We hypothesized that computer tools that provide models, opportunity for higher level thinking, and metacognitivelike guidance (e.g., "Can I conjure up an image of the story?") can serve in a learner's zone of proximal development (Vygotsky, 1978); they can develop competencies through internalization. A computerized Reading Partner presented four reading principles and metacognitivelike questions during the reading of 11 texts over three reading sessions. It was compared with one version that presented the texts with factual and inferential questions and a control version that presented only the texts. Seventh graders using the Reading Partner (n = 25) reported the expenditure of more mental effort in the process, showed far better metacognitive reconstruction, and improved significantly more in their later reading comprehension and in the quality of their written essays than did the subjects in the other groups. Improvements in reading and writing were statistically accounted for by subjects' ability for metacognitive reconstruction. The study reinforces previous findings pertaining to the role of metacognitions in reading and shows that well-designed computer tools can cultivate competence.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology