Monday, June 13, 2011

Self-concept and Reading

Question: What is the effect of a negative self-concept on reading success?

Answer/Quotes: “Aware teachers have probably always known that emotional factors  play an important part in a child’s success in learning to read. Nearly thirty years ago, Arthur Gates (1941) estimated from his clinical experience that 75 percent of the children with severe reading disabilities showed personality maladjustment.”

Quote: “Of all the areas of personality correlated with reading achievement, one factor, self concept, seems to be particularly useful for reading teachers.”

Quote: “According to Sullivan, the self is made up of ‘reflected appraisals.’ These ‘reflected appraisals’ come from the child’s parents, teachers, and significant others. A child who, for whatever reason, develops negative self perceptions may see  himself as an inadequate reader, incapable of learning, or just generally inadequate. Children with negative self images may be filled with fear of failure and terrified of new experiences. Some may be restless, unable to concentrate, and anxious under pressure of time limits. Others may be quiet and withdrawn. Failure in reading may be among these behavioral manifestations of poor self concepts.” P, 232.

Comment: If I seem to be highlighting articles of the past that reflect the problems of problem readers, it is because of the simplistic notion established in No Child Left Behind that the teacher is solely to blame for the failure of children to learn to read. The problems of children who fail to learn to read are complex and real. Failure to take into account the emotional problems of children who fail to learn to read is one reason that No Child Left Behind is simplistic. The goal is wonderful, but until the many problems keeping children from learning can be dealt with realistically No Child Left Behind will be impossible to achieve. These articles from the past give some realization of the difficulties faced by the teacher in helping children learn to read successfully. RayS.

Title: “Self-Concept Development in the Reading Program.” Shirley Berretta. Reading Teacher (December 1970), pp. 232-238.

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