The Effect of Explicit Instruction of Metacognitive Reading Strategies on ESP Reading Comprehension in Academic Settings

Parviz Ajideh, Mohammad Zohrabi, Kazem Pouralvar


This study investigated the effect of explicit instruction of metacognitive reading strategies on ESP reading comprehension among university students in Iran. Strategy instruction has recently been integrated into language teaching methodologies, stressing that successful language learners take advantage of appropriate strategy selection and application in order to develop better language skills. Poor learners, on the other hand, fail to know how to use strategies and for what purposes. There has been ample research on the impact of explicit strategy instruction on the EFL learners’ language skills. These studies indicate the effectiveness of strategy instruction on the various aspects of language learning such as skill development among EFL learners but the notion of the effectiveness of strategy instruction on ESP reading comprehension in university level has not been much scrutinized in Iranian context. The participants in this study included undergraduate first and second year students studying Islamic Art and Architecture Engineering at Tabriz Islamic Art University. A randomized subjects and posttest-only control group design was employed in this study. The number of students in Art control and experimental groups was 28 and the one for Architecture control and experimental group was 26 students. The participants in the experimental groups received explicit instruction of metacognitive reading strategies through the Cognitive Academic Language Learning Approach (CALLA) for strategy instruction. The results of independent t-test revealed that the students in the experimental groups outperformed those in the control groups and showed greater achievement in their ESP reading comprehension ability.


Reading strategies, Explicit metacognitive strategy instruction, ESP reading comprehension, CALLA

Full Text:



Ajideh, P., Gholami, V. (2014).Learning styles as predicators of students’ test performance. English Language Teaching,(1)3, 1-17.

Anderson, N. J. (1991). Individual differences in strategy use in second language reading and testing. Modern Language Journal, 75(4), 461-472.

Anderson, N. J., (2002). The role of metacognition in second/foreign language teaching and learning. ERIC Digest. Washington DC.

Anderson, N. J., (2005). L2 Learning Strategies. In E. Hinkel (Ed.), Handbook of Research in Second Language Teaching and Learning. (pp. 757-771). Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. New Jersey.

Anderson, N. J., &Vandergrif, L. (1996). Increasing Metacognitive Awareness in the L2 Classroom by Using Think-aloud Protocols and Other Verbal Report Formats. In R. L. Oxford (Ed.), Language Learning Strategies Around the World: Crosscultural Prespectives (pp. 3-18). National Foreign Language Resource Center. Manoa: University of Hawaii Press.

Ary, D., Jacobs, L. C., Razavieh, A., & Sorenson, C. K. (2006).Introduction to research in education. Belmont, CA: Thomson Higher Education.

Brown, H. D. (2002). Strategies for success: A practical guide to learning English. New York, Longman.

Chamot, A. U. (2005). The Cognitive Academic Language Learning Approach (CALLA):An update. In P. A. Richard-Amato & M. A. Snow (Eds.), Academic success for English language learners: Strategies for K-12 mainstream teachers(pp. 87-101). White Plains, NY: Longman.

Chamot, A. U., Barnhardt, S., El-Dinary, P. B., & Robbins, J. (1999).The learning strategies handbook. New York: Longman.

Chamot, A. U., & O’Malley, M. (1994). The CALLA handbook: Implementing the cognitive academic language learning approach. White Plains, NY: Addison Wesley Longman.

Chamot, A. U., & Rubin, J. (1994). Comments on Janie Rees-Miller’s ‘A critical appraisal of learner training theoretical bases and teaching implications.’ TESOL Quarterly, 28(4),771-781.

Cheng, C. H., (2002).Effects of listening strategy instruction on junior highschool students. In J. E. Katchen (Ed.), Selected papers from the Eleventh International Symposium on English Teaching/ Fourth Pan Asian Conference. (289-297). Taipei, Taiwan.

Chien, C. N., & Kao, L. H., (2002). Effects of metacognitive strategy on listening comprehension with EFL learners. In J. E. Katchen (Ed.), Selected papers from the Eleventh International Symposium on English Teaching/ Fourth Pan Asian Conference. (pp. 298-307) Taipei, Taiwan.

Cohen, A. D., (1996a). Second Language Learning and Use Strategies: Clarifying the Issues. CARLA Working Paper Series #3. Minneapolis, MN: The University of Minnesota.

Cohen, A. D., (1998). Strategies in learning and using a second language. New York: Longman.

Cohen, A. D., & Olshtain, E. (1993) The production of speech acts by EFL learners. TESOL Quarterly, 27(1), 33-56.

Cohen, A. D., & Scott, K. (1996). A synthesis of approaches to assessing language learning strategies. In R. L. Oxford (Ed.), Language learning strategies around the world: Crosscultural perspectives (pp. 89-106). Manoa: University of Hawaii Press.

Cohen, A. D., Weaver, S. J., & Li, T.-Y. (1998). The impact of strategies-based instruction on speaking a foreign language. In A. D. Cohen (Ed.), Strategies in learning and using a second language (pp. 107-156). London: Longman.

Dickinson, L. (1987). Self-instruction in language learning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Dörnyei, Z. (1995). On the teachability of communication strategies. TESOL Quarterly,29(1), 55-85.

Ellis, G., & Sinclair, B. (eds.). (1989). Learning to learn English learner’s book: A course in learner training (Vol. 1). Cambridge University Press.

Gass, S. & Mackey, A. (2000). Stimulated recall methodology in second language research. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Goh, C., (1997).Metacognitive awareness and second language listeners.ELT Journal, 51, 361-369.

Graham, S., & Harris, K. (2000).The role of self-regulation and transcription skills in writing and writing development. Educational Psychologist, 35(1), 3-12.

He, T. H., (2002). Goal orientations, writing strategies, and written outcomes: An experimental study. In J. E. Katchen (Ed.), Selected papers from the Eleventh International Symposium on English Teaching/ Fourth Pan Asian Conference.(pp. 198-207), Taipei, Taiwan.

Hsiao, T. Y., & Oxford, R. L. (2002). Comparing theories of language learning strategies: A confirmatory factor analysis. Modern Language Journal, 86(3), 368-383.

Khaokaew, B. (2012). An Investigation of Explicit Strategy Instruction on EFL Reading of Undergraduate English Majors in Thailand.Unpublished PhD dissertation. University of Bedfordshire

Moghadam, M. Kh. (2008). The effect of strategies-based instruction on student’s reading comprehension of ESP texts. MirzaKoochak Khan Higher Fisheries Education Centre. Rasht, Iran.

Mokhtari, K., & Shoerey, R. (2002). Measuring ESL students’ awareness of reading strategies. Journal of Developmental Education, 25(3), 2-10.

Naiman, N., Fröhlich, M., &Todesco, A. (1975).The good language learner. Toronto: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.

Nunan, D. (1991). Language Teaching Methodology: A Textbook for Teachers. New York: Prentice-Hall.

Nunan, D. (1995a). Closing the gap between learning and instruction. TESOL Quarterly, 29(1), 133-158.

Nunan, D. (1995b). Atlas: Learning-centered communication. Levels 1-4. Boston, MA: Heinle & Heinle Pub.

Nunan, D. (1996). Learner strategy training in the classroom: An action research study. TESOL Journal, 6(1), 35-41.

Nunan, D. (1997). Does learner strategy training make a difference? Language Modernas, 24, 123-142.

O’Malley, J. M., & Chamot, A. U. (1990). Learning strategies in second language acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Oxford, R. L. (1990). Language learning strategies and beyond: A look at strategies in the context of styles. In S. S. Megan (Ed.),Shifting the instructional focus to the learner. (pp. 35-55). Middlebury, VT: Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Language.

Oxford, R. L. (2001). Language learning strategies. In R. Carter & D. Nunan (Eds.), The Cambridge guide to teaching English to speakers of other languages.(pp. 166-172).Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Oxford, R. L. (1993). Style Analysis Survey (SAS). Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama.

Oxford, R. L., & Burry-Stock, J. A. (1995). Assessing the use of language learning strategies worldwide with the ESL/EFL version with the strategy inventory of language learning (SILL). System, 23(1), 1-23.

Oxford, R. L., Lavine, R. L., Felkins, G., Hollaway, M. E., Saleh, S. (1996). Telling their stories: Language students use diaries and recollection. In R. L. Oxford (Ed.), Language learning strategies around the world: Crosscultural perspectives (pp. 89-106). Manoa: University of Hawaii Press.

Oxford, R. L., & Leaver, B. L., (1996). A synthesis of strategy instruction for language learners. In R. L. Oxford (Ed.), Language learning strategies around the world: Crosscultural perspectives (pp. 227-246). National Foreign Language Resource Center. Manoa: University of Hawaii Press.

Oxford, R., L., &Crookall, D. (1989). Research on language learning strategies: Methods, findings, and instructional issues. The Modern Language Journal, 73(4), 404-419.

Rees-Miller, J., (1993). A critical appraisal of learner training: Theoretical bases and teaching implications. TESOL Quarterly, 27, 679-689.

Rees-Miller, J., (1994). The author responds. TESOL Quarterly, 28, 776-781.

Riley, L. D., & Harsch, K., (1999). Enhancing the learning experience with strategy journal: Supporting the diverse learning styles of ESL/EFL students. Proceedings of the HERDSA Annual International Conference, Melbourne, Australia. Retrieved on October 25, 2016 from

Rossi-Le, L. (1995).Learning styles and strategies in adult immigrant ESL students. In J. M. Reid (Ed.), Learning styles in the ESL/EFL classroom(pp. 118-125). Boston: Heinle & Heinle.

Rubin, J. (1981). Study of cognitive processes in language learning.Applied Linguistics. 2(2), 117-131.

Sheorey, R., & Mokhtari, K. (2001). Differences in the metacognitive awareness of reading strategies among native and non-native readers. System, 29(4), 431-449.

Takallou, F. (2011). The effect of metacognitive strategy instruction on EFL learners’ reading comprehension performance and metacognitive awareness. Asian EFL Journal, 12, 272-300.

Tavakoli, H., Koosha, M., (2016).The effect of explicit metacognitive strategy instruction on reading comprehension and self-efficacy beliefs: The case of Iranian university EFL students. PortaLinguarum, 25, 119-133.

Vandergrift, L., (1997). The strategies of second language (French) listeners: A descriptive study. Foreign Language Annals, 30, 387-409.

Vandergrift, L., (1999). Facilitating second language listening comprehension: Acquiring successful strategies. ELT Journal, 53, 168-176.

Vandergrift, L., (2002). It was nice to see that our predictions were right: Developing metacognition in L2 listening comprehension. The Canadian Modern Language Review, 58, 555-575.

Willing, K. (1990).Teaching how to learn. Sydney, Australia. National Center for English Language Teaching and Research.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2012-2021 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the journal emails into your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.