Reading achievement: Its relation to home literacy, self-regulation, academic self-concept, and goal orientation in children and adolescents

Lena Swalander

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)


The studies in this doctoral thesis investigated how home literacy, self regulation, academic self-concept, and goal orientation influence reading ability. Study 1 investigated the effect of family-based prerequisites, reading attitude, and self-regulated learning on reading ability. Students (n= 4,018) in the eighth grade answered the IEA reading literacy test and the SRLQ. Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) with a cross-validation sample was conducted to determine the effects in the model.

The strongest effect on reading ability was from Verbal/General academic self concept. Gender differences revealed that girls read better on narrative and expository texts, had a more positive reading attitude, and a more positive verbal self-concept, whereas boys had a higher academic self-concept (not domain-specific), self-efficacy, control expectation, reported more memorizing, elaboration, and instrumental motivation (all differences p < .001). Study 2 examined the perceptions of high and low performers in reading with respect to self-regulation, academic self-concept, goal-oriented strategies, family and school experience. Furthermore, whether or not there were interaction effects between student level and class/group level on the variables under study, i.e., Big-fish-little-pond-effects (BFLP). Questionnaire data from 463 students were analysed, as were interview data from 21 students. A two way MANOVA resulted in significant main effects for both group level and student level (p < .01). However, the result failed to show a significant BFLP-effect. The content analysis showed large differences between high and low performing students. Study 3 analysed the consequences of a computer supported self-regulated learning environment in grade two for children's reading ability. By means of a quasi experimental design in a natural setting, an experimental group (n=39) was compared to a control group from a national sample (n=3,409) on reading comprehension and word decoding. The experimental group achieved better on reading comprehension both on group level (p < .001) and girls (p < .001) and boys (p < .05) separately. The proportion of high achievers was higher, and the proportion of low achievers was lower in the experimental group. Structural Equation Modelling revealed that the main explanatory factor for reading comprehension was writing.

These reading results are discussed in relation to the theories concerning self-regulated learning, academic self concept, goal orientation, and home literacy. Of the variables included in this doctoral thesis academic self concept was found to be the single most predictive variable for reading ability for 8th graders. As for younger children the results indicate that the educational variables may supersede individual prerequisites.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Department of Psychology
  • Allwood, Carl Martin, Supervisor
  • Taube, Karin, Supervisor, External person
Award date2006 Jun 1
Print ISBNs978-91-628-6836-9
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Bibliographical note

Defence details

Date: 2006-06-01
Time: 13:15
Place: Hörsal 229, Pangea, Geocentrum hus II, Sölvegatan 12, Lund

External reviewer(s)

Name: Samuelsson, Stefan
Title: Prof.
Affiliation: Institutionen för beteendevetenskap, Linköpings universitet


Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Psychology


  • Psychopedagogy
  • Pedagogisk psykologi
  • Psykologi
  • Psychology
  • Writing
  • Computers
  • Home literacy
  • Reading attitude
  • Goal orientation
  • Reading ability
  • Academic self-concept
  • Self-regulated learning


Dive into the research topics of 'Reading achievement: Its relation to home literacy, self-regulation, academic self-concept, and goal orientation in children and adolescents'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this