European Journal of Psychology of Education

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 509–529 | Cite as

Effects of strategy training on reading comprehension in first and foreign language

  • Peter E. Bimmel
  • Huub van den Bergh
  • Ron J. Oostdam


In this article we report on the effects of an experimental programme to train reading strategies. Students had to work in pairs on the execution of reading tasks following a consciousness-raising method, consisting of an orientation phase in which they explore the reading tasks and select a reading strategy, a practice/application phase in which actual performance takes place and a verbalisation phase, in which the steps that lead to a correct solution must be formulated explicitly. The programme was directed to four reading strategies: looking for key fragments, paying attention to structure marking elements (hinge words), making up questions (questioning) and mapping the most important information from a text (semantic mapping). On the basis of this programme 15-year old Dutch students from the third year of regular secondary education (N=12) have been trained in applying these reading strategies when reading in their first language (Dutch). The results have been compared with those of a control group (N=119). We will show that the training programme has an effect on the mastery of the four strategic reading activities and leads to a substantial improvement of the reading comprehension in the first language (Dutch). Transfer effects to reading in a foreign language (English) could not be ascertained.

Key words

Metacognition Reading comprehension Reading strategy training Regular secondary education Transfer from L1 to L2 


Dans cet article nous donnons un compte-rendu des effets d’un programme expérimental pour enseigner l’utilisation de stratégies de lecture. Le programme instruit des élèves de l’enseignement secondaire aux Pays-Bas, âgés de 15 ans (N=12) à appliquer quatre stratégies de lecture en lisant des textes dans leur langue maternelle, le néerlandais. Ces quatre stratégies sont: (a) identifier des fragments-clés dans un texte; (b) utiliser des éléments qui structurent un texte; (c) poser des questions sur le texte; (d) retransmettre les informations-clés sur une carte sémantique. En ce qui concerne la didactique, le programme fait travailler les élèves en groupes de deux. Pour chaque stratégie ils doivent parcourir un trajet en trois phases et répéter plusieurs fois ce trajet: une phase d’orientation pendant laquelle les élèves explorent une tâche de lecture et une stratégie appropriée; une phase d’exercice pendant laquelle les élèves apprennent à exécuter la stratégie; et une phase de verbalisation explicite pendant laquelle les élèves prennent conscience des activités qui ont mené à une solution satisfaisante de la tâche de lecture. Les résultats du programme ont été comparés à ceux d’un groupe de contrôle (N=119). Les analyses montrent que le programme expérimental a un effet positif sur la capacité des élèves à exécuter les quatre stratégies et mène à une amélioration de leur compréhension écrite en langue maternelle (le néerlandais). Par contre, aucun effet de transfert vers la lecture dans une langue étrangère (langlais) n’a pu être constaté.


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Copyright information

© Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada, Lisbon, Portugal/ Springer Netherlands 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter E. Bimmel
    • 1
  • Huub van den Bergh
    • 2
  • Ron J. Oostdam
    • 3
  1. 1.Graduate School of Teaching and Learning ILOUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Utrecht Institute of Linguistics OTSUniversiteit UtrechtUtrechtThe Netherlands
  3. 3.SCO-Kohnstamm Institute for Educational Research, Faculty of Social and Behavioral SciencesUniversiteit van AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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