The relation between student motivation and reading performance
By Marta Pellegrini, University of Florence, Italy
 
The latest issue of Review of Educational Research presents a meta-analysis on the relationship between reading achievement and motivation. The review examined whether ability to decode and understand text, goal orientation, students' at-risk status, or grade level moderated the relationship, as well as whether motivation and reading are related over time.

Jessica Toste and colleagues at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Iowa included 132 peer-reviewed articles with 1,154 effect sizes. Most of the studies took place in the United States (41%). Other studies are from Canada or Europe. Results suggest that the relation between motivation and reading achievement is moderate (ES = +0.22). For specific reading domains, average correlations with motivation were moderate as well: ES = +0.19 for the ability to read in an accurate and fluent way, ES = +0.21 for the ability to understand and learn from reading text, and ES= +0.23 for general reading. Further analysis showed that self-perception of reading competency had a stronger correlation with reading (ES = +0.27) than goal orientation (ES = +0.05). In addition, interest (ES = +0.17) had a stronger correlation with reading compared to goal orientation. At-risk status and grade level were not significant moderators.

Finally, the review examined the relation between motivation and reading over time, including eight longitudinal studies. The results indicated positive, significant associations in both directions, with early reading as a stronger predictor of later motivation than early motivation predicted reading achievement.

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