Literacy 4-6

Systems Change
Literacy 4-6 > Strategies > Self-instructions



When students engage in a dialogue with themselves, they are able to orient, organize, and focus their thinking. By talking through steps and procedures, learners are able to go through the writing process and consciously direct their Attention to relevant aspects of their learning, retaining these processes in Long-term Memory.

Use It in the Classroom

Learn how these teachers promote Metacognition in their classrooms. From 0:52, watch how teachers model articulating how they solve a problem and prompt students to explain their own thinking. This allows the students to become aware of how they think while also providing teachers insight on how students are understanding the concepts.

  • Teachers can introduce different types of self-instructions, like defining the problem or implementing a strategy, that may be helpful for students during the writing process. When asking students to verbalize their thinking, teachers can understand how to support them in their writing. As students become aware of how they are thinking and put it into words, they build their Metacognition and Foundational Writing Skills.
  • Design It into Your Product

    Videos are chosen as examples of strategies in action. These choices are not endorsements of the products or evidence of use of research to develop the feature.

    Watch how this student uses Google Docs to annotate an article and explain her thinking. By color-coding her highlights and using comments to summarize her thoughts, she can visually see her thought process and share it with her teacher.

  • Developers can build in prompts or sentence starters that encourage self-instructions, such as "I need to make a plan. First I will… and then…" or "I can revise and improve…". By asking learners to reflect on their processes and by providing examples that students can check against, learners continue to develop their understanding of writing.