The relationship of reading improvement and tutor effectiveness to children's self-esteem



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Self-esteem, defined in this paper as the valuative assessment one makes with respect to one's personal self-one's self-adequacy, is a construct that has been given no specific definition in the literature. In this literature there is a severe lack of well-executed studies, therefore, interpretation and generalization are difficult. The problem presently under investigation is the self-esteem of children with reading difficulties prior to and after an approximately 15-session one-on-one reading intervention. Fourteen children, ages 7 to 14 years and enrolled in a reading remediation program at a university-operated learning center were given both Susan Harter's Self-Perception Profile for Children (1985a) and Social Support Scale for Children (Harter, 1985c) at the beginning of the intervention. The Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-Revised, the Classroom Reading Inventory (CRI) and the Slosson Oral Reading Test (SORT) were administered to determine whether or not the child fit the criteria for learning disabled in this study. The scores of the CRI and the SORT were also a measure of initial reading achievement. The parents of the children were administered the Teacher's Rating Scale of Child's Actual Behavior (Harter, 1985a) both at the beginning and end of the intervention. At the end of the intervention, the CRI, the SORT and Harter's profile were readministered to the children and the children's tutors completed Harter's Teacher's Rating Scale of Child's Actual Behavior. Three tutor-student pairs were observed twice during the sessions to evaluate interactions that may be related to the self-esteem of the student. Changes in self-esteem and achievement were analyzed with respect to: 1. the relationship between perceived competence/importance discrepancies and overall self-esteem; 2. the rank order of correlations between perceived competence/importance discrepancies in each domain and overall self-esteem; 3. the relationship of tutor and parent behavior ratings compared with child's ratings of self-esteem; and 4. differential frequencies of tutor-student behaviors. The results supported Susan Harter's ideas about the influence that perceived importance of domains has on self-esteem. In addition, there seemed to be quantitative shifts in self-esteem rather than quantitative gains in reading achievement. It could be that changes in self-esteem, approaching that of the average classroom child, must occur before any significant reading achievement can be accomplished.



Self-esteem in children, Reading--Remedial teaching