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Reading can be thought of as a continuous process of attending and searching, predicting, cross-checking, confirming or self-correcting, and re-predicting. These strategies are not discrete stages; they constantly interact and support one another. They are used in complex combinations, and proficient readers at all levels usually apply them automatically.
The ways in which students learn and apply the processing strategies illustrate the role of metacognition in literacy learning. Learner readers need to be taught to recognise when to use each processing strategy. They also need to be shown how to use each strategy and taught when and how to integrate them. This knowledge and awareness enable them to monitor their own progress as developing readers. For example, fluent readers in years 5 to 8 might need to be taught how to search for and identify technical language in a text and how to cross-check its meaning in context (by using a range of semantic information in the text). Students whose control of the processing strategies (or of the English language) is limited may process text in inappropriate ways – for example, by relying on their memory, by trying to sound out every single word, or by guessing, rather than by making appropriate uses of the sources of information in the text and their own prior knowledge.