Reading and Writing

, 22:85 | Cite as

Effects of motivational and cognitive variables on reading comprehension

  • Ana Taboada
  • Stephen M. Tonks
  • Allan Wigfield
  • John T. Guthrie


The authors examined how motivational and cognitive variables predict reading comprehension, and whether each predictor variable adds unique explanatory power when statistically controlling for the others. Fourth-grade students (N = 205) completed measures of reading comprehension in September and December of the same year, and measures of background knowledge and cognitive strategy use in December. Teachers rated internal reading motivation of each student. Results from multiple regression analyses showed that motivation, background knowledge, and cognitive strategy-use made significant, independent contributions to children’s reading comprehension when the other predictor variables were controlled. Further analyses showed the same cognitive and motivational variables predicted growth over a 3-month period in reading comprehension. Possible explanations of the observed relations between motivation, cognitive variables, and reading comprehension are presented.


Background knowledge Cognitive strategies Comprehension Comprehension growth Internal motivation Questioning 



The work reported herein was supported by the Interagency Educational Research Initiative (IERI) (Award #0089225) as administered by the National Science Foundation. The findings and opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the position or policies of the Interagency Educational Research Initiative, the National Science Foundation, or the University of Maryland. The authors of this manuscript thank Eileen Kramer and Vanessa Rutherford for their assistance in preparing this document.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ana Taboada
    • 1
  • Stephen M. Tonks
    • 2
  • Allan Wigfield
    • 3
  • John T. Guthrie
    • 3
  1. 1.College of Education & Human DevelopmentGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA
  2. 2.Northern Illinois UniversityDeKalbUSA
  3. 3.University of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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