Your Child Needs This Skill: Metacognition

Simply put, metacognition is the ability to think about thinking.  Metacognition implies an understanding of your own thought process.  When reading, we instinctively infer meaning, guess what the characters will do, make links between earlier texts or quiz ourselves to understand what is happening.  This goes beyond literal comprehension and factual knowledge.

Deep Reading

When we metacognise we put information in context, connecting it to prior knowledge, interpreting, analyzing and contrasting it to previously held understanding. We employ all these metacognitive skills to detect the deep meaning – which is why I call it deep reading.

Can Your Child Do This?

Children need to learn this skill. Some of them pick it up easily – these are the children who master fluency, decoding, vocabulary and language structure easily. By high school teachers assume all children have mastered it.  The reality is many don’t and they struggle behind, not excelling where they should be.  The good news is that metacognition can be taught and through practice – extensive practice – it will become second nature.

From deep reading and understanding – comes the ability to use the knowledge you have gained in all your reading to do something exciting, like creating or designing, using critical thinking, or making theories and hypotheses.

Metacognition Reading Strategies

A student needs to learn how to use metacognitive strategies to develop a deep understanding of the text. It’s a skill that includes planning, active reading strategies and fix-up strategies. Think of metacognition as the pinnacle of reading – it will add a richness to your child’s enjoyment of reading and provide a life long skill essential for today’s knowledge economy. This pyramid shows the development from beginner’s cognitive skills such as phonological sounding in Grade 1 to language structure to reading with advanced understanding.

Metacognitive Reading Tip #1

When your child is reading – get them to ask themselves the following questions:


For 7 Great Comprehension strategies check this out.

For more info on metacognition check out:


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