Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Sherry M. Bell

Committee Members

Yujeong Park, Steve McCallum, Zoi Philippakos


The purpose of the study was to examine the relationships between student perceptions of a “good reader” and their reading performance. The study employed a causal-comparative and correlational design. Participants, elementary and middle school (grades 1-8) students (N= 100) attending an after-school program in the Southeastern United States, were administered the Student Perceptions of a Good Reader Scale (SPGRS) which includes two subscales: Perceptions-Decoding Efficiency (PerDE), and Perceptions-Comprehension (PerC). Additional measures included Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) Growth Reading (MAP Growth, 2020) to determine reading comprehension and a curriculum-based measure of oral reading fluency (ORF) which determines words read correctly per minute (WCPM).

Results from this study expand the research base in several ways; the 16-item quantitative SPGRS was developed and validated to assess student perceptions of a good reader. Reliability statistics yielded a Cronbach’s alpha of .83 for the overall scale, .79 for the PerDE subscale, and .77 for the PerC subscale. Principal components analysis findings support the two separate subscales (i.e., all factor loadings above .35). Results indicate significant differences between perceptions for both “skilled” (above the 25th percentile) readers versus “unskilled” (at or below the 25th percentile) as determined by their MAP reading comprehension scores, based on 2015 national norms (Thum & Hauser, 2015). Participants’ scores on the PerC subscale were higher than on the PerDE subscale for both groups, indicating that skilled and unskilled readers perceive that behaviors related to reading comprehension are more important than behaviors related to efficiently decoding words in defining a good reader. Regression analyses reveal that both types of perceptions (decoding efficiency and comprehension) are significantly related to reading comprehension for upper elementary and middle school students. However, participants’ reading proficiency (as defined by both ORF and reading comprehension) did not significantly predict their perceptions of a good reader. Despite some reading experts’ concerns that an emphasis on reading fluency, particularly in elementary and middle school, may negatively impact children’s views of reading, children in this sample associated behaviors with reading comprehension as more highly indicative of a good reader.

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