A Focus on Modeling

Effective Reading & Writing Instruction

Key Ideas from the Article

Cognitive learning strategies, an important component of students' understanding, must be modeled. Teachers should model:

  • Conditional knowledge - why this strategy being used
  • Procedural knowledge - instruction on how to use the strategy
  • Declarative knowledge - what strategies should be used in a given situation (show students that different strategies are more appropriate than others for given situations)

Teachers need to overtly state their reasoning during each step of the modeling process.

Teachers should also model self-regulatory feedback, like stating "I did that correctly and followed all the steps," (called strategy implementation) along the way, as well, because it promotes the idea that students have control over external factors in their learning (such as following the steps correctly) rather than thinking learning is only effected by internal factors (intelligence).

Teachers can also model their frustrations and how they overcome those frustrations to move along.

Ways to Model Effectively

Think Aloud - Teacher voices their thoughts while working through a problem - the first step in leading students to be strategic learners - leads to student self-talk by showing students how to access their internal thinking process.

Self-Regulated Strategy Development Model - Used especially in writing instruction - 6 stages of instruction with focus on self regulatory skills (develop background knowledge, discuss it, model it, memorize it, support it and independent practice).

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Reading & Writing Strategies to Model


Summarization Strategy - Summarizing who and what each paragraph is about in a student's own words when they finish reading the paragraph


STOP strategy - Suspend judgment, Take a side, Organize ideas, Plan more as you write

My Take

I agree with the authors of the article that modeling cognitive strategies is key to ensuring students have success with learning. Personally, I do not understand things (such as math problems) until I see them worked out in front of me. We should not be looking at cognitive strategies any differently than those content specific strategies we teach our students that require modeling. In my classroom, I want to practice the think-aloud strategy often, because I think it promotes great self-regulatory strategies, and I think one of our biggest responsibilities as teachers is making our students independent learners, not dependent on others' input to know they are doing well. Just as the article said, it is important for us to help students focus on the external control they have on their learning, rather than only focusing on what intelligence they were born with and how it affects their learning.

Discussion Questions

What are other examples of strategies that are important to overtly model for students?

What characteristics are notable in a self-regulated learner that aren't in a learner who does not possess self-regulation skills?


Berkely S. & Regan, K. (2011). Effective Reading and Writing Instruction: A Focus on Modeling. Intervention in School and Clinic 2012 47: 276. DOI: 10.1177/1053451211430117

Esposito & Samuel. Think Aloud Image. Greece CSD. Retrieved from http://www.greececsd.org/webpages/jsamuel/index.cfm?subpage=44689

by Bryn Kruse