Self-Perceptions of At-Risk and High Achieving Readers: Beyond Reading Recovery Achievement Data

Cohen, S. G., McDonnell, G., & Osborn, B. (1989). In S. McCormick & J. Zutell (Eds.), Cognitive and Social Perspectives for Literacy Research and Instruction: Thirty Eighth Yearbook of the National Reading Conference. (pp. 117-122). Chicago: National Reading Conference.

Cohen, McDonnell, and Osborn studied the impact of Reading Recovery on students’ beliefs regarding their competence and capacity to direct their own learning activities. They used causal attribution (Weiner, 1972) and self-efficacy (Bandura, 1977) to support the theoretical framework. Participants included 138 first graders divided among the following groups: 50 were in Reading Recovery, 48 were in remedial reading groups of five or six students each, and 40 were randomly selected from their higher-achieving classmates. After the interventions, children were tested on two scales to measure attributions and self-efficacy.

Results demonstrated that successful Reading Recovery children had profiles similar to high-achieving students, and they more readily attributed their success in school to ability, effort, and mood than did the students in the remedial groups. The Reading Recovery students also judged themselves to be more competent on school-related tasks (self-efficacy) than the other low-achieving students.

These results support the notion that children have positive self-esteem when they leave Reading Recovery.

This abstract first appeared in What Evidence Says About Reading Recovery (2002). Columbus, OH: Reading Recovery Council of North America.