, p = .02, partial 2
= .15. Similar results were also found in problem solving F (1, 37) = 9.55, p = .004,
partial 2 = .21; questioning, F (1, 37) = 10.89, p = .002, partial 2 = .23 and theme
identification, F (1, 37) = 5.01, p = .03, partial 2 = .12. This suggested that the

performance of students under different instruction was moving in a different direction

across the instructional period. Generally speaking, the Experimental group showed

improvement, while the Control group showed either no improvement or remained stable.
However, the potential of alpha inflation could not be ruled out due to a number of

statistical tests carried out.

6.4.3. Text comprehension

There were three measures of participants text comprehension, namely the

forced choice inferential questions, narrative text recall and expository text recall.

221

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Analysis was conducted to determine whether these three tests were measuring the same

construct. Exploratory factor analysis using principle component method extracted only

one factor with an eigenvalue greater than 1. The value was 1.69, explaining up to

56.39% of total variance. Table 6-9 shows the component matrix and the respective

component score coefficient matrix.

Table 6-9.
Component Matrices and Component Score Coefficient Matrices on Oral Language and
Text Comprehension Construct ( N = 40)
Method:
Principle component analysis

Factor loading

Component score coefficient

Forced-choice inferential questions

.26

.15

Recall narrative text

.90

.53

Recall expository text

.90

.53

Text comprehension

However, the factor loading of the forced choice inferential questions was far

below from the other two recall tasks. In order to maintain the construct validity, the

forced choice inferential question score was excluded from the text comprehension factor

score. In other words, the text comprehension factor score comprised of the sum score of

two recall task. Scale reliability obtained a Cronbach alpha of .60, which was considered

222

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

marginally acceptable in terms of internal reliability (Cronbach, 1951; George & Mallery,

2003).

Table 6-10 shows a comparison of the factor score and subscale scores

between groups. In terms of the single text comprehension factor score, after evaluating

the covariates (i.e. non-verbal intelligence), repeated measure ANOVA (Group x Time)

results indicated significant group across time interaction between the Experimental
group and the Control group, F (1, 37) = 13.353, p = .001, partial 2 = .27. Further

analyses were conducted on each of the three text comprehension scores. Multivariate
analysis findings suggested there was significant group across time interaction, F (2, 36)
= 5.45, p = .01, partial 2 = .23.

Table 6-10.
Means and Standard Deviations of Text Comprehension Scores
Variables

Experimental (n = 21)
Pre-test

Post-test

Control (n = 19)
Pre-test

Post-test

SD

SD

SD

SD

2.93

1.22

5.45

1.91

3.77

1.35

4.13

1.60

1.57

.15

2.95

.21

1.80

.16

2.21

.22

Recall expository**
1.36
*p<.05, **p<.01; ***p<.001

.13

2.50

.23

1.97

.14

1.92

.25

Factor score
Text comprehension**
Subscale scores
Recall narrative**

223

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Subsequent repeated measure ANOVA (Group x Time) analyses showed that

the Experimental group performed better than the Control group in two recall scores, with
significant group across time interactions found for both narrative text, F (1, 37) = 8.57, p
= .006, partial 2 = .19; and expository text, F (1, 37) = 9.73, p = .004, partial 2 = .21.

This suggested that the performance of participants under different instruction was

moving in a different direction during the instructional period. Generally speaking, the

Experimental group tended to improve, while the Control group showed either little

improvement or remained flat.

6.4.4. Character decoding

Table 6-11 revisits the mean and standard deviations of the factor scores for

oral language, character decoding and text comprehension scores between the

Experimental group and the Control group after adding non-verbal intelligence as a

covariate.

The pattern of the character decoding scores was different from the other

scores. There was significant group across time interaction on oral language,
224

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

metacognitive processing and text comprehension. The Experimental group tended to

improve, while the Control group either showed no improvement or regressed.

Nonetheless, in terms of character decoding skills, neither significant interaction nor

main effect was found.

Table 6-11.
Means and Standard Deviations of Factor Scores for Language, Character decoding,
Metacognitive Processing and Text Comprehension Scores
Variables

Experimental (n=21)
Pre-test

Control (n=19)

Post-test

Pre-test

Post-test

SD

SD

SD

SD

Oral Language ***

-.19

.94

.32

.91

.26

1.01

-.36

1.00

Character decoding

-.43

1.33

.76

.96

-.61

1.18

.76

.94

12.76

2.70

19.90

5.19

12.16

2.34

12.79

3.05

Text comprehension ** 2.93


*p<.05, **p<.01; ***p<.001

1.22

5.45

1.91

3.77

1.35

4.13

1.60

Metacognitive
processing ***

6.4.5. Beliefs about reading

Participants beliefs about reading were obtained from students responses to

seven questions. Further analysis was done to determine whether these seven questions

were measuring the same construct; exploratory factor analysis using principal

225

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

component method extracted only one factor with an eigenvalue greater than 1. That

value was 2.21, accounting for up to 36.79% of total variance; Table 6-12 shows the

component matrix. A single subscale score for students beliefs about reading was

computed with respect to the sum score of these seven interview questions.

Table 6-12.
Component Matrix of Seven Interview Questions (N=40)
Method: Principle component analysis

Factor loadings

What is reading? (Q1)

.63

What is the goal of reading? (Q2)

.56

What should I do to become a skillful reader? (Q3)

.79

What is the main difficulty encountered during


reading? (Q4)

.65

Do you enjoy reading? Why? (Q5)


What will you do when you are reading? (Q6)
Do you think you are a skillful reader? Why? (Q7)

.40
.56
.42

Table 6-13 shows mean and standard deviations for the subscale scores for

beliefs about reading between the Experimental group and the Control group. Repeated

measure ANOVA (Group x Time) was performed after controlling for non-verbal

intelligence. There was significant group across time interaction on their beliefs about
reading, F (1,37) = 25.14, p < .001, partial 2 = .41. The Experimental group members

226

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

increased their beliefs about reading. On the other hand, the Control group showed

modest deterioration, but the degree was insignificant.

Table 6-13.
Means and Standard Deviations of Beliefs about Reading Scores
Groups

Experimental (n=21)

Subscale scores

Pre-test

Control (n=19)

Post-test

Pre-test

Post-test

SD

SD

SD

SD

11.38

2.76

15.29

2.90

11.05

2.20

10.74

1.73

Q1. What is reading?

1.29

.56

2.05

.87

1.16

.38

1.16

.38

Q2. What is the goal of reading?

1.67

.58

2.29

.46

1.74

.65

1.63

.68

Q3. What should I do to become


a skillful reader?

1.48

.81

2.48

.87

1.16

.38

1.21

.42

Q4. What is the main difficulty


encountered during reading?

1.71

.72

1.86

.57

1.47

.51

1.47

.51

Q5. Do you enjoy reading?


Why?

2.43

.93

2.38

.81

2.68

.95

2.53

.91

Q6 What will you do when you


are reading?

1.33

.58

2.57

.87

1.11

.32

1.37

.60

Q7. Do you think you are a


skillful reader? Why?

1.48

.51

1.74

.81

1.67

.86

1.37

.68

Factor score
Beliefs about reading***

Descriptive scores

*p<.05, **p<.01, ***p<.001

Figures 6-1 and 6-2 illustrate the distribution of responses obtained from the
interviews. When asked Questions 1 (What is reading?) and 2 (What is the goal of
reading?) in the pre-test, more than 80% and 40% of participants, respectively, offered

responses that were purely behavioral or physical. Participants in the Experimental group

understood beliefs about reading more deeply following the instruction program, with
227

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

only 33.3% offering behavioral or physical responses to Question 1 and 0% to Question 2

in post-test interviews.

PRE- TEST
RATI NG

20

POS T- TEST
RATI NG

20

1
15

2
3

10

Count

Count

15

2
3

10

0
COGNI TI VE

CONVENTI ONAL

COGNI TI VE

GROUP

CONVENTI ONAL

GROUP

Note. 1 = Focus on behavior factor; 2 = Focus on simple learning outcome, 3 = Focus on learning process
and simple learning outcome, 4 = Focus on both learning outcome and learning process and illustrated
some reading process (No participant attained rating of 4 in both pre-test and post-test)

Figure 6-1. Distribution of Rating for Interview Question 1 (What is reading?)

PRE- TEST
RATI NG

20

POS T- TEST
RATI NG

15

2
3

10

10

Count

Count

15

COGNI TI VE

CONVENTI ONAL

COGNI TI VE

GROUP

CONVENTI ONAL

GROUP

Note. 1 = Unelaborated response / task completion; 2 = Focus on aspects of literacy, learn more vocabulary,
information acquisition and understanding the text, 3 = Focus on aspects of literacy and future use; 4 =
Focused on regarding literacy as a mean of problem solving (No participant attained rating of 4 in both
pre-test and post-test)

Figure 6-2. Distribution of Rating for Interview Question 2 (What is the goal of
reading?)

Figures 6-3 and 6-4 illustrate the distribution of responses to Questions 3


228

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

(What should I do to become a skillful reader?) and 6 (What will you do when you are
reading?). These two questions addressed how to read more effectively; in the pre-test,
nearly 80% (78% for Q3 and 80.5% for Q6) of participants responded I dont know or

identified a purely behavioral aspect of change (e.g. watch more, look more closely, etc).

After the instruction, more than 80% of Experimental group participants could identify at

least one simple reading strategy.

PRE- TEST
RATI NG

20

POS T- TEST
RATI NG

15

2
3

10

10

Count

Count

15

4
5

COGNI TI VE

CONVENTI ONAL

COGNI TI VE

GROUP

CONVENTI ONAL

GROUP

Note. 1 = Unelaborated response / Focus on behavior factor; 2 = Focus on aspects of literacy, word level
difficulties and understanding of text; 3 = Focus on using simple reading strategies; 4 = Focus on using
more than one reading strategies with explanation of the process

Figure 6-3. Distribution of Rating for Interview Question 3 (What should I do to become
a skillful reader?)

229

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

PRE- TEST
RATI NG

20

POS T- TEST
RATI NG

20

1
15

2
3

10

Count

Count

15

2
3

10

0
COGNI TI VE

CONVENTI ONAL

COGNI TI VE

GROUP

CONVENTI ONAL

GROUP

Note. 1 = Unelaborated response / Focus on behavior factor; 2 = Focus on aspects of literacy, word level
difficulties and understanding of text; 3 = Focus on story grammar or reading strategies but cannot list out
more than half of all element; 4 = Focus on story grammar or reading strategies but can list out more than
half of element

Figure 6-4. Distribution of ratings for interview Question 6 (What will you do when you
are reading?)

Figures 6-5 and 6-6 show the distribution of ratings for two interview questions,
Question 5 (Do you enjoy reading? Why?) and Question 7 (Do you think you are a
skillful reader?). About half of the participants considered themselves unskillful readers,

pre-test, while only 12% believed they were skillful. Following the instruction period,

23.8% of Experimental group participants felt they were skillful, while 70% of the

Control group maintained they were not skilful at all.

230

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI


PRE- TEST
RATI NG

20

POS T- TEST
RATI NG

20

1
15

2
3

10

Count

Count

15

2
3

10

0
COGNI TI VE

CONVENTI ONAL

COGNI TI VE

GROUP

CONVENTI ONAL

GROUP

Note. 1 = Negative response; 2 = Neutral response; 3 = Positive response without explanation related to
literacy; 4 = Positive response with explanation related to literacy

Figure 6-5. Distribution of Rating for Interview Question 5 (Do you enjoy reading?
Why?)

PRE- TEST
RATI NG

20

POS T- TEST
RATI NG

20

1
15

2
3

10

Count

Count

15

2
3

10

0
COGNI TI VE

CONVENTI ONAL

COGNI TI VE

GROUP

CONVENTI ONAL

GROUP

Note. 1 = Negative response; 2 = Neutral response; 3 = Positive response without explanation related to
literacy; 4 = Positive response with explanation related to literacy (No participant attained rating of 4 in
both pre-test and post-test)

Figure 6-6. Distribution of Ratings for Interview Question 7 (Do you think you are a
skillful reader?)

6.5. Relationship between Processing and Outcome


6.5.1. Correlation analyses

Table 6-14 shows the overall partial correlation matrix for all variables being
231

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

measured, while controlling for participants sex and non-verbal intelligence, at the

post-test phase; pre-test figures can be found in Study One and are not replicated here.

However, there were 11 variables in the correlation matrix, which made the findings hard

to interpret. The sample size was also too small to perform subsequent regression

analyzes. To examine the relationship among these variables in a more coherent way, the

following analyses employed factor scores.

The next 2 subsections (Section 6.5.1 and 6.5.2) start with illustrations of

correlation and regression results between 1) oral language, 2) character decoding and 3)

metacognitive processing and the outcome of text comprehension in different groups

after instruction. It is followed by an examination of the influence of beliefs about

reading on reading outcomes after different instruction, at Section 6.5.3.

232

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Table 6-14.
Partial Correlation Matrix of all Variable Measured at Post-test Phase
Oral language

Auditory comprehension
Vocabulary
Narrative
Character decoding

Character
decoding

Metacognitive processing

Text comprehension

Vocabulary

Narrative

Character
decoding

Prediction

Problem
solving

Questioning

Theme
identification

Forced-choice
question

Recall
narrative

Recall
expository

.38 *

.35 *

.02

.51 **

.32 *

.44 **

.49 **

.30

.48 **

.41 **

.26

.23

.36 *

.25

.16

.19

.32

.40 *

.33 *

.16

.41 *

.36 *

.34 *

.23

.46 **

.28

.31

-.08

-.21

-.20

-.10

.54 **

.17

-.20

.68 **

.62 **

.54 **

.05

.64 **

.63 **

.76 **

.61**

.00

.58 **

.70 **

.66 **

.05

.68 **

.58 **

.15

.56 **

.56 **

.03

.00

Prediction
Problem solving
Questioning
Theme identification
Forced-choice question

.63 **

Recall narrative

*p<.05, **p<.01, ***p<.001


Note. Participants sex and non-verbal intelligence were partial out

233

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

1. Experimental group Table 6-15 shows the correlation matrix for the

Experimental group after instruction. Text comprehension was significantly correlated to

oral language skills, r (17) = .55, p = .02; and metacognitive processing, r (17) = .91, p

< .001; oral language and metacognitive processing also showed significant correlation, r

(17) = .60, p = .01.

Table 6-15.
Partial Correlation Matrix at Post-test Phase after Controlling sex and Non-verbal
Intelligence (Experimental group, n = 21)
Variables

Character decoding Metacognitive


processing

Text comprehension

Oral language

.30

.60**

.55*

-.05

-.14

Character decoding
Metacognitive processing

.91***

*p<.05, **p<.01; ***p<.001


Note. Participants sex and non-verbal intelligence were partial out

2. Control group Table 6-16 shows another correlation matrix for the Control

group, after instruction. The matrix was similar to the pre-test mentioned in Study One. A

significant but marginal correlation existed between participants text comprehension and
their metacognitive processing, r (16) = .48, p = .05.

- 234 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Table 6-16.
Partial Correlation Matrix at Post-test Phase after Controlling sex and Non-verbal
Intelligence (Control group, n = 19)
Variables

Character decoding Metacognitive


processing

Text comprehension

Oral language

.30

.33

.45

.04

.18

Character decoding
Metacognitive processing

.48*

*p<.05, **p<.01; ***p<.001


Note. Participants sex and non-verbal intelligence were partial out

6.5.2 Regression analyses


1. Experimental group Table 6-17 shows a general regression model in which

the predictor of childrens text comprehension was metacognitive processing. Sex and

non-verbal intelligence were not significant factors in predicting text comprehension.

Table 6-17.
General Regression Model on Text Comprehension Score at the Post-test phase
(Experimental group, n = 21)
Variables

Metacognitive processing ***

.32

.88

6.53

.000

Character decoding

-.25

-.13

-.95

.36

Language

.13

.06

.37

.72

Non-verbal intelligence

-.03

-.17

-1.36

.20

Sex
*p<.05, **p<.01; ***p<.001

-2.15 -.25

-2.10

.06

- 235 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

A subsequent hierarchical multiple regression analysis was conducted on

predictors of childrens text comprehension, within a conceptually guided framework

controlled for the variables of sex and non-verbal intelligence. These two variable were

entered first, after which the variables of character decoding, oral language and

metacognitive processing entered one by one. Table 6-18 shows the multiple regression

result.

Table 6-18.
Hierarchical multiple regression of text comprehension scores at the post-test phase
(Experimental group, n = 21)
R2

Model

R2 Change
value

1.

Sex and Non-verbal IQ

.10

.10

.97

.40

2.

Character decoding

.12

.02

.33

.57

3.

Language **

.44

.32

9.25

.008

.85

.42

45.62

.000

4. Metacognitive processing ***


*p<.05, **p<.01; ***p<.001

The table shows that non-verbal intelligence and sex were not significant

predictors of text comprehension (Table 6-18). When the variable of character decoding
was added, a multiple R square of .12 was obtained, explaining an additional 2% of

- 236 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

variance. When the variable of language was added, a multiple R square of .44 was

obtained, explaining an additional 32% of variance. Finally, when metacognitive


processing was added, a multiple R of .85 was obtained, explaining an additional 42% of

variance. The findings suggested that language and metacognitive processing were

significant contributors of childrens text comprehension after experimental instruction.

2. Control group Table 6-19 shows a general regression model. Participants

text comprehension was marginally significant and could be predicted by metacognitive

processing. Sex and non-verbal intelligence played non-significant roles in predicting text

comprehension.

Table 6-19.
General Regression Model for Text Comprehension Scores at the Post-test Phase
(Control group, N = 19)
Variables

Metacognitive processing *

.26

.50

2.13

.05

Character decoding

.14

.09

.37

.72

Language

.44

.28

1.10

.29

Non-verbal intelligence

-.02

-.15

-.67

.59

Sex
*p<.05, **p<.01; ***p<.001

.18

.06

.25

.81

- 237 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

A subsequent hierarchical multiple regression analysis was conducted, within a

conceptually guided framework controlled for the variables of sex and non-verbal

intelligence, to identify predictors of students text comprehension. These two variables

were entered first, after which the variables of character decoding, oral language and

metacognitive processing were entered one by one. Table 6-20 shows the multiple

regression result.

Table 6-20.
Hierarchical Multiple Regression on Text Comprehension Score at Post-test Phase
(Control group, n = 19)
R2

Model

R2 Change
value

1.

Sex and Non-verbal IQ

.06

.06

.48

.63

2.

Character decoding

.09

.03

.51

.49

3.

Language

.25

.16

2.96

.11

.44

.20

4.54

.05

4. Metacognitive processing *
*p<.05, **p<.01; ***p<.001

The multiple regression results show that non-verbal intelligence and sex were

not significant predictors of text comprehension. When character decoding was added, a
multiple R square of .09 was obtained, explaining an additional 3% of variance. When
language was added, a multiple R square of .25 was obtained, explaining an additional

- 238 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

16% of variance. Finally, when metacognitive processing was added, a multiple R square

of .44 was obtained, explaining an additional 20% of variance. The findings suggested

that metacognitive processing was the only significant contributor to childrens text

comprehension. However, the role of metacognitive processing was found to be the

modest when compared to the Experimental group.

6.5.3. Correlation between processing, outcome and beliefs about reading

Table 6-13 has already described the change in terms of beliefs about reading

during the instruction period. There was significant time across group interaction. The

Experimental group performed better. To understand the possible relations between the

development of beliefs about reading and processing and outcome, correlation analysis

was performed. Table 6-21 shows the correlation matrix.

- 239 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Table 6-21.
Partial Correlation Matrices of Beliefs about Reading at Post-test Phase
Beliefs about reading
Experimental ( n= 21)

Control (n = 19)

Oral language

.60**

.31

Metacognitive
processing

.77***

.13

Text comprehension

.76***

.48

Character decoding
.02
*p<.05, **p<.01; ***p<.001
Note. Participants sex and non-verbal intelligence were partial out

.30

In the Experimental group, participants beliefs about reading were strongly


and significantly correlated with their language skills, r (18) = .60, p = .006,
metacognitive processing skills, r (18) = .77, p = <.001, learning outcome and text
comprehension score r (18) = .76, p = <.001, but had virtually no correlation with
character decoding r (18) = .02, p = .93. In the Control group, however, beliefs about

reading did not significantly correlated with any processing or outcome at all.

The findings suggested that, after the instruction, improved beliefs about

reading among children in the Experimental group drove the development of their

language, metacognitive processing and text comprehension.

- 240 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

6.6. Ecological Validity

In this study, instruction was carried out after formal school lessons. In order to

determine whether it were possible to transfer the learning outcomes into the daily

classroom environment, a teacher questionnaire was conducted. Table 6-22 shows the

students classroom learning engagement, as revealed through a 20-item teacher-rated

questionnaire. The Cronbach alphas were .78 for the pre-test phase and .76 for the

post-test, which were considered acceptable levels of internal consistency (Cronbach,

1951; George & Mallery, 2003).

In terms of academic literacy, the Experimental group showed gains in being

able to express new information in their own words (Item 2), and improvement in

remembering the details of what they had read (Item 3). They could also take notes

during or after reading (Item 6) and could read simple sentences aloud (Item 13). In terms

of classroom communication, they also acquired an adequate spoken vocabulary (Item 10)

and expressed information more quickly than before (Item 12). In terms of learning

motivation, they were showing more interest in reading (Item 1). Most of these were

related to strategies involved in cognitive reading strategies instruction.


- 241 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Table 6-22.
Teachers Rating across Time for Childrens Classroom Engagement
Gain Scores (Posttest-Pretest)
Experimental (n=21)

Control (n=19)

SD

SD

S/he shows interest in reading for pleasure

.67

1.15

.39

1.25

S/he is able to put new information into his/her own


words

.90

1.14

.38

1.04

S/he is able to remember the details of what was read

.67

1.15

1.11

1.18

S/he can understand text questions

.57

1.08

.89

1.18

S/he (does not) avoid reading text or technical


material #

-.62

1.69

-.17

1.79

S/he can take notes during or after reading

.81

.93

1.17

1.20

S/he (does not) show problems following written


directions #

.14

1.28

.28

1.74

S/he (does not) takes too long to read and understand


#

-.33

1.24

.61

1.97

S/he is able to organize his/her thoughts

.48

1.17

.72

1.36

.86

.91

.44

1.04

-.05

1.24

.11

1.60

12 S/he expresses information as quickly as his/her peers

.76

1.18

.11

.90

13 S/he can read aloud simple sentences from the text

1.00

1.14

.56

.86

-.38

1.20

1.00

1.33

-3.19

1.20

.28

1.23

.33

1.24

-.11

1.32

17 S/he (does not) always read the word wrong #

.04

1.12

.17

.86

18 S/he enjoys learning in the classroom

.19

1.36

.33

1.46

19 S/he (does not have) a poor self image or feel that

-.24

1.30

-.67

1.37

20 S/he (does not) always avoids the learning tasks #


.14
1.49
# Negatively-keyed items, reverse-scored before computing

-.61

1.20

10 S/he has adequate spoken vocabulary compared to


his/her peers

11 S/he is(not) finds it hard to stay focused when reading


aloud #

book

14 S/he (can) discover mistakes after completing the


written assignment #

15 S/he (does not) produce more pauses due to words

s/he cannot read while reading than do his/her peers


#

16 S/he (does not) show more particularly severe literacy


problem than other aspects #

s/he is stupid #

- 242 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

On the other hand, the Control group showed improvement in remembering

the details of what they had read (item 3) and in taking notes during or after reading (Item

6), as did the cognitive group. Teachers also acknowledged the students improved ability

to discover their mistakes after completing written assignments (Item 14). They takes less

time to read and understand (Item 8). However, minimal deterioration was found at Item

20, avoiding learning tasks.

The results showed that participants in the Experimental group showed positive

changes, not only during the experiment, but also within the classroom environment.

Although statistical differences have yet to be confirmed at this stage, experimental

instruction might drive change in the classroom if the instruction were carried out over

the long run or put into classroom curricula.

6.7. Chapter Summary

The empirical results reported in this chapter have shown that SLI participants

who received cognitive reading strategies instruction showed more significant

improvement in their verbal language, metacognitive processing and text comprehension


- 243 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

than did their peers who received conventional teaching of the same duration. The

Experimental group significantly outperformed the control group in terms of their beliefs

about reading.

On the other hand, both groups experienced significant positive changes in

character decoding. The Experimental group, which, unlike the Control group, did not

focus on lexicon development, suffered no negative effects related to character decoding;

on the contrary, they showed steady improvement.

The regression and correlation analysis results agreed with the conclusions
drawn in Study One those children with SLI displayed under-developed metacognitive

processing skills before receiving strategic reading instruction. After instruction, there

was a dramatic change in metacognitive processing that, in turn, drove change in text

comprehension. The results also show that facilitation of beliefs about reading due to

proper cognitive reading strategies instruction facilitates improved text comprehension

among children with SLI.

Ecological validity was established through teacher questionnaires. Children

with SLI have always had literacy difficulties and been at significant risk of academic
- 244 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

failure. This study has shown that cognitive reading strategies instruction engages

children with SLI in classroom learning, and affects them positively in terms of academic

engagement, communication and learning attitude, according to their classroom teachers.

Participants who underwent a 15-week cognitive reading strategies instruction

program showed significant time across group interaction on metacognitive processing,

oral language skills and text comprehension. Similar result also suggested that

experimental instruction enhanced beliefs about reading and, in turn, further refined their

oral language and text comprehension skills. While the instruction yielded no significant

interaction in students character decoding, the overall trend was positive.

- 245 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Chapter 7
Discussion
7.1. Overview

This chapter discusses the results of the studies (Study One and Study Two), as

well as their significance and implications. It opens, in Section 7.2, with a summary of

the key findings. Section 7.3 starts with an interpretation of theoretical and conceptual

explanations for the findings, including the significance of metacognitive processing

among children with SLI. Section 7.4 then discusses how cognitive reading strategies

instruction can help those children to facilitate their metacognitive processing and thus

improve their text comprehension. Section 7.5 explores the studies potential significance

and contribution to the field of reading research. Section 7.6 revisits the reading model

described in Chapter 2 and serves as an intermediate summary of the above sections. The

chapter ends with a discussion of the studies possible limitations, and directions of

further research (Section 7.7).

- 246 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

7.2. Summary of Findings

This study has taken a constructivist perspective. Its primarily goal has been to

examine the patterns of cognitive and language processing in children with SLI and how

they relate to their text comprehension. Two studies were carried out: the findings are

examined here to address the first key research question and a set of sub-questions:
Key Question:

What are the patterns of cognitive and language processing of children with

SLI and how are they related to their text comprehension?


Sub-questions:

1a) Are there any difference between children with SLI and their normally

developing

peers

in

language

processing,

character

decoding,

and

metacognitive processing?

1b) Are there any difference between children with SLI and their normally

developing peers in text comprehension?

1c) What is the relationship between text comprehension and metacognitive

processing, character decoding and language processing among children for


- 247 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

SLI and those with typical development?

73 second- and third-grade children from two local primary schools

participated in the study. 42 of these had been diagnosed with SLI, while the others were

typically developing children. The participants were asked to complete a series of

assessments of their oral language, character decoding and text comprehension. In

addition, an adapted think aloud protocol was introduced to them; in other words, they

were asked to verbalize or to respond aloud to prompts in order to probe into their

strategies during text processing. Their responses were recorded and transcribed, after

which a metacognitive processing scale was developed. It was predicted that children

with SLI would perform more poorly than children with typical development with

metacognitive processing, in addition to poor oral language, character decoding and text

comprehension.

Four kinds of metacognitive processing were identified: prediction, problem

solving, questioning, and theme identification. Protocol analyses indicated that, in terms

of each kind of metacognitive processing, the responses could be classified at four

different levels ranging from fragmented and superficial responses (Level 1) to responses
- 248 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

with full and clear elaboration (Level 4). Children with SLI tended to produce responses

with simple, unelaborated and isolated ideas, which was assigned at the lowest level. This

was well supported by quantitative analyses using scale reliability and the empirical

results from factor analysis and construct validation.

There were correlations among measures of metacognitive processing, oral

communication and text comprehension, for the entire sample. As predicted, the

metacognitive processing of children with SLI, as well as their oral language and

character decoding skills, were found to be associated with their text comprehension.

Hierarchical multiple regression analyses showed that metacognitive processing, oral

language, and character decoding skills predicted text comprehension among the entire

sample and the SLI group. Metacognitive processing was significantly correlated with

text comprehension for the entire sample, including the SLI group.

Study One showed the inter-group differences between children with typical

development and those with SLI. As hypothesized, children with SLI showed poor

language and poor character decoding skills when comparing with their normally

performing peers. Children with SLIs character decoding, auditory comprehension,


- 249 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

vocabulary inventory and narrative skills all differed from those of their peers. Further

MANOVA results suggested that there was a difference in terms of metacognitive

processing strategies, after controlling for language skills as the covariate. Subsequent

analyses showed that, in comparison, children with SLI scored significantly poorer in

their metacognitive processing of prediction and theme identification.

The second research question asked whether cognitive strategy instruction

could

foster

childrens

metacognitive

processing,

character

decoding,

oral

communication, and text comprehension. The studys findings were examined to address

the second key research question and a set of sub-questions.


Key Question:

Does cognitive reading instruction program improve text comprehension of

children with SLI and what are the effects of cognitive reading strategies on

children with SLI?


Sub-questions:

2a) After instruction, do children in the experimental group out-perform their

control group peers in processes of i) character decoding, ii) oral


- 250 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

communication and iii) metacognitive processing?

2b) Do children in the experimental group improve on beliefs about reading?

2c) Do children in the experimental group improve on text comprehension,

including i) answering inferential questions, ii) recalling narrative text and iii)

recalling expository text?

2d) What are the prediction of metacognitive processing, oral language,

character decoding on text comprehension for experimental group and the

control group after instruction.

2e) Do children in the experimental group improve more than control group in

terms of classroom engagement?

To address the above research questions, Study Two was implemented,

consisting of experimental cognitive reading strategies instruction and control

conventional instruction over a fixed period. Children with SLI were randomly assigned

to two groups. Tests of their language ability, character decoding skills, metacognitive

processing, text comprehension and their metacognitive concepts were administered

before and after the instruction period. Results showed that children in the experimental
- 251 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

instruction group outperformed the control group on oral language and metacognitive

processing strategies, and that their text comprehension outperformed the control after

controlling for sex and non-verbal intelligence. Their character decoding, which was not

targeted in the experimental group, also showed improvement, as did their peers.

Children in the experimental group also performed better than the control group in terms

of their beliefs about reading; it was also found that childrens beliefs about reading were

correlated with childrens metacognitive processing, oral communication and text

comprehension in the experimental group. Further regression analyses indicated that

childrens metacognitive processing strategies predicted changes in text comprehension

in the experimental group, whereas, in the control group, the change was relatively mildly

predicted by metacognitive processing and language.

Questionnaires were administered to further establish the ecological validity of

the pull-out instruction and its transferability to daily classroom learning. Though no

statistical differences were found between the experimental group and the control group,

the experimental group showed tended to show improved classroom engagement, such as

putting new information into their own words, taking notes during or after reading and
- 252 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

being able to read simple sentences aloud. In addition, they showed improved ability in

classroom communication, acquiring an adequate spoken vocabulary during lessons and

expressing information more quickly than before. Teachers also reported that children

from the experimental group showed more interest in reading.

7.3. Metacognitive Processing of Children with SLI

This section discusses the findings of Study One. Metacognitive processing

was found to be one of the key constructs influencing elementary childrens text

comprehension. Children with SLI obtained lower scores than those under normal

development across oral language, character decoding, metacognitive processing and text

comprehension. Correlation and regression results suggested that text comprehension was

influenced by character decoding skills, oral language skills and deep metacognitive

processing, highlighting that childrens text comprehension proficiency was not only

related to their character decoding skills and oral language skills alone, but was also

highly related to childrens metacognitive processing.

- 253 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

7.3.1 The nature of metacognitive processing

As discussed in Chapter Two, deep metacognitive processing played a critical

role in text comprehension. While substantial research has been conducted among

normally achieving and children with reading difficulties in the West, and some research

is now emerging in a Chinese context, few works have examined metacognitive

processing among children with SLI. Children with SLI, by definition, have language

difficulties, so asking them to verbalize texts seems to pose additional difficulties. This

study, however, based on theoretical underpinning, investigated their deep metacognitive

processing while reading pieces of text. It found that it was possible and necessary to

examine SLI childrens cognitive processing strategies. As discussed in Chapter Three,

using an adapted think-aloud approach, children were asked to verbalize or to respond to

prompts in order to probe into their strategies during text processing.

Another key issue was the nature of metacognitive processing. When children

applied specific strategies during text processing, it was important to know what kinds of

metacognitive processing strategies were being activated to help their understanding of

the meaning of the text. The results indicated that four kinds of deep, metacognitive
- 254 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

processing strategies could be identified among children with SLI: 1) Prediction; 2)

Problem solving; 3) Self-questioning; and 4) Theme identification. These strategies were

modified, but similar to those that have been examined in the literature; for example,

Pressley and Afflerbach (1995) proposed the strategies of prediction and questioning,

while Wilder and Williams (2001) examined the strategy of theme identification for

children with moderate or severe intellectual disabilities. In particular, these strategies are
also similar to those identified in the Chinese context; for example, Law et al. (2008)

examined how children related prior knowledge for problem solving, as well as

self-questioning from text information. Lau (2006b) also investigated four kinds of

strategies, including 1) general strategic rules, 2) fix up strategies and two others focused

on strategies specific on narrative or expository text structure. It was noted that

metacognitively competent readers performed better in these four kinds of metacognitive

processing (Pressley & Gaskins, 2006).

Methodologically, the thesis employed a cognitive approach to broaden the


usual practice of questionnaire and standardized instruments (Chan et al, 1997; Chi,

1997). Such an approach describes the levels of childrens increasingly complex


- 255 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

understanding of a subject from pre-structural to extended abstract, and is widely

recognized as a means of examining the constructive activity involved in learning from


text among normally achieving children (Chan & Sachs, 2001; Chan, et al, 1992; Law,

2008). It also stresses the taxonomy applicable to a wide range of learning subject (Biggs

& Tang, 2007). Children with SLI, as with regularly developing children and those

suffering from learning disabilities, showed differences in the use of metacognitive

strategies. The contribution is that childrens metacognitive processing can vary at

different levels, and these levels can be potential criteria for diagnosing childrens

difficulties and establishing guidelines for instruction. While the scheme was developed

qualitatively, quantitative analyses also supported its reliability and validity.

Another notion is that this study successfully employed methods to probe

childrens metacognitive processing. it is commonly believed that children with SLI are

not able to think aloud, due to the nature of their verbal deficit. The think-aloud approach

has been widely used by cognitive researchers to encourage subjects to relate their

thoughts without interruption or suggestive prompts (Pressley & Afflerbach, 1995). This

study adapted the work of Wilder and Williams (2001) and modified the original-think
- 256 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

aloud protocol to suit children with moderate to severe intellectual disabilities. As

discussed in Chapter Three, instead of just being asked to think aloud on their own,

children were asked to verbalize or to respond through prompts designed to probe into

their strategies. Ho (2004) used very similar procedures when studying Hong Kong

Chinese elementary grade children with learning disabilities.

7.3.2. Metacognitive processing between SLI and Regular children

Current findings agree with previous studies on children with SLI. For example,

children with SLI have been shown to have poor text comprehension (Bishop &
Snowling, 2004; Kelso et al., 2007; Snowling & Bishop, 2000; Snowling &

Hayiou-Thomas, 2006). However, in most studies SLI difficulties are examined from the

perspective of oral language difficulties and decoding. In addressing children with SLIs

difficulties in literacy, particular at elementary grades, this study aimed to examine other

possible variables.

Results from Study 1 indicated that children with SLI showed poor

metacognitive processing when compared to their normally achieving peers. Since the
- 257 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

measurement of childrens metacognitive processing strategies relied on childrens oral

productivity, their language scores were added as further controlled variables in the

analyses. Even controlling for language factors, children with SLI still showed significant

disadvantages in terms of deep metacognitive processing. Subsequent analyses showed

that children with SLI performed particularly poorly in prediction and theme

identification.

As in other studies, children with SLI in this study were shown to have

difficulties in deep metacognitive processing similar to those observed among subjects


with literacy difficulties in the West (Klingner et al., 2004; Wilder & Williams, 2001).

Elementary children with low text comprehension achievement often presented less

strategic behavior during text processing (Dermitzaki, Andreou, & Paraskeva, 2008).

Wilder and Williams (2001) also found that children with intellectual deficits performed

as badly in terms of theme identification as children with SLI did. Large scale

meta-analyses of struggling readers research also revealed that poor readers showed less

use, or even an absence of reading strategies before explicit strategic instruction started
(Gajria & Salvia, 1992; Wanzek et al., 2007). Although not much work has targeted the
- 258 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

SLI population, Adam et al. (2009) presented another study in which children with

language impairment showed poor verbal inference and adopted surface processing when

processing verbal stimuli. The difference emerged as early as the preschool level
(Skarakis-Doyle et al., 2008). They argued that children with SLI could not relate to other

source of information in an efficient manner that allowed them to draw inferences or

assumptions. These studies support the findings that children with SLI show difficulties

in metacognitive processing.

In a Chinese context, it has been shown that Chinese SLI children exhibit
limited cognitive profiles (McBride-Chang et al., 2008). Though no published study has

been carried out to study their metacognitive processing in text comprehension, the works

of Lau and Chan (2003) and Lau (2006b) have provided some insight. Lau and Chan

(2003) conducted a study showing that poor readers used fewer reading strategies.

Subsequently, Lau (2006b) and Law (2008) conducted similar studies, using think aloud

protocols. Law (2008) found that skilled Grade 5 and Grade 6 Chinese readers employed

more metacognitive reading strategies in text understanding tasks than did less skilled

readers. The findings suggested Chinese poor readers problems lay in their failure to use
- 259 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

deep metacognitive processing. The current findings are consistent with previous works

in the West and in local contexts. Children with SLI displayed particularly poor

prediction and theme identification.

7.3.3. Relations of metacognitive processing with related measures

The role of deep metacognitive processing can be examined further in relation

to text comprehension and other measures. Results indicated that children with SLI in this

study scored significantly lower on oral language, character decoding and text

comprehension scores, after controlling for non-verbal intelligence and sex. Furthermore,

the findings also showed that, after controlling for non-verbal intelligence and sex,

metacognitive processing strategies were significantly correlated with childrens text

comprehension, as well as with oral language scores and character decoding. Regression

analyses indicated that oral language, character decoding and metacognitive processing

predicted text comprehension for the entire group.

In general, these findings showed that the relationship between character

decoding, language development, metacognitive processing and childrens text


- 260 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

comprehension was as had been predicted. Children with language problems showed not

only difficulties with linguistic lexicons, but also with metacognitive processing. They
could not process the deeper meanings from oral and text stimuli (Catts et al., 2005). It

suggested that the development of language skills, character decoding skills,

metacognitive processing and text comprehension were inter-related. Traditionally, it has

been well-recognized that character decoding was the main text comprehension problem

facing children with difficulties; oral language and character decoding were certainly

problematic areas for literacy of SLI. Results of these studies indicated that, not only did

children with SLI and their normally developing peers differ on these processes (and

including metacognitive processing), the general relationships also suggested the possible

role of metacognitive processing in text comprehension.

In summary, these findings suggests the role of metacognitive processing in

influencing childrens text comprehension. The findings draw our attention while

investigating their literacy difficulties; in addition to their oral language deficit and

character decoding scores, childrens metacognitive processing was another possible

factor to be examined. While these deep strategies were identified and examined for
- 261 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

group differences and regression, they were primarily based on correlation rather than

causal relations. The next important question was whether the strategies identified in

Study One can be taught to children with SLI and affect their text comprehension. A

cognitive strategy program was designed for Study Two; an instructional experiment that

was important both to test the theoretical constructs and to develop instruction to foster

metacognitive processing strategies and text comprehension among children with SLI.

7.4. Instructional Effect

This section moves the discussion from the findings of Study One to Study

Two. Study One identified that metacognitive processing, character decoding and oral

language deficit contributed to literacy difficulties among elementary grade children with

SLI. Study 1 also agreed with the literature that children with SLI lagged behind in text

comprehension, oral language, surface decoding and metacognitive processing. The next

step was to find ways to remediate these deficits. Past studies have documented the

effectiveness of cognitive instruction on teaching children with reading strategies, though

none have focused on Chinese children with SLI. Hence, in Study Two, an experiment
- 262 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

was carried out to investigate the application of cognitive reading strategies instruction on

Chinese children with SLI.

7.4.1. Improvement on reading and language

The results of Study 2 showed that cognitive strategy instruction had positive

effects on children with SLIs reading, character decoding, deep metacognitive

processing strategy and text comprehension, as well as the oral communication skills

needed for SLI, their beliefs about reading and their reading activities in ecological

classroom settings. To illustrate the instructional effect in detail, the discussion will be

presented in these areas: (1) reading outcomes (text comprehension); (2) metacognitive

strategies; (3) metacognitive beliefs (4) character decoding; (5) oral language and (6)

classroom setting.

1. Effects on text comprehension Reading outcomes included childrens

changes in terms of text comprehension scores and character decoding scores. Reading

processes included differences in childrens metacognitive processes and beliefs about


- 263 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

reading between before and after the instruction. Children receiving cognitive reading

strategies instruction performed significantly better that those received conventional

Chinese teaching. Subsequent analyses suggested children in the experimental group

outperformed their peers in recall tasks, regardless of different text structures.

The finding echoed the results of previous studies on elementary-grade


children and low achievers (Bakken et al., 1997; Boyle, 1996; Brand-Gruwel et al., 1998;
Graves, 1986; Lederer, 2000; Miranda et al., 1997; Rich & Blake, 1994; Simmonds, 1992;

Takala, 2006; Wilder & Williams, 2001; Wong & Jones, 1982), and agreed with reading

strategies studies conducted using higher-grade students in the Chinese context (Ho, 2004;

Lau & Chan, 2007). Reading strategies promoted the use of metacognitive processing
among children with SLI, despite their deficient cognitive profiles (McBride-Chang et al.,

2008). Children with SLI were disadvantaged in literacy, and had difficulties reading to

learn. However, conventional Chinese teaching focused more on character decoding than
on metacognitive processing and verbal language (Lau & Chan, 2007; Tse et al., 1995),

and might not have met the needs of these special children. Cognitive reading strategies

instruction targeting their metacognitive processing development could facilitate


- 264 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

improved text comprehension.

Changes in childrens text comprehension were measured using recall task.

Having children recall content from pieces of text was considered one of the most
powerful reading outcome measures. Pressley (2002) wrote, On completion a text, the

good reader sometimes rereads selectively, sometimes consciously construct a summary

of what was in the text, and sometimes reflects on the text. Sometimes she or he thinks

about how the information in the text might be used in the future. (p.15). Unlike

standardized text comprehension test batteries, the recall task tackled children word or

character decoding, as well as their deep understanding. Readers were required to

construct the main ideas of the reading stimuli and develop a proper understanding of the

text. Chan and Sachs (2001) and Law (2009) also asked children to recall the text in

Chinese context as their reading outcome measures.

In the experiment, children developed metacognitive processing through

cognitive reading strategies instruction (Trabasso & Bouchard, 2002). The instruction

focused on developing strategies on prediction, problem solving, questioning, and theme

identification. During their recall, children had to apply certain rules, such as
- 265 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

identification of topic sentences, deletion of redundancy, recognition of super-ordination,

etc.; peers with well-equipped metacognitive processing would help them to apply these

rules. The strategy of prediction encouraged children to construct meanings by activating

related prior knowledge. Theme identification could foster them to identify topic

sentences more easily. The strategies of problem solving and questioning alerted the

reader to recognize key terms and concepts.

Originally, the text comprehension measure included a forced choice

inferential comprehension task. However, the score was being excluded from analysis

due to exceptionally low factor loading yielded from factor analysis. A major criticism of

forced choice format has been that children simply learnt to give stock answers to

questions rather than asking them to self-construct their understanding (Trabasso &

Bouchard, 2002). Even a very poor reader might simply guess the correct answers. These

practices tended to over-estimate childrens reading proficiency and make the potential

group differences smaller.

2. Effects on metacognitive processing Current findings agreed with previous


- 266 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

studies (Rich & Blake, 1994; Takala, 2006). There were strong and significant time

across group interactions among four kinds of metacognitive processing. Children with

SLI under cognitive reading strategies instruction outperformed their peers under

conventional teaching in all four metacognitive processes. Before the instruction started,

children with SLI, unlike those under typical development, could not predict where the

story would go next based on the text; they simply restated text content or made simple

prediction without any justifying reason; after the instruction, children with SLI in the

experimental group improved significantly. Most of children could generate some

prediction from the text and some of them were able to give some explanation based on

world knowledge to justify their prediction. For example, when they encountered text

describing a girl who wanted a certain toy, they could predict that the girl would buy, or

ask her parents to buy the toy. The finding was consistent with the works of Englert and
Mariage (1991) and Brand-Gruwel et al. (1998) on disadvantaged elementary grade

children in a Western context.

Children with SLI scored the lowest at theme identification. Children under

typical development, even at the elementary grade level, could suggest at least a
- 267 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

reasonable theme after reading the whole story, such as what one should or should not do.

Theme identification is difficult for school children. After the instruction period, the

experimental group scored a marked increase, even with this rather difficult strategy. This

finding was consistent with the work of Wilder and Williams (2001) on upper grade

children with severe learning disabilities. At the pre-test phase, children with SLI just

restated the text itself rather than identifying problems based on the text information.

They seldom raised questions after reading the text, even when they were encouraged to

do so. After receiving instruction on cognitive reading strategies, the experimental group

progressed significantly, more so than did their peers who received conventional

instruction on problem solving and self-questioning. The time across group interactions

for this process were the strongest among all four metacognitive processes, implying that

the instruction effect on problem solving and self-questioning was the greatest.

The present findings agreed with previous studies, which documented that poor

readers, even at the elementary grade level, could benefit from instruction on
self-questioning as a reading strategy (Chan et al., 1992; Graham & Wong, 1993;

Palincsar & Brown, 1984). The improvement to their metacognitive processing on


- 268 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

problem solving also suggested that children with SLI were alert to activate prior

knowledge and could compare it with the current text content for problem identification

to generate a possible solution. This agreed with previous studies (Bereiter & Bird, 1985;

Kinnunen & Vauras, 1995) and provided empirical support for previous studies on SLI

population that found that cognitive reading strategies could promote childrens

self-questioning (Rich & Blake, 1994; Takala, 2006).

The current finding suggested that instruction on reading strategies changed

children with SLI in terms of their metacognitive processing and reading outcomes more

that did conventional teaching. It echoed previous studies, which suggested that cognitive

reading strategies instruction promoted low achievers metacognitive processing; this was

true for elementary grade SLI populations, regardless of culture differences.

3. Effects on beliefs about reading While cognitive reading strategy program

have been much studied in the literature, another component of this study was to examine,

not only strategy, but also beliefs in childrens reading. In addition to language,

metacognitive processing and character decoding factors, Anderson, Chan and Henne
- 269 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

(2005) identified differences in childrens beliefs and how cognitive instruction fostered

their metacognitive beliefs as predicting outcomes. Such relations have been replicated
among Chinese children (Chan & Law, 2003; Law et al., 2008). These researchers

pointed out that childrens beliefs about reading were critical to their reading outcomes.

Competent readers viewed the reading process as a form of knowledge construction,


while low achievers had an opposite view, known as reproductive belief (Law et al.,

2008). Children with reproductive beliefs memorized materials to complete learning tasks,

and did not relate the reading process to prior reading experiences. Hence, the process

was superficial, and they failed to make adequate inferences from the text.
The study adapted the interview questions from Anderson et al. (2005) to

probe childrens beliefs about reading. In the pre-test phase, when asked about text

content, children tended to respond in terms of physical behavior or simple task

completion. After instruction, children reflected a proper understanding of reasons for

reading and the skills needed, and made some self-reflections. This suggested that, even

in early grades, children were able to develop some positive beliefs about reading through

cognitive instruction and could describe the learning process, rather than focusing on the
- 270 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

behavioral layer. These findings were consistent with earlier works on low achievers and

children with learning difficulties (Chan & Law, 2003). Children with SLI equipped with

this knowledge were expected to have better metacognitive knowledge of their own

reading processes. The post-test findings of strong correlations between belief about

reading and metacognitive processing and reading outcomes further supported the

standpoint.

Children in the experimental group were being taught not only to practice

cognitive reading strategies, but also to change their beliefs about reading (Trabasso &
Bouchard, 2002). Working on their metacognitive processing may foster the monitoring

of strengths and weaknesses and help to develop proper self-regulating learning processes.

Beliefs about learning is important for text comprehension (Chan & Sachs, 2001; Law,

2008); and beliefs about reading has been shown to influence text comprehension (Buehl,

Alexander, & Murphy, 2002). It would be important that children change their beliefs

about reading and that may help them to continue to employ deep metacognitive

processing strategies.

- 271 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

4. Effects on character decoding Both the experimental group and the control

group showed significant positive change in character decoding. The experimental group,

which did not focus on lexicon development as the control group did, suffered no

negative effects relating to childrens character decoding; on the contrary, they showed

steady improvement. In early years, reading instruction put most of the emphasis on the

development of character decoding skills. Pressley (2002) has critiqued the situation

about the emphasis on character decoding. It is a common belief well into end of the

twentieth century that character decoding plays the key role. He provided the background

of the emphasis on character decoding as he developed his work on reading strategies:

As the century closes, it is well understood that if a child cannot

decode a word, he or she will not comprehend the meaning

intended by the word. Indeed, beyond accurate word recognition, if

the child cannot decode words fluently, comprehension will be

impaired. It is well understood that comprehension depends on

vocabulary, with good readers having more extensive vocabularies

than weaker readers. When an elementary-level reader improves


- 272 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

her or his vocabulary, text comprehension improves. (p.22)

Pressley (2002) and the subsequent work of Samuelstuen and Bruten (2005)

have advocated another different viewpoint and govern the reading research for the recent

ten years. They suggest the remediation should be comprised on both surface decoding

and deep reading strategic application. Samuelstuen and Bruten (2005) has proposed an

innovate argument that poor word decoding can be compensated for using high order

processing. In other words, children with poor word or character decoding could achieve

relatively better text comprehension. The problem is that poor readers lack automaticity

at the word level and spent too much time on character decoding, rather than using proper

comprehension strategies or prior knowledge to relate the text content (Samuelstuen &

Braten, 2005).

The finding supports the viewpoint of Samuelstuen and Bruten (2005). Though

the experimental cognitive reading strategies instruction does not focus on character

decoding or on particular lexical explanation, the instruction itself provides children

adequate exposure of reading material and reading strategies. Children with SLI can

make use their reading strategies to compensate their character decoding deficit. Thus,
- 273 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

their progress in terms of character decoding scores was similar as those received

conventional lexical teaching. What they had gained was not only their character

decoding, but also on their text comprehension. However, the possibility such progress

would have been related to one external factor, that is, the conventional language lesson

for every school day, which have not been detailed examined in this study.

5. Effects on oral language

By definition, children with SLI show impaired

oral language. The impairment lay in their spoken language, auditory comprehension or

both. Traditional speech and language research focuses on their semantic, syntactic and

pragmatic development and instruction intervention targets development of these areas.

However, it seldom touches the use of cognitive strategies to tackle children with SLIs

deficit. Specifically, the instruction provides a language-rich environment for the children,

while group work allows children to perform tasks within a group (Lederer, 2000;

Palinscar & Brown, 1984; Rosenshine & Meister, 1994; Takala, 2006). The model was

unlike that of children under conventional teaching, who passively receive lexical

knowledge from teachers. Instead, children practice their language throughout the whole
- 274 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

session.

Further, as stated above, children with SLI practice fewer metacognitive

processing than their grade-matched peers. Introducing cognitive reading strategies does

not just promote childrens text comprehension, but it also fosters their metacognition

and oral language development. Through prompts and think-aloud as well as group work,

children were scaffold to and verbalize and then discuss the text materials using the

strategies. These skills promote mental representation construction from written and oral
stimuli (Sporer et al., 2009; Takala, 2006). It may be surprising that children with speech

and language difficulties can engage in such language-rich instruction. However, in fact,

the reading strategies has been systematically taught with examples and modeling. They

are aroused and motivated under such interactive process.

Traditionally, oral language intervention for SLI was largely influenced by

linguistic approach. Cognitive intervention has not been commonly stressed until Adam
et al. (2009) have found that poor inference-making performance among elementary

school children with SLI is a major and significant predictor of their sentence

comprehension scores. In addition, their verbal inference error patterns also differ from
- 275 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

those of younger peers with typical language development. Adams et al. (2009) suggests

that children with SLI exhibit insufficient processing capacity to interpret surface forms

of stimuli and integrate them into a boarder context. It assumes there should be a central

processing problem across modalities so that similar problems persist in both auditory
and text comprehension (Skarakis-Doyle et al., 2008). Word knowledge retrieval, social

understanding and flexibility in using strategies are potential variables for such
processing problems (McBride-Chang et al., 2008).
Adam et al. (2009) then shifted their attention to a boarder platform, arguing

that children with SLI not only produce reduced or wrong sentence forms, they also tend

to have difficulties making appropriate inferences. In recent decades, studies have

revealed that children with SLI perform inferential task as their younger peers do; Adam
et al. (2009) claim the failure is due to an incapable to search for information that is not

explicitly mentioned and to form connections in text, stories or conversation. The present

study suggests that children undergo cognitive reading strategies instruction that targets

not only linguistic features but higher-level cognitive processes, that may possibly
address some of the issues raised about difficulties with inferential skills (Adams et al.,
- 276 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

2009) and flexibility in using strategies (McBride-Chang et al., 2005). Results show

significant group across time effects relating to their oral language scores, that well
exceed those of conventionally taught children. The cognitive strategy program embeds

oral language training in meaningful contexts when children are reading and telling

stories to each other, using appropriate strategies and supported by their peers and teacher.

This study suggests further research into Cognitive instruction to explore how it may

support -text comprehension together with oral language intervention.

6. Effects on classroom learning The finding showed a positive trend in

term of their classroom engagement. From the questionnaire, teachers reported children

with SLI after experimental instruction could apply more strategies in the classroom,

such as, taking notes, reading aloud the text, relating prior information etc. They became

more engaged and eager to express their thought during classes. They felt more pleasure

and developed interest in reading session.

In contrast, teachers reported children after conventional teaching, which

focused much on lexical explanation and character decoding task, demonstrated strength
- 277 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

to remember the details of what had read and discover any written mistakes. However,

their self-image was deteriorated and they persisted certain escape behaviors from

learning task.

Although there was no statistical difference on teachers observation between

two groups of participants, the findings may be explained by contemporary classroom

ecology. Given that this experiment was carried out in pull-out nature, that the Children

with SLIs classroom learning environment was well preserved. Children with SLI was

only asked to attend reading instruction training once a week after normal schooling.

These findings have implications on how remedial work can be better integrated with

classroom teaching. The change of childrens classroom behaviors between the

experimental group and the control group worth our discussion and bring us back to

current Chinese language classroom teaching.

In summary, the findings show that Children with SLIs metacognitive

progressing can be trained through cognitive reading strategies instruction. Cognitive

reading strategies instruction not only increased childrens reading scores, but also their

oral language and character decoding. Children in the experimental group showed
- 278 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

positive changes in their beliefs about reading.

7.4.2. How cognitive strategies instruction promotes text comprehension

The previous section has discussed the cognitive reading strategies instruction

promotes metacognitive processing, character decoding, oral language and hence their

text comprehension as well as metacognitive concepts on reading among children with

SLI. This section tries to explain how the experimental instruction scaffold their text

comprehension.

When a child encounters a piece of text, typical children has acquired to

activate their prior knowledge about what they known from the topic and the reading

strategies available. It involves employment of relevant reading strategies as well as

character decoding. However, children with SLI have not acquired adequate reading

strategies as their typical peers. They are not aware to activate the prior knowledge. They

often adopted bottom-up approach and try to decode the surface meaning of each word

from the text instead of activating any metacognitive processing. Children with SLI need

- 279 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

to be encouraged to process the deep meaning of the text instead of attempting to decode

every individual word.

In the past decades, most of the reading strategies instruction focused on

mainstream children or children with learning disabilities. Few of them target on children

with SLI. Thus far, while cognitive strategies instruction practices are widespread among

children with learning disabilities, there is only one or two research studies available. The

work of Rich and Blake (1994) and Takala (2006) produced an innovative cognitive

reading strategies instruction to children with SLI, though the treatment effect was the

modest when comparing with the mainstream ones. One of the explanation may be due to

these interventions are carried out in normal class without explicit activities to introduce

these strategies; children with SLI might not be motivated. Short duration (5 weeks) and

lack of home practices were also a factor. Participants might have little time to practice

within the period between pre-post-test.

It is not surprise that teachers viewed children with SLI as poor learner.

Children with SLI demonstrate poor language and teachers tend to lower the expectation

towards them. Teachers tends to focus on surface decoding instead of going further to
- 280 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

metacognitive processing when asking children with SLI to go over the text

comprehension task. The problem arises as children with SLI usually show poor

character decoding as well. Children with SLI spend most of the time to decode the

difficult word but face repeated failure eventually.

In order to remove them from the viscous circle, this experimental reading

instruction consider equipping them with reading strategies. There are three key

components of this cognitive strategy program including (1) strategy use, (2) embedded

language with group, and (3) broader social support through home practice. Through

developing their understanding of reading strategies, along with sufficient home practice

and parental assistance, children with SLI were explicitly taught how and when to apply

those strategies. For example, thinking about prior knowledge applicable to the text topic,

questioning themselves about the possible meanings of difficult words they might

encounter, or identifying the theme by highlighting key words or phrases or through

visual imagery.

The experimental instruction also helped children with SLI to bypass their

character decoding difficulties and get to the deeper meaning of the text. According to the
- 281 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

top-down construction-integration model proposed by Kintsch and Van Dijk (1978),

children can use their knowledge to make inferences and construct a mental

representation of a text. The process requires the use of metacognitive activities to

monitor whether a piece of information is relevant (Kintsch, 1998). In turn, such mental

representations can drive children to understand the words meaning relative to the text.

In other words, children could compensate for their poor character decoding skills.

Second, the experimental instruction made use of group and social learning to

help children become more conscious of the strategic nature of comprehension. Children

formed groups of them, with each child work together to complete tasks within the group.

Such interactive instructional practices placed the children with SLI within a rather

language-rich environment in which their language was expected to be reinforced.

Children with SLI, who have faced many academic failures, were motivated and involved

in the teaching and learning process during the instruction sessions. It further fostered

their metacognitive concepts and motivation towards reading as well. In addition, the

materials in the programs were careful selected to include a wider variety of literatures

and foster their character decoding skills, which also fostered their interest.
- 282 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Third, there were weekly home practices and regular telephone monitoring

with the childrens families to help the children with SLI become more familiar with the

reading strategies. Participants in the control group were also given home practices

but

on different elements. With this combination of strategy use, group support in learning,

and family support, children gradually developed a stronger foundation and text learning

came to be viewed as a productive process. The text learnt by the children became their

prior knowledge, which they could then integrate with other prior knowledge and apply

in a new context (Samuelstuen & Braten, 2005).

In summary, cognitive reading strategies instruction has been found to be

effective for children with learning difficulties. The implication of this study is that

second- and third-grade children with SLI can be taught to engage in metacognitive

processing and improve their deficient receptive and expressive language. Although the

cognitive instruction did not focus on lexical training, findings suggest that the

combination of metacognitive processing and strategic reading had a similar effect. It is

expected that longer, regular practiced, in-class instruction will yield a more significant

change in terms of childrens classroom learning behaviors; it is necessary to improve the


- 283 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

quality of inclusive education and make it more holistic. The underlying reason is that

carefully designed instruction takes care of the variables involved in children with SLIs

reading acquisition.

7.5. Contribution and Significance

This section follows the previous sections and discusses the potential

contributions and significance of both Study One and Study Two. As mentioned in the

preceding sections, the findings fulfill the goal of the study, uncovering the patterns of

cognitive and language processing of children with SLI and how are they related to their

text comprehension. There are a number of theoretical significances and practical

contributions.

7.5.1. Identification of metacognitive processing deficit among children


with SLI
The first way in which the study is significant is that it identifies the construct
of metacognitive processing in children with SLI. Since the end of the last century,
children with SLIs literacy difficulties have been the concern of teachers and educators.
- 284 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

This study is probably the first to use an adapted think aloud approach to identify
children with SLI, as those with learning disabilities or low achievement face problems
with metacognitive processing in literacy tasks. Traditionally, we think that children with
SLI have such poor spoken language that they cannot think aloud about their
metacognitive processing and use fewer reading strategies to cope with their literacy
difficulties. Contrary to the common belief that children with SLI need special attention
to their oral language and character decoding remediation, the study suggests
approaching their metacognitive deficit using an adapted think aloud approach.
When provided speech therapy services, children with SLI learn using the same
curriculum as their mainstream peers and are expected to receive training on oral
expression and comprehension from in-school speech therapists. It is risky to discharge
children who are making progress in their spoken language while at the same time
neglecting their inadequate metacognitive and literacy skills. A poor comprehension
profile hinders childrens learning effectiveness through reading to learn and results in
on-going academic failures.

7.5.2. Cross-cultural relevance


The second theoretical significance concerns support for cross-cultural
relevance. Recent studies have investigated higher order text comprehension or
- 285 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

metacognitive processing; however, the studies have mostly been conducted with Western
children. Few studies have been conducted but on local Chinese poor readers (Lau &
Chan, 2007; Law, 2008). There is a virtual absence of studies on local elementary grade
children for SLI. This study contributes to the field and support research that the use of
metacognition in reading could cross languages, and that application of reading strategies
developed in the West is applicable in the reading research in Chinese. Without proper
instruction, local children with SLI simply tend to read the text word by word without
using strategies (Lau & Chan, 2007). They tend to give up, or not to answer
comprehension questions without adequate metacognitive processing. Cognitive reading
strategies instruction functionally enhances their metacognitive processing. In other
words, children employ significantly more pre-reading strategies, main idea identification
and interpretation and reading monitoring strategies.

7.5.3. Introduction of reading strategies instruction on children with SLI


One major practical contribution of this study is its successful implementation
of a new reading instruction program tailored to elementary grade children with SLI.
Cognitive reading strategies instruction is not merely a one-way knowledge transmission
of reading strategies. The program was designed in which children with SLI take an
interactive role during the whole learning and practice process. The program is also takes
- 286 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

particular care of the concerns their families. Home practice in laymens terms and
telephone calls to parents are often emphasized. The programs effectiveness has been
described in the result section and in previous discussions. In general, the program
positively impacts childrens metacognitive deep processing development, oral language
development, character decoding skills and beliefs about reading, and contributes towards
a better reading outcome. Children undergoing cognitive reading strategies instruction
show more academic engagement and better classroom socialization, suggesting that the
reading strategies the children learnt might transfer into routine learning processes.
In contrast to conventional teachings focus on lexical explanation and usage,
cognitive reading strategies instruction focuses on the active use of reading strategies.
The results show that both groups enjoy similar improvement in character decoding skills
pre- and post-test, suggesting that cognitive reading strategies instruction, despite not
focusing on lexicons, does not impair childrens character decoding skills during literacy
development. Children with proper strategic training become more knowledgeable as
their prior knowledge is activated. Together with other cognitive reading strategies
instruction, their organization, elaboration and monitoring skills equip them well for text
processing.
In summary, cognitive reading strategies instruction brings positive effects to
text comprehension in children with SLI. One of the particular insights of this study is
- 287 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

that SLI should be viewed as a cognitive or, even broader, metacognitive deficit, rather
than solely a linguistic issue. Given that conventional language instruction is not
functional enough for children with SLI, the findings raise the possibility of moving such
experimental instruction into an inclusive classroom. Indeed, it highlights that it is not
easy to succeed when add new types of instruction to the classroom. The speech therapist,
as a professional dealing with the SLI population, must work with teachers to provide
innovative classroom instruction in regular, inclusive classes. Speech therapists, who
work at ordinary school, have to attend to childrens metacognition and collaborate with
teachers to disseminate the most appropriate language instruction, ranging from spoken
form to literacy.

7.6. Framework to describe the Reading Process


The studies are also significant in that they construct a new framework to
describe reading acquisition among elementary grade children with SLI. Despite
numerous studies concerning cognitive reading strategies instruction in the past 30 years,
there are relative few comprehensive studies on children with SLI. The focus has always
been on character decoding rather than passage comprehension or reading strategies.
This section attempts to merge the discussion of the findings of Study One and

- 288 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Study Two to establish framework to understand how children with SLI read. Chapter
Two has proposed a revised reading framework to explain how SLI elementary grade
children attain literacy, the core of which is cognitive reading strategies instruction. The
findings of this study echo this, in contrast to the common belief that only oral language
and character decoding predict text comprehension.
Previous studies have found that oral language and decoding skills form
distinctive clusters, and that both predict text comprehension as early as at the preschool
stage. In turn, childrens word or character decoding skills contribute to their early oral
language development (Kendeou, van den Broek, White, & Lynch, 2009). There is
disagreement over whether oral language is central to childrens text comprehension.
Kelso et al. (2007) suggested children with SLIs poor comprehension shows deficiencies
in their semantic system, syntax and combining of spoken words into sentences.
However, the notion that word or character decoding, also known as word
recognition, together with language proficiency, predicts childrens text comprehension
has been criticized (Cutting & Scarborough, 2006). In contrast to the common belief that
children with SLIs difficulty lie at the word level and in oral language areas, this study
identifies other areas that may cause difficulties. Study One shows that differences exist
between children with SLI and those under typical development in terms of their
metacognitive processes and text comprehension. Study Two further shows that cognitive
- 289 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

reading strategies instruction encourages childrens metacognitive processing, and that


language-rich group reading promotes oral language proficiency; oral language
proficiency facilitates character decoding skills as well. The assumption is supported by
the post-test finding that metacognitive processing strategies became the major predictor
of childrens text comprehension scores in the experimental group. Therefore, cognitive
reading strategies instruction, which aims to facilitate the metacognitive processing of
children with SLI by guiding them with some reading strategies, drives their progress in
text comprehension.
However, the actual underlying relationship between character decoding,
metacognitive processing, oral language and the end learning product text
comprehension cannot be revealed unless structural equation modeling (SEM) tests the
relationships among these various factors. This poses a limitation as, due to the small
sample size, this cannot be done. Future research should replicate the study with a larger
sample size and test the relationships among various variables using SEM at the post-test
phase, in order to gain a better understanding of the causal relations between character
decoding, metacognition and oral language, and their effects on text comprehension.
Another point worth noting is that character decoding skills might be fostered by other
cognitive processes, such as phonological and morphological awareness. However,
determining that is beyond the scope of this study.
- 290 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

The cognitive instruction fosters childrens positive beliefs about reading. As


mentioned in the findings and in previous sections, while we cannot say that belief about
reading is a metacognitive concept, children with better beliefs about reading reflect that
they are more properly equipped with metacognitive concepts and employ reading
strategies more frequently. Proper beliefs about reading promote the automaticity of
childrens metacognitive monitoring and control process. Learning to read through
strategic reading is not enough. The most important thing is that children with SLI
internalize the metacognitive processes and use them actively and in a flexible manner in
order to improve their text comprehension and move from learning to read to reading
to learn.
In summary, the study is not intended to exhaust every variable that contributes
to text comprehension in children with SLI. The success of this experimental instruction
shows how text comprehension can be shaped through reading strategies instruction.
Instead of explicitly working solely on surface decoding, childrens metacognitive
processing can be promoted, thus promoting their oral language and text comprehension.
However, another equally important factor is that the instruction should be carefully
planned and should be interactive enough to arouse their beliefs about reading.

7.7. Limitations and Further Research


- 291 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

This section outlines a number of limitations and proposes directions for further
research. One of the major limitations is the potential research bias throughout the study;
due to practical constraints, the author was both the researcher and the instructor in the
present study. Due to the lack of a blind study, experimenter bias and participant effect
cannot be eliminated (Cohen, Manion, & Morrison, 2000). If the experimenter felt one
group should outperformed another, there is the risk that he could lead the participants to
act as he expected (Bernard, 2004). In order to minimize these potential hazardous effects,
most of the measurements used in this study were highly standardized and included clear
user guidelines. Even during the think aloud task, the instructions and cueing were
standardized in advance. All verbal statements in the pre- and post-test phases were
audio-recorded. At least one third of the responses were coded by a second rater, who was
familiar with the rating scale but blind to childrens groupings.
The second major limitation is the overlaps of the measures employed and
hence creates difficulties in delineating the effect of language, cognitive and
metacognitive processing. It is true that the conceptual and operation framework between
cognitive and metacognitive processing is complex and still under further investigation.
In this study, the measures on metacognitive processing heavily rely on verbal output. In
turn, asking children to formulate an oral narrative in the oral language measures is
thought to be highly related to cognitive and metacognitive processing. Yet there is no
- 292 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

strong measure on local childrens metacognitive or cognitive processing available.


The third major limitation lies at the bias of the research design. Study two
established two groups. The experimental group was compared with the control group
with a traditional program. However, it is quite untypical to conduct merely lexical
training for the control group for 15 weeks without handling text comprehension at
typical classroom.
The other constraint is the tight schedule of the primary school curricula.
Children in Grades 2 and 3 take many academic lessons and are involved in numerous
extra-curricular activities. The program consisted of 45-minute lessons delivered weekly
over a 15-week period and the class size was limited to 11 children. It was not practical to
conduct all classes on the same day. In addition, although home practice was assigned
after each session and telephone follow-up was also provided, most parents claimed to be
too busy to work on extra home practices. The situation got worse during school holidays.
The instruction period spanned the two-week Christmas holiday, a three-week Chinese
New Year holiday and a two-week Easter holiday, which negatively affected the
continuity of the program. Another limitation concerns generalizability. All participants
were drawn from two Hong Kong schools; given that there are more than 600 primary
schools in the territories, the generalizability of the results to all Chinese elementary
grade children should be exercised very carefully.
- 293 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

This study partially outlines the positive effect cognitive reading strategies
instruction had on children with SLI in terms of their learning outcomes, but that effect is
far from perfect. The study also suggests that text comprehension improvement involves
the complex interaction of a number of constructs, and thus suggests a few new research
directions.

1. Draw the causal relationship between variables using Structural Equation Model
This study has identified a number of constructs that contributes to literacy
achievement among children with SLI. Its primarily goal has been to find an intervention
or instruction program that would improve these constructs and hence improve the
reading outcome. This study has achieved that goal. However, the story has not come to
its end. The ultimate goal of this kind of cognitive research is to find out why such
instruction drives reading outcome achievements. In other word, there is a need to recast
the theoretical framework.
Although this study involved 40 Children with SLI from two primary schools,
21 of whom were entered into the experimental group, the sample size was far from
sufficient to perform structural equation modeling. This is a statistical technique that
examines the causal relations between different processes and the outcome. In other
words, it is a study after the instruction, which construct causes changes to another
- 294 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

construct or outcomes.

2. Involvement of measurement on childrens reading motivation


The present study does not involve a standardized reading motivation questionnaire.
Rather, changes in childrens reading motivation were partially reflected in one or two
items on teacher questionnaires. This is far from enough to get to a convincing
conclusion.
Indeed, motivation is a multi-dimensional construct. Two specific domains
relevant to the reading process are interest and self-efficacy. Interest is defined as
personal investment in an activity (Taboada et al., 2009, p. 88); a childs interest drives
them to explore the text in a relaxed manner, making them willing to spend more time
and explore deeper during text processing. Self-efficacy refers to ones beliefs about
ones own abilities. It is an individual judgment and perception of whether [one is]
capable of doing well and accomplishing the task (Taboada et al., 2009, p. 88). In terms
of reading, self-efficacy is the self-evaluation of ones own reading process, and shows a
high correlation with text comprehension scores.
Given that childrens motivation should be one of the key constructs towards
the reading outcome, future research has to replicate this study but include validated
measurements of their reading motivation. Law (2009) has applied a Chinese context
- 295 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

questionnaire to measure childrens self-reported motivation, which was derived from the
standardized Motivation for Reading Questionnaire (MRQ). However, the questionnaire
was designed for older children; applicability to elementary children will be a challenge.

3. The need of strong measure on childrens text comprehension and metacognition


The present study addressed whether strategic reading could be implemented
for early elementary grade children. However, the inadequacy of validated measurement
in the Chinese context created obstacles for evidence-based practice (Cutting &
Scarborough, 2006).
In recent years, although standardized assessment of elementary school
childrens language and character decoding has become available in the research field,
validated instruments for text comprehension remained a blank area for second- and
third-grade Chinese children. While the Hong Kong Attainment Test was known as a
strong predictor of childrens text comprehension, it was only available for fourth-grade
children and above (Law et al., 2008). In this study, a non-standardized measure of
childrens text comprehension was developed. Content validity was preliminarily
established using an expert review panel. Internal reliability and factor analysis provided
empirical support in term of construct validity in assessing childrens text comprehension.
However, the forced-choice inferential question format could somehow overestimate
- 296 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

childrens ability and the possibility of wild guessing exists. Such format threatened the
construct validity and finally being excluded from the final analyses. Given the above
measurement limitations, future research can focus on refinement these measurements. In
terms of metacognition, it would be worthwhile to investigate what kinds of prompts
should be used to minimize interference with childrens thinking. Possible transfer tests
on text comprehension or more flexible prompts on metacognition are also necessary to
check if children can apply the learnt reading strategies spontaneously, not only when
they are prompted to do so.

4. Concerns about ecological validity


One of the major contributions of this study is to extend cognitive reading
strategies instruction into the elementary grade SLI population. However, the current
experimental instruction is pull-out in nature. As the classroom is always the preferred
platform for effective language and literacy learning, the successful evidence-based
practice of classroom-based cognitive reading strategies instruction in a local inclusive
classroom with children with SLI is expected, but yet to be realized.
This study has taken ecological validity into account by introducing a teachers
questionnaire to examine students changes in terms of classroom engagement. As the
instruction is pull-out in nature, significant change was not expected. Future study must
- 297 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

refine the measurement of childrens ecological validity. There are two options available.
One is to apply linkages between the experimental pull-out instruction and the classroom.
This can be done by having teachers practice related skills in class, with ecological
validity being established through classroom observation. Another option is simply to put
the instruction into the classroom as part of the mainstream curriculum.

5. Education implication Co-professional intervention


The study offers another practical contribution, that of raising the idea of
co-professional intervention within an inclusive education system. The notion is that
speech therapists, the professionals dealing with childrens language impairment, as well
as teachers, the frontline educators, have increased chances to work together within a
school. It is crystal clear that teachers play a major role in the success of any classroom
intervention, as well as in the whole inclusive education policy (McCartney, Ellis, &
Boyle, 2009). For speech therapists, as the key experts to provide intervention for
students with SLI, it is time to shift their work from clinic room to classroom. The SLI
research community has to open wider theoretical and methodological possibilities, such
as the cognitive strategies mentioned in this thesis, to aid disadvantaged children.
Co-professional work is always emphasized; the educational needs of children with SLI
are looked after by education staff and health services staff both, including speech
- 298 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

therapists. The change implies a role shift for school speech therapists from pull-out
language remediation to a wider-reaching model. School speech therapists should be
viewed as primary contributors to the school curriculum.
Practically, school speech therapists should view children with SLI in a holistic
manner, paying more attention to their literacy development. School speech pathologists
provide expertise and guidance so that education staff can provide literacy lessons that
not only encourage character decoding, but also foster metacognitive processing and oral
language, through cognitive reading strategies instruction.
Given that children with SLI have certain literacy problems, school speech
therapists have three main responsibilities. The first is to orient the curriculum and
account for possible language and cognitive aspects involved in literacy, including
examining literacy standards for each grade, benchmarks, and teachers and parents
expectations to uncover their academic burden. The second role is to be an expert
linguistic and metalinguist capable of analyzing students responses (Ehren & Whitmire,
2009). The third, and perhaps most important, is to use a diagnostic-prescriptive approach
to profile their strengths and weaknesses (Ehren & Whitmire, 2009).

7.8. Concluding Remarks


The present study, premised on a cognitive approach, aims to identify the role
- 299 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

metacognitive processing plays on text comprehension among children with SLI. It also
examines the practicability on using cognitive reading strategies instruction on children
with SLI to facilitate their literacy development. The profile of language, character
decoding, text comprehension and metacognitive activities shows that these children face
significant academic challenges. Conventional reading instruction fails to account for
their needs. The study suggests that metacognitive difficulties, in addition to oral
language and character decoding are central to their text processing.
The present study indicates that cognitive reading strategies instruction
positively affects their text comprehension. The findings replicate past similar studies
documenting teacher-led small group reading, which produced positive treatment effects
in disadvantaged children. The experiment was a successful evidence-based practice for
children with SLI. In addition, the instruction was similar to the review of language
intervention studies, which suggests that the introduction of cognitive strategies in a
language-rich environment positively affects oral communication. It also suggests that
carefully planned, small group reading of cognitive reading strategies within the
classroom may help children with SLI and fosters inclusive education. The teacher
questionnaire also suggested this experimental instruction could bring positive changes in
terms of classroom behavior, even though the instruction was conducted in a pull-out
fashion. Given that conventional language instruction is not functional enough for
- 300 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

children with SLI, the findings raise a possibility of moving such experimental
instruction into an inclusive classroom.
One of the particular insight of this study is that SLI should be viewed as a
cognitive or, even broader, metacognitive deficit, rather than solely a linguistic issue.
Speech therapists who work at ordinary schools have to attend to childrens
metacognition and collaboration where possible with teachers to disseminate the most
appropriate language instruction, ranging from spoken form to literacy. The speech
therapist, as a professional dealing with SLI population, must work with teachers to
provide innovative classroom instruction in regular, inclusive classes.

- 301 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Reference
Adams, C., Clarke, E., & Haynes, R. (2009). Inference and sentence comprehension in
children with specific or pragmatic language impairments. International Journal
of Language & Communication Disorders, 44, 301-318.
Allen, K. D., & Hancock, T. E. (2008). Reading comprehension improvement with
individualized cognitive profiles and metacognition. Literacy Research and
Instruction, 47(2), 124-139.
Anderson, V., Chan, C. K. K., & Henne, R. (1995). The effects of strategy instruction on
the literacy models and performance of reading and writing delayed middle
school students. In K. A. Hinchman, D. J. Leu & C. K. Kinzer (Eds.),
Perspectives on Literacy Research and Practice: Forty-fourth Yearbook of the
National Reading Conference (pp. 180-189). Chicago: National Reading
Conference.
Aram, D. M., Morris, R., & Hall, N. E. (1992). The validity of discrepancy criteria for
identifying children with developmental language disorders Journal of Learning
Disabilities, 25, 549-554.
Archibald, L. M. D., & Gathercole, S. E. (2006). Short term and working memory in
specific language impairment. International Journal of Language &
Communication Disorders, 41, 675-693.
Arnbak, E., & Elbro, C. (2000). The effects of morphological awareness training on the
reading and spelling skills of Young dyslexics Scandinavian Journal of
Educational Research, 44(3), 229-251.
Baker, L. (2002). Metacognition in comprehension instruction. In C. C. Block & M.
Pressley (Eds.), Comprehension Instruction: Research-based Best Practices (pp.
77-95). London: Guilford Press
Bakken, J. P., Mastropieri, M. A., & Scruggs, T. E. (1997). Reading comprehension of
expository science material and students with learning disabilities: A comparison
of strategies. The Journal of Special Education, 31, 300-324.
Bender, W. N. (2003). Reading strategies for elementary students with learning
difficulties. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Corwin Press.
Bereiter, C., & Bird, M. (1985). Use of thinking aloud in identification and teaching of
reading comprehension strategies. Cognition and Instruction, 2, 131-156.
Bernard, B. C. (2004). Research Methods:A tool for life. Boston: Pearson Education
Biggs, J. (1995). Assessing for learning: Some dimensions underlying new approaches to
educational assessment. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 41(1), 1-17.
Biggs, J., & Tang, C. (2007). Teaching for Quality Learning at University Maidenhead.
McGraw Hill: Open University Press.
Bishop, D. V. M. (2009). Specific Language Impairment as a language learning disability.
Child Language Teaching & Therapy, 25(2), 163-165.
Bishop, D. V. M., & Snowling, M. J. (2004). Developmental dyslexia and Specific
Language Impairment: Same or different? Psychological Bulletin, 130(6),
858-886.
Botting, N., Simkin, Z., & Conti-Ramsden, G. (2006). Associated reading skills in
children with a history of Specific Language Impairment (SLI). Reading and
Writing, 19(1), 77-98.
- 302 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Boyle, J. R. (1996). The effects of a cognitive mapping strategies on the literal and
inferential comprehension of students with mild disabilities. Learning Disability
Quarterly, 19, 86-98.
Brand-Gruwel, S., Aarnoutse, C. A. J., & Van Den Bos, K. P. (1998). Improving text
comprehension strategies in reading and listening settings. Learning and
Instruction, 8, 63-81.
Breakwell, G. M. (2006). Interviewing methods. In G. M. Breakwell, S. Hammond, C.
Fife-Schaw & J. A. Smith (Eds.), Research Methods in Psychology (pp. 232-254).
London: SAGE Publications.
Bredo, E. (1997). The social construction of learning. In G. D. Phye (Ed.), Handbook of
academic learning: Construction of knowledge (pp. 3-45). San Diego: Academic
Press.
Brown, A. L., & Palincsar, A. S. (1987). Reciprocal teaching of comprehension strategies:
A natural history of one program for enhancing learning Intelligence and
exceptionality: New directions for theory, assessment, and instructional practices.
(pp. 81-132): Westport, CT, US: Ablex Publishing.
Bruce, M. E., & Chan, L. K. S. (1991). Reciprocal teaching and transenvironmental
programming: A program to facilitate the reading comprehension of students with
reading difficulties. Remedial and Special Education, 12, 44-53.
Bryant, F. B., & Wortman, P. M. (1984). Methodological issues in the meta-analysis of
quasi-experiments. New Directions for Program Evaluation, 1984(24), 5-24.
Buehl, M. M., Alexander, P. A., & Murphy, P. K. (2002). Beliefs about schooled
knowledge: Domain specific or domain general? Contemporary Educational
Psychology, 27(3), 415-449.
Catts, H. W., Adlof, S. M., Hogan, T. P., & Weismer, S., E. (2005). Are Specific Language
Impairment and dyslexia distinct disorders. Journal of Speech, Language &
Hearing Research, 48, 1378-1396.
Chan, C., Burtis, J., & Bereiter, C. (1997). Knowledge building as a mediator of conflict
in conceptual change. Cognition and Instruction, 15, 1-40.
Chan, C. K. K., Burtis, P. J., Scardamalia, M., & Bereiter, C. (1992). Constructive
Activity in Learning from Text. American Educational Research Journal, 29,
97-118.
Chan, C. K. K., & Law, Y. K. (2003). Metacognitive beliefs and strategies in text
comprehension for Chinese children. In C. Mcbride-Chang & H. C. Chen (Eds.),
Reading development in Chinese children (pp. 171-182). Westport, Conn. :
Praeger.
Chan, C. K. K., & Sachs, J. (2001). Beliefs about Learning in Children's Understanding
of Science Texts. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 26, 192-210.
Chi, M. T. H. (1996). Constructing self-explanations and scaffolded explanations in
tutoring. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 10(7), 33-49.
Chi, M. T. H. (1997). Quantifying qualitative analyses of verbal data: A practical guide.
Journal of the Learning Sciences, 6, 271-315.
Chi, M. T. H. (2000). Constructing self-explanations and scaffolded explanations in
tutoring. In R. Glaser (Ed.), Advances in Instructional Psychology (Vol. 5, pp.
161-238). New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2000). Research Methods in Education (5th ed.).
- 303 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

London: Routledge.
Connor, C. M., Morrison, F. J., & Petrella, J. N. (2004). Effective reading comprehension
instruction: Examining child x instruction interactions. Journal of Educational
Psychology, 96, 682-698.
Cronbach, L. (1951). Coefficient alpha and the internal structure of tests. Psychometrika,
16, 297-334.
Curriculum Development Council. (2001). Learning to Learn: The Way Forward in
Curriculum Development: Consultation Document. Hong Kong: Curriculum
Development Council.
Cutting, L. E., & Scarborough, H. S. (2006). Prediction of reading comprehension:
Relative contributions of word recognition, language proficiency, and other
cognitive skills can depend on how comprehension is measured. Scientific Studies
of Reading, 10, 277-299.
De Corte, E., Verschaffel, L., & Van De Ven, A. (2001). Improving text comprehension
strategies in upper primary school children: A design experiment. British Journal
of Educational Psychology, 71, 531-559.
Dermitzaki, I., Andreou, G., & Paraskeva, V. (Writer). (2008). High and low reading
comprehension achievers' strategic behaviors and their relation to performance in
a reading comprehension situation, Reading Psychology, 29, 471-492
Dunlosky, J., & Metcalfe, J. (2009). Metacognition. Los Angeles: SAGE.
Education Bureau. (2004). Catering for Student Differences- Indicators for inclusion.
Hong Kong: Education Bureau
Education Bureau. (2007). Whole School Approach to Cater for Students' Diverse
Learning Needs. Retrieved April 1, 2008, from
www.edb.gov.hk/index.aspx?nodeID=181&langno=1
Ehren, B. J., & Whitmire, K. (2009). Speech-language pathologists as primary
contributors to response to intervention at the secondary level. Seminar in Speech
Language, 30(02), 090-104.
Englert, C. S., & Mariage, T. V. (1991). Making students partners in the comprehension
process: Organizing the reading POSSE. Learning Disability Quarterly, 14,
123-138.
Flavell, J. H. (1979). Metacognition and cognitive monitoring: A new area of
cognitivedevelopmental inquiry. American Psychologist, 34, 906-911.
Fosnot, C. T. (1989). Enquiring Teachers, Enquiring Learners: A Constructivist
Approach for Teaching. New York: Teachers College Press.
Fosnot, C. T. (2005). Constructivism revisited: Implications and reflections. The
Constructivist, 16(1), 1-17.
Gajria, M., Jitendra, A. K., Sood, S., & Sacks, G. (2007). Improving Comprehension of
Expository Text in Students With LD: A Research Synthesis. J Learn Disabil,
40(3), 210-225.
Gajria, M., & Salvia, J. (1992). The effects of summarization instruction on text
comprehension of students with learning disabilities. Exceptional Children, 58,
508-516.
Garner, J. K., & Bochna, C. R. (2004). Transfer of a Listening Comprehension Strategy to
Independent Reading in First-Grade Students. Early Childhood Education
Journal, 32(2), 69-74.
- 304 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

George, D., & Mallery, P. (2003). SPSS for Windows Step by Step: A Simple Guide and
Reference. 11.0 Update (4 ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Goodman, K. S. (1968). Reading: Apsycholinguistic guessing game. Journal of the
Reading Specialist, 6, 126-135.
Graham, L., & Wong, B. Y. L. (1993). Comparing two modes of teaching a
question-answering strategy for enhancing reading comprehension. Journal of
Learning Disabilities, 26(4), 270-279.
Graves, A. W. (1986). Effects of direct instruction and metacomprehension training on
finding main ideas. Learning Disabilities Research, 1, 90-100.
Hacker, D. J. (1998). Self-regulated comprehension during normal reading. In D. J.
Hacker, J. Dunlosky & A. C. Graesser (Eds.), Metacognition in Education Theory
and Practices (pp. 165-191). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Harris, K. R., & Pressley, M. (1991). The nature of cognitive strategy instruction:
Interactive strategy construction. Exceptional Children, 57, 392-404.
Ho, C. M. (2004). Effects of Cognitive-based Reading Strategies in Enhancing
Higher-order Comprehension of Academically Low-achieving Students.
Unpublished M.Ed. thesis, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.
Ho, C. S.-H., Chan, D. W., & Education Department. (2001). The Hong Kong Specific
Learning Difficulties Behaviour Checklist (For Primary School Pupils) Research
Edition.
Retrieved August 14, 2009, from
http://www.edb.gov.hk/FileManager/TC/Content_2555/spld_checklist.pdf
Hong Kong Education Department. (1986). Raven's Standard Progress Matrices. Hong
Kong: Hong Kong Education Department.
Huff, J., & Nietfeld, J. (2009). Using strategy instruction and confidence judgments to
improve metacognitive monitoring. Metacognition and Learning, 4, 161-176.
Hughes, D. M., Turkstra, L. S., & Wulfeck, B. B. (2009). Parent and self-ratings of
executive function in adolescents with specific language impairment.
International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 44, 901-916.
Hui, M. L. H., & Dowson, C. R. (2003). The development of inclusive education in Hong
Kong SAR. In M. L. H. Hui, C. R. Dowson & M. G. Moont (Eds.), Inclusive
Education in the New Millennium (pp. 11-24). Hong Kong: The Association for
Childhood Education International-Hong Kong & Macau and Education
Convergence.
Keene, E. O., & Zimmermann, S. (1997). Mosaic of Thought: Teaching Comprehension
in a Reader's Workshop. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Kelso, K., Fletcher, J., & Lee, P. (2007). Reading comprehension in children with specific
language impairment: an examination of two subgroups. Informa Healthcare, 42,
39 - 57.
Kendeou, P., van den Broek, P., White, M. J., & Lynch, J. S. (2009). Predicting reading
comprehension in early elementary school: The independent contributions of oral
language and decoding Skills. Journal of Educational Psychology, 101, 765-778.
Kinnunen, R., & Vauras, M. (1995). Comprehension monitoring and the level of
comprehension in high- and low-achieving primary school children's reading.
Learning and Instruction, 5, 143-165.
Kintsch, W. (1998). Comprehension: A paradigm for Cognition. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press.
- 305 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Kintsch, W., & van Dijk, T. A. (1978). Toward a model of text comprehension and
production. Psychological Review, 85, 363-394.
Klingner, J. K., Vaughn, S. A., M. E., Hughes, M. T., & Leftwich, S. A. (2004).
Collaborative strategic reading: Real-world lessons from classroom teachers.
Remedial and Special Education, 25, 291-302.
LaBerge, D., & Samuels, S. J. (1974). Toward a theory of automatic information
processing in reading. Cognitive Psychology, 6(2), 293-323.
Landis, J. R., & Koch, G. G. (1977). An application of hierarchical kappa-type statistics in
the assessment of majority agreement among multiple observers. Biometrics,
33(2), 363-374.
Lau, K.-L. (2006a). Implementing strategy instruction in Chinese language classes: a
school-based Chinese reading strategy instruction programme. Educational
Research, 48, 195-209.
Lau, K.-L. (2006b). Reading strategy use between Chinese good and poor readers: a
think-aloud study. Journal of Research in Reading, 29, 383-399.
Lau, K.-L., & Chan, D. (2007). The effects of cognitive strategy instruction on Chinese
reading comprehension among Hong Kong low achieving students. Reading and
Writing, 20, 833-857.
Lau, K.-L., & Chan, D. W. (2003). Reading strategy use and motivation among Chinese
good and poor readers in Hong Kong. Journal of Research in Reading, 26,
177-190.
Law, Y.-K. (2003). Children's Beliefs about Learning and Strategy Use in Chinese Text
Comprehension. Unpublished Ph. D thesis, The University of Hong Kong, Hong
Kong.
Law, Y.-K. (2008). Chinese children's constructive activity and text comprehension.
Journal of Research in Reading, 31, 379-403.
Law, Y.-K. (2009). The role of attribution beliefs, motivation and strategy use in Chinese
fifth-graders' reading comprehension. Educational Research, 51, 77-95.
Law, Y.-K., Chan, C. K. K., & Sachs, J. (2008). Beliefs about learning, self-regulated
strategies and text comprehension among Chinese children. British Journal of
Educational Psychology, 78, 51-73.
Lederer, J. M. (2000). Reciprocal teaching of social studies in inclusive elementary
classrooms. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 33, 91-106.
Leung, M. T., Cheng-Lai, A., & Kwan, E. S. M. (2008). The Hong Kong Graded
Character Naming Test (HKGCNT) for Primary School Children. Hong Kong:
Centre for Communication Disorders, the University of Hong Kong
Lindsay, G., Dockrell, J. E., Mackie, C., & Letchford, B. (2005). The roles of specialist
provision for children with specific speech and language difficulties in England
and Wales: a model for inclusion? Journal of Research in Special Educational
Needs, 5, 88-96.
Malerstein, A. (1986). The conscious mind. New York: Human Sciences Press.
Mastropieri, M. A., Scruggs, T. E., Bakken, J. P., &, & Whedon, C. (1996). Reading
comprehension: A synthesis of research in learning disabilities. In T. E. Scruggs &
M. A. Mastropieri (Eds.), Advances in learning and behavioral disabilities (Vol.
10B, pp. 201-227). New York: Elsevier Science.
McBride-Chang, C., Cho, J.-R., Liu, H., Wagner, R. K., Shu, H., Zhou, A., et al. (2005).
- 306 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Changing models across cultures: Associations of phonological awareness and


morphological structure awareness with vocabulary and word recognition in
second graders from Beijing, Hong Kong, Korea, and the United States. Journal
of Experimental Child Psychology, 92, 140-160.
McBride-Chang, C., Lam, F., Lam, C., Doo, S., Wong, S. W. L., & Chow, Y. Y. Y. (2008).
Word recognition and cognitive profiles of Chinese pre-school children at risk for
dyslexia through language delay or familial history of dyslexia. Journal of Child
Psychology & Psychiatry, 49, 211-218.
McBride-Chang, C., Wagner, R. K., Muse, A., Chow, B. W.-Y., & Shu, H. (2005). The
role of morphological awareness in children's vocabulary acquisition in English.
Applied Psycholinguistics, 26, 415-435.
McCartney, E., Ellis, S., & Boyle, J. (2009). The mainstream primary classroom as a
language-learning environment for children with severe and persistent language
impairment - Implications of recent language intervention research. Journal of
Research in Special Educational Needs, 9(2), 80-90.
Mertens, D. M., & McLaughlin, J. A. (2004). Research and evaluation methods in special
education. Thousand Oaks, CA. : Corwin Press.
Miranda, A., Villaescusa, M. I., & Vidal-Abarca, E. (1997). Is attribution retraining
necessary? Use of self-regulation procedures for enhancing the reading
comprehension strategies of children with learning disabilities. Journal of
Learning Disabilities, 30, 503-512.
National Reading Panel. (2000). Teaching Children to Read: An evidence-based
assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for
reading instruction. Bethesda, MD: National Institute of Child Health and Human
Development.
Palincsar, A. S. (1986). The role of dialogue in providing scaffolded instruction.
Educational Psychologist, 21, 73-98.
Palinscar, A. S., & Brown, A. L. (1984). Reciprocal teaching of comprehension-fostering
and comprehension-monitoring activities. Cognition and Instruction, 1(2), 117 175.
Paris, S. G., & Jacobs, J. E. (1984). The benefits of informed instruction for children's
reading awareness and comprehension skills. Child Development, 55, 2083-2093.
Perfetti, C. A. (1994). Reading Abilities New York: Oxford University Press.
Person, P. D., & Duke, N. K. (2002). Comprehension instruction in the primary grades. In
C. C. Block & M. Pressley (Eds.), Comprehension Instruction: Research-based
Best Practices (pp. 247-258). London: Guilford Press.
Piaget, J. (1987). Possibility and Necessity: The Role of Possibility in Cognitive
Development (Vol. 1). Minnesota: The University of Minnesota Press.
Pressley, M. (1998). Reading Instruction that Works: The Case for Balanced Teaching.
New York: Guilford Press.
Pressley, M. (2002). Comprehension strategies instruction: A-turn-of-century status
report In C. C. Block & M. Pressley (Eds.), Comprehension Instruction:
Research-based Best Practices (pp. 11-27). London: Guiford Press.
Pressley, M., & Afflerbach, P. (1995). Verbal Protocols of Reading: The nature of
constructively responsive reading. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Pressley, M., & Gaskins, I. (2006). Metacognitively competent reading comprehension is
- 307 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

constructively responsive reading: how can such reading be developed in students?


Metacognition and Learning, 1, 99-113.
Pressley, M., Gaskins, I. W., Solic, K., & Collins, S. (2006). A portrait of benchmark
school: How a school produces high achievement in students who previously
failed. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98(2), 282-306.
Pressley, M., Johnson, C. J., Symons, S., McGoldrick, J. A., & Kurita, J. A. (1989).
Strategies that improve children's memory and comprehension of text. Elementary
School Journal, 90, 3-32.
Rao, Z., Gu, Y. P., Zhang, L. J., & Hu, G. (2007). Reading strategies and spproaches to
learning of bilingual primary school pupils. Language Awareness, 16, 243-262.
Rich, R. Z., & Blake, S. (1994). Collaborating for autonomy: Inducing strategic
behaviors in students with learning disabilities. Journal of Educational and
Psychologicial Consultation, 5, 359-372.
Rosenshine, B., & Meister, C. (1994). Reciporal teaching: A review of the research.
Review of Educational Research, 64(4), 479-530.
Rosenshine, B., Meister, C., & Chapman, S. (1996). Teaching students to generate
questions: A review of intervention studies. Review of Educational Research,
66(2), 181-221.
Samuelson, J. A. (1982). Metacognition: Thinking about thinking. The Review of
Education, 8(2), 133-141.
Samuelstuen, M. S., & Braten, I. (2005). Decoding, knowledge, and strategies in
comprehension of expository text. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 46(2),
107-117.
Sawyer, R. K. (2006). The Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences Cambridge ;
New York: Cambridge University Press.
Scardamalia, M., Bereiter, C., & Steinbach, R. (1984). Teachability of reflective
processes in written composition. Cognitive Science, 8(2), 173-190.
Schmitt, M. C. (1988). The effects of an elaborated directed reading activity on the
metacomprehension skills of third graders. In J. E. Readance & R. C. Daldwin
(Eds.), Dialogues in literacy research (pp. 167-181). Chicago: The National
Reading Conference Inc.
Shunk, D. H. (1996). Learning Theories (2nd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Simmonds, E. P. M. (1992). The effect of teacher training and implementation of two
methods for improving the comprehension skills of students with learning
disabilities. Learning Disabilities Research, 7, 194-198.
Singer, M. (1994). Discourse inference analysis. In M. A. Gernsbacher (Ed.), Handbook
of psycholinguistics (pp. 479-515). San Diego: Academic Press.
Skarakis-Doyle, E., Dempsey, L., & Lee, C. (2008). Identifying language comprehension
impairment in preschool children. Language, Speech, & Hearing Services in
Schools, 39, 54-65.
Snowling, M. J., & Bishop, D. V. M. (2000). Is preschool language impairment a risk
factor for dyslexia in adolescence? Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry &
Allied Disciplines, 41, 587-600.
Snowling, M. J., & Hayiou-Thomas, M. E. (2006). The syslexia spectrum: Continuities
between reading, speech, and language Impairments. Topics in Language
Disorders: Dyslexia in the Current Context, 26(2), 110-126.
- 308 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

So, D., & Siegel, L. S. (1997). Learning to read Chinese: Semantic, syntactic,
phonological and working memory skills in normally achieving and poor Chinese
readers. Reading and Writing, 9, 1-21.
Sporer, N., Brunstein, J. C., & Kieschke, U. (2009). Improving students' reading
comprehension skills: Effects of strategy instruction and reciprocal teaching.
Learning and Instruction, 19, 272-286.
Stanovich, K. E. (1980). Toward an interactive-compensatory model of individual
differences in the development of reading fluency. Reading Research Quarterly,
16, 32-71.
Swanson, L. A., Fey, M. E., Mills, C. E., & Hood, L. S. (2005). Use of Narrative-Based
Language Intervention with children who have Specific Language Impairment.
Amercian Journal of Speech Language Pathology, 14, 131-141.
T'sou, B. K. Y., Lee, H. T., Tung, P. C. S., Man, Y. H., Chan, A., To, K. S., et al. (2006).
Hong Kong Cantonese Oral Language Assessment Scale (HKCOLAS). Hong
Kong: City University of Hong Kong and Department of Health, The Government
of HKSAR.
Taboada, A., & Guthrie, J. T. (2006). Contributions of student questioning and prior
knowledge to construction of knowledge from reading information text. Journal
of Literacy Research, 38, 1 - 35.
Taboada, A., Tonks, S., Wigfield, A., & Guthrie, J. (2009). Effects of motivational and
cognitive variables on reading comprehension. Reading and Writing, 22(1),
85-106.
Takala, M. (2006). The effects of reciprocal teaching on reading comprehension in
mainstream and special (SLI) education. Scandinavian Journal of Educational
Research, 50, 559-576.
Talbott, E., Lloyd, J. W., & Tankersley, M. (1994). Effects of reading comprehension
interventions for students with learning disabilities. Learning Disability Quarterly,
17, 223-232.
Tomblin, J. B., Records, N. L., Buckwalter, P., Zhang, X., Smith, E., & O'Brien, M.
(1997). Prevalence of Specific Language Impairment in kindergarten children.
Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research, 40, 1245-1260.
Trabasso, T., & Bouchard, E. (2002). Teaching readers how to comprehend text
strategically. In C. C. Block & M. Pressley (Eds.), Comprehension Instruction:
Research-based Best Practices (pp. 176-200). London: Guilford Press.
Tse, S. K., Chan, W. S., Ho, W. K., Law, N., Lee, T., Shek, C., et al. (1995). Chinese
Language Education for the 21st century: A Hong Kong Prospective. Hong Kong
The University of Hong Kong
van den Broek, P. (1994). Comprehension and memory of narrative texts: Inferences and
coherence Handbook of psycholinguistics. (pp. 539-588): San Diego, CA, US:
Academic Press.
van Keer, H. (2004). Fostering reading comprehension in fifth grade by explicit
instruction in reading strategies and peer tutoring. British Journal of Educational
Psychology, 74(1), 37-70.
van Someren, M. W., Barnard, Y. F., & Sandbery, J. A. C. (1994). The Think Aloud
Method: A practical guide to modeling cognitive processes. San Diego: Academic
Press.
- 309 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Wanzek, J., Wexler, J., Vaughn, S., & Ciullo, S. (2007). Reading interventions for
struggling readers in the upper elementary grades: a synthesis of 20 years of
research. Reading and Writing. Retrieved from
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11145-009-9179-5
Wasik, B. A., Bond, M. A., & Hindman, A. (2006). The effects of a language and literacy
intervention on Head Start children and teachers. Journal of Educational
Psychology, 98, 63-74.
Wilder, A. A., & Williams, J. P. (2001). Students with severe learning disabilities can
learn higher order comprehension skills. Journal of Educational Psychology, 93,
268-278.
Williams, J. P. (2005). Instruction in reading comprehension for primary-grade students:
A focus on text structure. Journal of Special Education, 39, 6-18.
Williams, J. P., Hall, K. M., Lauer, K. D., Stafford, K. B., DeSisto, L. A., & deCani, J. S.
(2005). Expository text comprehension in the primary grade classroom. Journal of
Educational Psychology, 97, 538-550.
Winne, P. H., & Hadwin, A. F. (1998). Studying as self regulated learning. In J. Hacker, J.
Dunlosky & A. C. Graesser (Eds.), Metacognition in Educational Theory and
Practice (pp. 277-304). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Wittrock, M. C. (1978). The cognitive movement in instruction. Education Psychologist,
13, 15-29.
Wong, B. Y. L., & Jones, W. (1982). Increasing metacomprehension in learning disabled
and normal achieving students through self-questioning training. Learning
Disability Quarterly, 5, 228-240.
World Health Organization. (2010). International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) Instruction Manual (2nd ed.). Geneva: World Health Organization.
Yau, J.-l. C. (2005). Two Mandarin readers in Taiwan: Characteristics of children with
higher and lower reading proficiency levels. Journal of Research in Reading, 28,
108-124.
Zhang, Z. (1993). Literature review on reading strategy research. Annual Meeting of the
Mid-South Educational Research Association doi:ED366908

- 310 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Appendix
Appendix A
Panels feedback form
A number of text and questions will be used in this research project. Please circle the
number beside the statement that best describes the proposed text. There are no right or
wrong answer to these statements. Your answers will be kept confidential.
Text number: 101
Panels name: ___________

[The text was quoted and printed within this box

In terms of a normal achieving primary 2 students,


Items Content
Not at
all true
of me
1
The content of the text and its
1 2
questions is understandable
2
The theme of the text is
1 2
representable to students world
of knowledge
3
The length of the text and its
1 2
questions is appropriate
4
The difficulties of the questions
1 2
is appropriate

Sometimes
true of me
3

Always
true of
me
5
6

Very
true of
me
7

Any suggestions and comments:


___________________________________________________________________
- Thank you -

- 311 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

: 101
: _______________

[]


1
1 2
3 4

2
1 2
3 4

3
1 2
3 4

4
1
2
3 4

5
5

6
6

7
7

:
___________________________________________________________________

- 312 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Appendix B
Study Ones Text Comprehension Test Part I (Chinese Version)
(The original text are typed at font size 14 with 1.5 line spacing)

1.
A.
B.
C.
D.
2.
A.
B.
C.
D.
3.
A.
B.
C.
- 313 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

D.

4.
A.
B.
C.
D.
5.
A.
B.
C.
D.
6.
A.
B.
C.
D.

- 314 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

7.
A.
B.
C.
D.
8.
A.
B.
C.
D.
9.
A.
B.
C.
D.
10.
A.
B.
C.
D.
11.
A.
- 315 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

B.
C.
D.

- 316 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Appendix C
Study Twos Text Comprehension Test Part I (Chinese Version)
(All the text below are typed at font size 14 with 1.5 line spacing)

1.
A.
B.
C.
D.
2.
A.
B.
C.
D.
3.
A.
B.
C.
- 317 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

D.

4.
A.
B.
C.
D.
5.

A.
B.
C.
D.

6.
A.
B.
C.
D.
7.
A.
B.
C.
D.

- 318 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

8.
A.
B.
C.
D.
9.


A.
B.
C.
D.

10.
A.
B.
C.
D.
11.
A.
B.
C.
D.

- 319 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Appendix D
Administrative Procedure and Instruction for Measuring
Childrens Metacognitive Processing
(The original instruction was written in Chinese and translated into English as follows)
The instructor read the standard instruction in Cantonese to explain the procedure.
Hello, I am going to conduct an individual reading comprehension test with you.
This test was not the same as you did in Chinese language class. You are required
to read aloud the text in paragraph and some questions. You have to verbalize
everything you are thinking of at any time during the test. For example, you can
read aloud the words or stop reading the words but thinking about the passage or
comprehension questions, telling me what you are thinking about. It is called
think aloud procedure. To help you to get familiar with the new procedures, we
will have a small exercise and I will demonstrate how to think aloud during
reading the text. You may ask questions during the exercise. Afterwards, the
formal test will be started and the whole procedure will be audio-recorded. You
need not to be nervous or worry about your performance. Okay, do you
understand the procedure?

Turn open the cover of the exercise book. The students will see a picture and the
written title of the story. Then, the student was asked to turn to page 1 and read the first
paragraph in written Chinese.

Today, I and cousin go to a stream in Taipo (a place) to catch fish. We see the
stream which is clear. We are very happy. We jump to the water at once.
Then the student read the question underneath.

Do you think what we happen next? Why?


The instructor paused and waited students to reply. If the students stopped the
response for 10 seconds, the instructor presented the following.

Now, I am think aloud what I am thinking of.

- 320 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

When I found I can go fishing with my cousin in Taipo (a place). I feel very
excited. It is a long time that I havent play with my cousin. When I saw the stream,
I jumped into the water at once. I want to catch many fish. I havent catch fish
before. The fish is usually being bought by mother. I think the next step was the
cousin teaches me how to catch fish. My cousin should jump into water also and
teaches my how to fish. We will get many fish when we back home.
Then the student would go the next page. The student looked at the second
paragraph.

It is great! I catch a small fish! My cousin said. My cousin gives me a fish.


However, I cannot catch it and the fish runs away and back to water. My cousin
said, Dont sad. We can catch another one. Then, he puts the hand into water
and catches fish again.
Then the student read the second question underneath.

What is/are the problem(s)? How to solve it?


The instructor paused and waited students to reply. The instructor gave the student
some guideline to think aloud. These included:
A.
Tell me what you think first?
B.
You read one more time. You tell me what you are thinking
C.
Tell you what is inside your brain?
D.
Then tell me what you are think of or what are your feeling?
If the students stopped the response for 10 seconds, the instructor presented the
following.

Now, I am thinking aloud what I am thinking of.

Fishing is a difficult job. It is similar when I am learning to ride bicycle. Though


my sister teaches me patiently, I fall down many times. I think he should continue
to learn fishing from his cousin. He should pay attention to the demonstration and
slow the motion. He have to learn to put his hand into water to catch fish. Dont
give up. He should catch the fish firmly. It is similar when hold mothers arm
firmly during road crossing. Dont let the fish to go away. He can also get a
- 321 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

bucket to store the fish.


Then the student would go the next page. The student looked at the second
paragraph.

Suddenly, the cousin holds the mother fish. He put the mother fish into the bucket.
However, I remember what my grandma have said, When children lose their
parents, the children will be very poor. Then I let the mother fish away.
Then the student read the third question underneath.

Do you have any question aroused? How to solve it?


The instructor paused and waited students to reply. The instructor gave the student
some guideline to think aloud. These included:
A.
Tell me what you think first?
B.
You read one more time. You tell me what you are thinking
C.
Tell you what is inside your brain?
D.
If the students stopped the response for 10 seconds, the instructor presented the
following.

Now, I am thinking aloud what I am thinking of.

He is very happy. He catches the fish finally. He catches the mother fish. He is
skillful. However, I have a question. If the mother fish was caught, can its children
survive? I think if I lost my mother. I cannot figure out how it would be.
Then the instructor asked about the theme of the story.


What was the theme of this story?
The instructor paused and waited students to reply. If the students stopped the
response for 10 seconds, the instructor presented the following.

Now, I am thinking aloud what I am thinking of.


I think this story is to teach us not to selfish. Though it is very exciting when
- 322 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

catching fish, let us think more about the fish. If we were the fishes in the water; If
our mother was being caught, I would feel very poor. It was because no one would
cook for me and teach me knowledge. Therefore, we should not be selfish. We
should care others. In daily life, we have to be considerate and dont be selfish.

- 323 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Appendix E
Study Ones Text for Metacognitive Processing Scale
and Text Comprehension Test (Part II)
(The original instruction was written in Chinese and translated into English as follows)
There are altogether two A-4 size booklets (Book 1 and Book 2) printed with colorful
illustrations. The font size is 24 with 1.5 line spacing.
Book 1
Cover page
Titleand a picture
Page 1

(A related picture in the middle)

Do you think what we happen next? Why?


Page 2

(A related picture in the middle)

What is/are the problem(s)? How to solve it?


Page 3

(A related picture in the middle)

Do you have any question aroused? How to solve it?


Page 4


What was the theme of this story?

Book 2
Cover page
Titleand a picture
- 324 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Page 1

(A related picture in the middle)

Do you think what we happen next? Why?


Page 2

(A related picture in the middle)

What is/are the problem(s)? How to solve it?


Page 3

(A related picture in the middle)

Do you have any question aroused? How to solve it?


Page 4


What was the theme of this piece of texts?

- 325 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Appendix F
Study Twos Text for Metacognitive Processing Scale
and Text Comprehension Test (Part II)
(The original instruction was written in Chinese and translated into English as follows)
There are altogether two A-4 size booklets (Book 3 and Book 4) printed with colorful
illustrations. The font size is 24 with 1.5 line spacing.
Book 3
Cover page
Titleand a picture
Page 1

(A related picture in the middle)

Do you think what we happen next? Why?


Page 2

(A related picture in the middle)

What is/are the problem(s)? How to solve it?


Page 3

(A related picture in the middle)

Do you have any question aroused? How to solve it?


Page 4


What was the theme of this story?
Book 4

- 326 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Cover page
Titleand a picture
Page 1

(A related picture in the middle)

Do you think what we happen next? Why?


Page 2

(A related picture in the middle)

What is/are the problem(s)? How to solve it?


Page 3

(A related picture in the middle)

Do you have any question aroused? How to solve it?


Page 4


What was the theme of this piece of texts?

- 327 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Appendix G
Teacher-rated Students Classroom Engagement Questionnaire
Circle the number beside the statement that best describes the particular student showed
below during classroom learning. There are no right or wrong answer to these statements.
Your answers will be kept confidential.
School: ________ Name: ________ Class: ______ Number: ________ Date: ________
Teachers name: ________
Items Content
Not at
Sometimes
Always
Very
all true
true of me true of me true of
of me
me
1
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
S/he shows interest in reading
for pleasure
2
1
2
3 4
5 6
7
S/he is able to put new
information into his/her own
words
3
1
2
3 4
5 6
7
S/he is able to remember the
details of what was read
4
1
2
3 4
5 6
7
S/he can understand text
questions
5
1
2
3 4
5 6
7
S/he avoid reading text or
technical material
6
1
2
3 4
5 6
7
S/he can take notes during or
after reading
7
1
2
3 4
5 6
7
S/he shows problems following
written directions
8
1
2
3 4
5 6
7
S/he takes too long to read and
understand
9
1
2
3 4
5 6
7
S/he is able to organize his/her
thoughts
10
1
2
3 4
5 6
7
S/he has adequate spoken
vocabulary compared to his/her
peers
11
1
2
3 4
5 6
7
S/he finds it hard to stay focused
when reading aloud #
12
1
2
3 4
5 6
7
S/he expresses information as
quickly as his/her peers
13
1
2
3 4
5 6
7
S/he can read aloud simple
sentences from the text book
- 328 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

14

S/he can discover mistakes after


completing the written
assignment

15

S/he produce more pauses due to


words s/he cannot read while
reading than do his/her peers *

16

S/he show more particularly


severe literacy problem than
other aspects

17

S/he always read the word


wrong

18

S/he enjoys learning in the


classroom

19

S/he has a poor self image or


feel that s/he is stupid

20

S/he always avoids the learning


tasks

- 329 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

: ___ : ____ : _____ : _____ :____ : ____


1
1 2
3 4
5 6
7
/

2
1 2
3 4
5 6
7
/

3
1 2
3 4
5 6
7
/

4
1 2
3 4
5 6
7
/
5
1 2
3 4
5 6
7
/
6
1 2
3 4
5 6
7
/

7
1 2
3 4
5 6
7
/

8
1 2
3 4
5 6
7
/

9
1 2
3 4
5 6
7
/

10
1 2
3 4
5 6
7
/

11
1 2
3 4
5 6
7
/
12
1 2
3 4
5 6
7
/

13
1 2
3 4
5 6
7
/
14
1 2
3 4
5 6
7
/

15
1 2
3 4
5 6
7
/

16
1 2
3 4
5 6
7
/

17
1 2
3 4
5 6
7
/
18
1 2
3 4
5 6
7
/
19
1 2
3 4
5 6
7
/
- 330 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

20

- 331 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Appendix H
Study Twos instruction for One-to-one Interview
(The original instruction was written in Chinese and translated into English as follows)

Instruction: The interviewer read the standard instruction in Cantonese to explain the
think aloud procedure. The original instruction was written in Chinese and translated into
English as follows,
Hello, I am going to talk with you about something related to reading. There are
altogether seven questions. You can answer my questions as much as you can It is
not an examination and there is no correct or wrong answers. Your response will
be audio-recorded. You need not to be nervous or worry about your performance. .
It is just like talking with your classmates or teachers. Okay, do you understand
the procedure?
7

Afterward, the interview started. The interview questions was written in Chinese in
one question one page format and spoken by the interviewers in Cantonese. The written
question was translated into English as follows,
1.
Question 1: What is reading?
Then the interviewer paused and waited for the reply. Whatever the student replied
or not, the interviewer then asked prompt questions to facilitate students response in the
following order.
A. ? What do you say like that?
B. ? Anything you want to add?
C. ? Can you elaborate more?
D. ?Is it enough?
Then the interviewer turned the next page and asked another questions.
2.
Question 2: What is the goal of reading?
Then the interviewer paused and waited for the reply. Whatever the student replied
or not, the interviewer then asked prompt questions to facilitate students response in the
following order.
A. ? What do you say like that?
B. ? Anything you want to add?
C. ? Can you elaborate more?
D. ?Is it enough?
Then the interviewer turned the next page and asked another questions.
3.
- 332 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Question 3: What should I do to become a skillful reader?


Then the interviewer paused and waited for the reply. Whatever the student replied
or not, the interviewer then asked prompt questions to facilitate students response in the
following order.
A. ? What do you say like that?
B. ? Anything you want to add?
C. ? Can you elaborate more?
D. ?Is it enough?
Then the interviewer turned the next page and asked another questions.
4.
Question 4: What is the main difficulty encountered during reading?Please give
an example.
Then the interviewer paused and waited for the reply. Whatever the student replied
or not, the interviewer then asked prompt questions to facilitate students response in the
following order.
A. ? What do you say like that?
B. ? Anything you want to add?
C. ? Can you elaborate more?
D. ?Is it enough?
Then the interviewer turned the next page and asked another questions.
5.
Question 5: Do you enjoy reading storybook? Why?
Then the interviewer paused and waited for the reply. Whatever the student replied
or not, the interviewer then asked prompt questions to facilitate students response in the
following order.
A. ? What do you say like that?
B. ? Anything you want to add?
C. ? Can you elaborate more?
D. ?Is it enough?
Then the interviewer turned the next page and asked another questions.
6.
Question 6: What will you do when you are reading?
Then the interviewer paused and waited for the reply. Whatever the student replied
or not, the interviewer then asked prompt questions to facilitate students response in the
following order.
A. ? What do you say like that?
B. ? Anything you want to add?
C. ? Can you elaborate more?
D. ?Is it enough?
Then the interviewer turned the next page and asked another questions.
7.
Question 7: Do you think you are a skillful reader? Why?
Then the interviewer paused and waited for the reply. Whatever the student replied
or not, the interviewer then asked prompt questions to facilitate students response in the
- 333 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

following order.
A. ? What do you say like that?
B. ? Anything you want to add?
C. ? Can you elaborate more?
D. ?Is it enough?

- 334 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Appendix I
Study Twos Sample Lesson Plan and Worksheet for the Experimental Group
(Lesson 4 and Lesson 10)
I.
II.

The instruction is present in Cantonese and text is at font 24 with 1.5 line spacing
The worksheet is presented at font 16 with double spacing

Goal of the Lesson 4 (XX-XX-2008: 4:00-4:45pm)


A.
B.
C.
D.

Revision of the use of activating prior knowledge to predict what will come
next.
Revision of the strategies of clarifying difficult words
Apply new reading strategies problem solving.
Apply the new strategies of summarization by using story map.

Preparation in advance
1. The passage was already saved in the format of Microsoft Powerpoint.
2. The projector and the classroom desktop computer were ready.
3. The passage and exercise handout was ready at one-student one-handout basis.
4. Home-practice worksheets were ready
Task 1 (4:00-4:10)
1. Participant will be divided among 3 groups (3-4 participants in each group) and one
of them will be elected as a leader. Each group will compete with other groups to win
a prize at the end of the lesson.
2. The instructor will brief the goal of this lesson and delivered the passage with
graphics.
The passage Winner in the long run

Paragraph 1

Paragraph 2

Paragraph 3

- 335 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Paragraph 4

3. The instructor will use question and answer format for the revision of using of
activating prior knowledge to predict what will come next and the strategies of
clarifying difficult words. The group who can answer the question correctly can get a
credit.
Suggested questions:
What will you think when you are reading the text?
(Answer: Predicting what will come next)
What would you do when encountering difficult words?

(Answer: Guess the idea from the text nearby)


4. The instructor will present the first slide that is the first paragraph. The instructor will
ask the participants to read aloud the text word by word. The instructor will facilitate
a brief discussion about the title of the story.
What does a rabbit look like?

Task 2 (4:10-4:30)
1. The instructor will project the text on the screen paragraph by paragraph. The
instructor will ask the participants to read aloud the text word by word.
2. After reading aloud one paragraph, the instructor will facilitate the discussion by
prompting questions, What was the story about? One or
two groups will be selected to present. Credit will be given to the group with
satisfactory performance.
3. After their presentation, the instructor will model the reading strategies of problem
solving with the prompting question, (the character) would encounter what sort of
problems? Do you have similar experience? How can (the character) overcome the
problem?
The participants will try to answer instructors
questions. Other participants can join the discussion to help him/her. They altogether
practice the targeted reading strategy.
4. If participants shows difficult and dead air comes, the instructor will provide some
further prompting questions,

Have you won any match before? Please use your experience t guess what
will happen next.

When rabbit becomes lazy, what problem will the rabbit face?

If you were the rabbit, what would you do?


5. At the second paragraph, the instructor will first model the strategy when then ask the
- 336 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

participants to share their view.


6. At the third and forth paragraphs, the instructor will fade out the modeling and let the
groups to discuss among themselves.
7. Credit will be given to the group which active participate in the discussion.
Task 3 (4:30-4:42)
1. The instructor will use question-and-answer format to organize the important story
components. These questions will be 1) Who were the main characters; 2) What was
his/her problem; 3) What did he/she do; 4) What happen at the end of the story; 5)
Was the happen good or bad and why?
2. The instructor will first introduce the story map on the blackboard and group the
answers together. Participants may not write the every word of the whole sentence
and allow them to draw relevant pictures instead.
3. One participant from a group will try to summarize the story with the content outlined
as in the story map.

Roundup (4:42-4:45)
1. The instructor will present a prize as reinforcement to the winning group(s).
2. The instructor will conclude the lesson and give the home-practice worksheet.

- 337 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

WORKSHEET (Lesson 4)

1.
[]
2.
[]

1.

2.

1.

2.

- 338 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

- 339 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

- 340 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Goal of the Lesson 10 (XX-X-2009: 4:00-4:45pm)


A. Learn to identify the clue words.
B. Self-generate compare-contrast questions.
C. Make use the graphic organizer to work on self-generated compare-contrast
questions.
Preparation in advance
1. The passage has been already saved in the format of Microsoft Powerpoint.
2. The projector and the classroom desktop computer are ready.
3. The passage and exercise handout (including a cloze sentence worksheet) are ready at
one-student one-handout basis.
4. Home-practice worksheets are ready
Task 1 (4:00-4:10)
1. Participant will be divided among 3 groups (3-4 participants in each group) and one
of them will be elected as a leader. Each group will compete with other groups to win
a prize at the end of the lesson.
2. The instructor will brief the goal of this lesson and delivered the passage with
graphics.
3. The instructor will facilitate a brief discussion about the title of the story.
What do a whale and a dolphin look like?

The passage Mammals in the sea

Paragraph 1

Paragraph 2

Paragraph 3

Task 2 (4:10-4:30)
1. The instructor will project the text on the screen paragraph by paragraph. The
instructor will ask the participants to read aloud the text word by word.
2. After reading aloud one paragraph, the instructor will facilitate the discussion by
- 341 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

3.

4.

5.
6.
7.

prompting questions, What was the paragraph about?


One or two groups will be selected to present. Credit will be given to the group with
satisfactory performance.
After their presentation, the instructor will model the reading strategies of
self-questioning with the prompting question, Have you got new questions you
want to know? The participants will
try to answer instructors questions. Other participants can join the discussion to help
him/her. They altogether practice the targeted reading strategy. Participants and other
members can join to answer the self-generated question.
If participants shows difficult and dead air comes, the instructor will provide some
further prompting questions,

Can you swim? Do you know how the little whale and little dolphin how to
swim?

How our mothers protect us? Do you know how the dolphin mother protect
their children?

Have you seen Sousa chinensis before?


At the second paragraph, the instructor will first model the strategy when then ask the
participants to share their view.
At the third and forth paragraphs, the instructor will fade out the modeling and let the
groups to discuss among themselves.
Credit will be given to the group which active participate in the discussion.

Task 3 (4:30-4:42)
1. Instructor will introduce some clue words usually appeared in expository text to
signal the sameness of two parts of the content.
2. The instructor will ask each group to find the clue words from the text and highlight
the relevant content. Credit will be given to group with satisfactory performance.
3. The instructor first introduce the graphic organizer on the blackboard and group the
answers together. Students may not write the every word of the whole sentence and
allow them to draw relevant pictures instead.
4. One participant from a group will try to summarize the text with the content outlined
as in the graphic organizer. Credit will be given to group with satisfactory
performance.
Roundup (4:42-4:45)
1. The instructor will present a prize as reinforcement to the winning group(s).
2. The instructor will conclude the lesson and give the home-practice worksheet.

- 342 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Appendix J
Study Twos Sample Lesson Plan and Worksheet for the Control Group
(Lesson 4 and Lesson 10)
I.
II.

The instruction is present in Cantonese and text is at font 24 with 1.5 line spacing
The worksheet is presented at font 16 with double spacing

Goal of the Lesson 4 (XX-XX-2008: 3:00-3:45pm)


A. Learn the lexicons specified in the prescribed text.
B. Apply the lexicons on sentence making task.
Preparation in advance
1.
The passage has been already saved in the format of Microsoft Powerpoint.
2.
The projector and the classroom desktop computer are ready.
3.
The passage and exercise handout are ready at one-student one-handout basis.
4.
Home-practice worksheets are ready
Task 1 (3:00-3:15)
1. The instructor will brief the goal of this lesson and deliver the handout.
2. The students will divide among 3 groups (3-4 students in each group) and elected one
of them as leader.
3. The instructor will present the text through the projector at one-paragraph one slide
basis. Each slide is accompanied with a relevant color-drawing illustration. The target
words will be highlighted.
4. Each group will be required to read aloud each paragraph.
The passage Winner in the long run

Paragraph 1

Paragraph 2

Paragraph 3

- 343 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Paragraph 4

Task 2 (3:15-3:30)
1. The instructor will write the target words on the blackboard.
2. The instructor will introduce the stroke patterns of each word and lets the groups to
practice.
3. Groups have to compete to match the target words with the meaning.
Task 3 (3:30-3:40)
1. Groups have to compete to self-generate sentences used the target words verbally.
2. The instructor will give the comments to each group in terms of the appropriateness.
Task 4 (3:40-3:45)
1. The instructor will present the reinforcement to the winning group.
2. The instructor will conclude the lesson and give the home-practice worksheet.

- 344 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

WORKSHEET (Lesson 4)

1.

1.
2.

()
1.

2.

()

3.

()

4.

()

5.

() _____

6.

()

()

- 345 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

7.

()

8.

()

- 346 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

Goal of the Lesson 10 (XX-X-2009: 3:00-3:45pm)


A. Learn the lexicons specified in the prescribed text.
B. Apply the lexicons on sentence making task.
Preparation in advance
1. The passage have been already saved in the format of Microsoft Powerpoint.
2. The projector and the classroom desktop computer are ready.
3. The passage and exercise handout (including a cloze sentence worksheet) are ready at
one-student one-handout basis.
4. Home-practice worksheets are ready
Task 1 (3:00-3:15)
1. The instructor will brief the goal of this lesson and deliver the handout.
2. The students will divide among 3 groups (3-4 students in each group) and elected one
of them as leader.
3. The instructor will present a video clips about the dolphins and whales in the sea to
arouse students attention.
4. The instructor will present the text through the projector at one-paragraph one slide
basis. Each slide is accompanied with a relevant color-drawing illustration. The target
words will be highlighted.
The passage Mammals in the sea

Paragraph 1

Paragraph 2

Paragraph 3

Paragraph 4

5. Each group was required to read aloud each paragraph.


Task 2 (3:15-3:30)
1. The instructor will write the target words on the blackboard.
2. The instructor will use the question-and-answer strategies to introduce the meaning of
each target word.
3. The instructor will introduce the stroke patterns of each word and lets the groups to
- 347 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

practice.
4. Groups have to compete to match the target words with the meaning.
Task 3 (3:30-3:40)
1. Groups have to compete to cloze sentence worksheet with the target words.
2. The instructor will give the comments to each group in terms of the appropriateness.
Task 4 (3:40-3:45)
1. The instructor will score the worksheet and present the reinforcement to the winning
group.
2. The instructor will conclude the lesson and give the home-practice worksheet.

- 348 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

WORKSHEET (Lesson 10)

1.

1.
2.

3 (The actual grid is 1. 5cm X 1. 5cm)

1.

__________________ (5 ) _____________ (3 )

2.

______________ (2 )
__________________ (4 )
- 349 -

COGNITIVE READING STRATEGIES INSTRUCTION FOR CHILDREN WITH SLI

3.

_____________ (2 )

4.

_____________ (2 )_____________
(2 )

- 350 -