Pre-reading activities such as title discussion and vocabulary training have been shown to be effective in decreasing oral reading errors and increasing reading rate and comprehension across a range of reading levels. Experiment 1 in this paper examines the effects of these cognitive activities in combination on the reading comprehension of three adult ESL emergent readers. Experiment 2 explores the relative effects of this procedure, and a metacognitive strategy for presenting these pre-reading techniques, on the comprehension levels of five adult ESL learners. Single subject research designs were employed in both studies. Results of both studies indicate that the cognitive strategy was effective in raising comprehension levels. However, in Experiment 2, the metacognitive instructional strategy, while similarly effective in raising comprehension levels, was also associated with enhanced maintenance in a subsequent non-treatment phase. Implications of these findings for instructional practice with ELS learners, both proficient and novice first language readers, are considered.