The relationship between fourth- and sixth-grade students' reading ability and their beliefs about reading

Date of Completion

January 2002


Education, Elementary|Education, Reading|Education, Curriculum and Instruction




The purpose of this study was to examine students' beliefs about the nature of reading and how these beliefs might be related to grade level, reading achievement, and reading comprehension. In particular, the study focused on students' beliefs that were consistent with more passive and more active views of reading. The participants, 203 fourth and sixth graders of different reading achievement levels, read two short passages, answered five text recall questions (text recall) for each passage, and wrote two short essays (reader elaborations) about their thoughts and feelings regarding the two passages. The participants also completed a Reading Beliefs Inventory, which included 16 statements about possible beliefs readers have about reading. Two 2 (grade level) x 3 (reading achievement) ANOVAs indicated a significant effect of reading achievement on students' more passive beliefs. Follow-up comparisons showed that low reading achievement students had stronger passive beliefs than high reading achievement students. The ANOVAs did not indicate a significant effect of grade level or reading achievement on students' more active beliefs. Further, a 3 (more passive beliefs) x 3 (more active beliefs) ANCOVA, with reading achievement as the covariate, failed to establish a relationship between students' beliefs and text recall. No relationship between beliefs and reader elaboration was established, either. Implications of the study are discussed with respect to literacy instruction and theoretical perspectives of reading comprehension. ^