Unpacking the role of higher-level processing abilities in reading achievement: A review of the literature

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Chan, Jessica S.
Cognitive Processes , Reading Development , Reading Comprehension; , Working Memory , Executive Functions
Reading development related to academic achievement has been a widely studied subject. The purpose of reading is to develop a meaningful representation or understanding of the text. There are a multitude of cognitive processes that are involved in reading that have not yet been examined in theoretical models of reading development. Higher-level cognitive processes refer to cognitive functions that allow readers to be flexible with their learning when they encounter unfamiliar and novel situations by modifying what they already know and have experienced based on their prior knowledge and long-term memory. Two areas of interest are working memory, which describes the temporary storage and processing component, and executive function referring to the supervisory system that ensures that memory processes are operating in an accurate and efficient manner (Diamond, 2013). Our current understanding of reading acquisition and achievement isn’t complete, and recent research in the areas of higher-level cognitive processing may be considered predictors contributing to individual differences in reading ability. Moreover, the sub-components of higher-level cognitive processing warrant consideration in the learning process related to reading performance. The paper begins with a brief overview of higher-level cognitive processing, the reading development process, and a review of the literature highlighting the connection between the cognitive processes related to reading development, and future research considerations.
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