Cognitive Skills

Cognitive skills are any mental skills that are used in the process of acquiring knowledge; these skills include reasoning, perception, and intuition. Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (1998) describes the importance of cognitive skills in acquiring literacy skills:

"Reading and writing rely on a specific set of cognitive skills such as attention, memory, symbolic thinking, and self-regulation. As children learn to read and write, they continue to improve these skills, making them more purposeful and deliberate. Deliberate attention is required to differentiate between letters, even if they look alike, and to isolate specific portions of a word for encoding or decoding it. Children must remember the previous words as they decode the subsequent words in a sentence. If they do not make a purposeful attempt to remember, they cannot extract what the sentence means. Writing and reading are the use of symbols and if children cannot think symbolically, they cannot learn to manipulate letters and words. Finally, self-regulation must be in place so that children can monitor their own understanding of the print so they can abandon ineffective reading strategies and move on to more effective ones."

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