To develop reading skills of students, teachers have been advised to provide metacognitive reading strategy instruction by researchers. However, previous research has provided limited understanding of how teachers could foster metacognition of reading strategies in a ‘real’ classroom setting. Moreover, previous research pre-supposed an a priori list of teaching practices in the lessons and did not take into account the needs of the students and the context during metacognitive reading strategy instruction. Studies facilitating metacognitive reading strategy instruction in an ESL setting are also rare. This paper reports on an action research that provides a detailed data-led understanding of how metacognition of reading strategies could be promoted in an ecologically valid university level ESL classroom setting. The study participants of this study were eight undergraduate university students. Data for the study was collected through learner diaries, interviews, think aloud protocols, note-taking, researcher journal and end of class feedback in two action research cycles over an academic year. The findings revealed that providing explicit instruction and opportunities for collaborative discussion about strategy use as well as promoting students’ interest in reading helped raise students’ awareness, use and regulation of reading strategies. Implications of the study are discussed.
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