Predicting children’s reading comprehension : an analysis of cognitive skills and motivational factors

Gray, Eleanor A.

September 2013

Thesis or dissertation

© 2013 Eleanor Ann Gray. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

Extensive research has been carried out to examine the cognitive skills and motivational variables that influence reading comprehension. However, there are substantially fewer studies which have examined the influence of cognitive skills and motivation on reading comprehension together within a single study. The extant literature also provides little indication of the predictive ability of cognitive skills and motivation on children’s comprehension of different text types. The studies in the present thesis therefore examined both cognitive skills and motivational variables in order to provide a more comprehensive account of the factors that predict children’s reading comprehension. Additionally, the studies distinguished between cognitive and motivational factors that influence children’s comprehension of different text genres and texts aimed at different audiences. Relations between cognitive skills, motivation and reading comprehension were explored in children ages 9 to 11, from three primary schools in the UK. Taken together, the results suggest that fundamental cognitive skills for reading comprehension overwhelmingly account for variance in children’s comprehension across text types. There is some evidence that motivational variables may explain a small amount of additional variance in children’s reading comprehension after accounting for cognitive skills, however motivation did not consistently predict any further variance. The findings also indicate that boys and girls may have different preferences for different types of text, though there is no evidence to suggest that this affects comprehension for different text types. For educators in particular, the results strongly advocate the development of children’s vocabulary knowledge and phonological skill for enhancing their reading comprehension skill.

Department of Psychology, The University of Hull
McGeown, Sarah
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