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Cognitive and metacognitive strategy use in first and second language reading comprehension

Osuji, Chinedu J (2017) Cognitive and metacognitive strategy use in first and second language reading comprehension. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

This thesis explored cognitive and metacognitive strategy use in first and second language reading comprehension (RC) among Igbo native speakers who are English as Second Language (ESL) learners in Nigeria. The RC of ESL readers in Nigeria has not previously been investigated. The three studies presented in this thesis explored cognitive and metacognitive strategy use in RC performance in Igbo (study 1), the effect of L2 language proficiency and vocabulary size on the use of cognitive and metacognitive strategies in ESL reading (study 2), and the effect of cognitive and metacognitive strategy use on ESL RC (study 3), respectively. To explore cognitive and metacognitive strategy use on first language RC performance (study 1), participants did RC tasks in Igbo and completed a reading comprehension strategies (RCSs) questionnaire. Participants reported a medium usage level for ten out of the fourteen reading strategies shortlisted for the investigation. Regression analysis suggests that their RC strategy use explained a significant variance (28.6%) in the Igbo reading scores of the students. No significant difference was recorded in the participants’ reported use of cognitive and metacognitive strategies during the reading task. In study 2, in addition to doing RC tasks in English and completing an RCSs questionnaire, participants sat English language proficiency and vocabulary size tests. High vocabulary size was significantly related to high use of cognitive reading strategies, while low vocabulary size was related to low use of cognitive reading strategies. L2 language proficiency had no effect on RCS use, and reading comprehension strategy use had no effect on RC performance. In study 3, participants did another set of reading tasks and completed a RCSs questionnaire. Cognitive and metacognitive strategy use jointly had a significant positive effect on RC performance, but only metacognitive strategy use uniquely contributed significantly to RC performance. The usage levels for cognitive and metacognitive strategies distinguished high performers from low performers in the RC test, but the cognitive strategy of translation was hardly used by this group of ESL readers. The study finally drew some general conclusions by comparing results from the various studies. This study is an attempt to create awareness among teachers and students in Nigerian schools, on the effect of reading strategies on reading comprehension performance. The findings in the study may therefore contribute in changing how teachers in Nigeria teach reading, and how readers undertake the processing of written text, since it makes it clear that reading strategies, particularly metacognitive strategies substantially facilitate RC. From a theoretical point of view, this study examines the role of cognitive and metacognitive strategy use within the compensatory model of L2 reading, and assesses how they relate to knowledge sources like vocabulary knowledge in the model.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Language and Linguistics, Department of
Depositing User: Chinedu Osuji
Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2017 11:54
Last Modified: 27 Jun 2017 11:54
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/19961

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