Reading Anxiety: An Early Affective Impediment to Children’s Success in Reading
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• Reading Anxiety: An Early Affective Impediment to Children’s Success in Reading
• Gerardo Ramirez, Laura Fries, Elizabeth Gunderson, Marjorie W Schaeffer, Erin A. Maloney, Sian L. Beilock & Susan C. Levine (2019)
Journal and DOI:
• Journal of Cognition and Development, 20(1), 15-34, DOI: 10.1080/15248372.2018.1526175
What did we ask?
1) Is reading anxiety (i.e., the fear of situations that require reading) related to poor reading performance in elementary-aged boys and girls?
(2) Are boys more likely than girls to demonstrate poor reading performance because of reading anxiety?
(3) Is the negative link between reading anxiety and poor reading performance more influential than the link between a positive attitude about reading and good reading performance?
How did we test it? We asked 270 first-graders and 337 second-graders to complete simple tests to measure reading anxiety, positive emotions related to reading, math achievement, and reading achievement.
What did we find? We found that reading anxiety leads to poor reading performance and vice versa. We also found that boys are more susceptible to poor reading performance as a consequence of reading anxiety. We believe the stereotype that “girls are better at reading” contributes to boys’ reading anxiety and poor reading performance. Finally, we found that negative emotion (i.e., reading anxiety) is a much better predictor of reading performance than are positive emotions related to reading.
Why is this important? These findings provide evidence that reading anxiety leads to poor reading performance and that poor reading performance further increases reading anxiety. Educators must intervene and help students break this negative cycle by helping children improve their reading skills and by fostering a positive interpretation of one’s reading performance to reduce negative emotions related to reading.
Brought to you by Dr. Erin Maloney’s Cognition and Emotion Lab at the University of Ottawa