The Nature of Cognitive Strategy Instruction: Interactive Strategy Construction

Karen R. Harris, Michael Pressley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

142 Scopus citations


In this article, we illustrate the theoretical and empirical basis of cognitive strategy instruction and compare this basis to major principles of constructivism. In particular, we address the recent argument that cognitive strategy instruction precludes active construction of knowledge; and we discuss the nature of good cognitive strategy instruction and its contribution to the education of students with learning problems. Illustrations of self-instructional and other cognitive strategy instruction models are presented in the areas of reading comprehension, written language, and memory. Other issues are discussed, including maintenance, generalization, and teacher implementation of strategy instructional approaches. We conclude that both, teachers and students are constructing important new knowledge during strategy instruction, and that cognitive strategy instruction is a viable and exciting direction in special education research and practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)392-404
Number of pages13
JournalExceptional children
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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