Developing higher-order reading skills in mainstream primary schools : a metacognitive and self-regulatory approach

Moir, Taryn and Boyle, James and Woolfson, Lisa M. (2020) Developing higher-order reading skills in mainstream primary schools : a metacognitive and self-regulatory approach. British Educational Research Journal, 46 (2). pp. 399-420. ISSN 0141-1926 (

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The ability to read relies upon not just decoding, but also comprehending text. Being a good comprehender requires strategic reading and implies the use of comprehension strategies. Research indicates that readers who are taught several reading comprehension strategies have better reading skills than those only taught a single strategy. One multiple strategy reading comprehension intervention was evaluated using a mixed-model quasi-experimental design. Intervention and control conditions groups were assessed at pre- and post-test points with standardised reading comprehension abilities, measured as the primary outcome measure. Implementation science principles were observed and evaluated. The schools all served areas of low socio-economic status. 74 pupils (aged 9–10) in five classes in four primary-level mainstream schools in a Scottish local authority were recruited as participants. Training was provided to participating schools by the first author and the programme was delivered in four sessions of 45 minutes per week for 8 weeks. An ANCOVA revealed a statistically significant effect of condition. Statistically significant scores were also evident in the secondary outcome measures of decoding of target word skills, children’s self-reports of their reading strategy use and recreational reading frequency. Implementation tools indicated that the intervention was acceptable and feasible to implement. Implications of introducing this multiple strategy reading comprehension programme and of the evaluation of implementation are discussed.


Moir, Taryn, Boyle, James ORCID logoORCID: and Woolfson, Lisa M. ORCID logoORCID:;