The relationship between third-grade students' definitions of reading, self-perceptions as readers, and their reading performance

Mary Eleanor Howe

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine if a student's definition of reading, attitude toward reading, and self-perception as a reader are related to his or her word recognition and comprehension performance and his or her tendency to exhibit learning difficulties. The subjects in this study consisted of the entire third grade population (i.e., 164 students) at a K-4 elementary school located in a small town in the southern region in the United States. Data were collected by the principal investigator who administered individually the Slosson Oral Reading Test (SORT), the Analytical Reading Inventory (ARI), Dyslexia Screening Instrument (DSI), and the Reader Self-Perception Scale (RSPS) to each student participating in the study. The assessments provided information regarding reader attitude and self-perception, tendency to exhibit learning disabilities, and word recognition and comprehension performances. Hypotheses related to each of the independent variables were examined. The analyses of data indicated that a significant difference was found between students' definitions of reading and comprehension performance as measured by the ARI, but no significant difference was found for comprehension performance on the ITBS selected- and constructed-response items, definitions of reading, and word recognition performance. Negative and positive correlations were found between the RSPS scores and third grade students' comprehension performance. A significant difference was found between the third grade students' general and physiological states as self-perceptions as readers and the passed and failed groups for learning disabilities. No significant difference was found between students' self-perceptions as readers and the passed and failed groups for learning disabilities or definitions of reading. Based on the results of these data the following conclusions were drawn. Third grade students' (a) definitions of reading were related to comprehension performance as measured by an informal reading assessment; (b) definitions of reading and self-perceptions have little effect on word recognition performance; (c) comprehension was not related to self-perceptions as readers; (d) self-perceptions as readers were related to the tendency to exhibit learning difficulties; and (e) self-perceptions as readers were not related to definitions of reading.