Affective factors and early reading: Defining motivation and engagement to understand specific associations with reading skills

Affective factors and early reading: Defining motivation and engagement to understand specific associations with reading skills

First Author: Kimberley Tsujimoto -- OISE, University of Toronto
Additional authors/chairs: 
André Plamondon; Frédéric Guay; Rhonda Martinussen
Keywords: Motivation, Engagement, Predictors of reading skills, Elementary, Self-concept
Abstract / Summary: 

Aim. Affective factors such as self-concept and emotional engagement are related to reading achievement. However, these factors are conceptualized using many constructs (e.g., emotional engagement (EE), intrinsic motivation (IM)and self-concept (SC)). The extent to which these constructs actually measure different things is unclear. Addressing the confusion of how motivation and engagement are conceptualized is a critical step towards an understanding of how affective factors relate to reading.

Method. Participants were 155 children recruited in grade one (M = 6.84 years, SD = 0.41). Confirmatory factor analysis was used to investigate the shared and unique traits among EE and a multi-dimensional measure of reading motivation (SC and IM). Several models were tested including 2- and 3-factor models and bi-factor models to account for common variance among constructs. Finally structural equation methods were used to document relationships between affective factors and reading skills.

Results. The best-fitting model was a bi-factor model with a general engagement factor, comprised of EE and IM, and a second reading SC factor. The model showed SC was more strongly related to IM (r = 0.53, p <.001) compared to the general engagement factor (r = 0.37, p <.01). When word level reading was added to the model, results showed a significant association with reading SC (r = 0.49, p <.001), but not the other affective factors (p >.05).

Conclusions. This work examined shared and unique elements of affective factors in reading to support a better understanding of how they are related to early word reading skills. Results suggested that IM is closely tied with EE, while reading SC is distinct. Self-concept may involve more cognitive processes, such as self-evaluations, which capture perceptions beyond emotional responses to reading. Moreover, children’s reading SC may be an especially important affective factor in explaining word reading skills as early as grade one.