Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




School Psychology

Committee Chair

Elizabeth Meisinger

Committee Member

Randy Floyd

Committee Member

Bob Cohen

Committee Member

Tom Fagan


Student engagement is a multidimensional construct believed to be a critical component for understanding school dropout (Christenson et al., 2008). The majority of related research has focused primarily on overt (academic and behavioral) rather than covert (psychological and cognitive) subtypes of engagement; however, there is evidence to suggest that psychological and cognitive engagement are linked to increased levels of academic achievement, overall school effort, and positive emotions. Such internal factors may be particularly relevant for enhancing reading competence, as it has been suggested that difficulties with reading can interfere with students’ motivation and engagement with learning (Guthrie & Wigfield, 2000; Klem & Connell, 2004). In fact, some have proposed that competence in reading is essential for promoting school completion (Reschly, 2010). Parent support has also been shown to positively influence students’ reading behaviors. The present study examined the contributions of students’ psychological and cognitive engagement to reading skills. Oral reading fluency, silent reading fluency, and reading comprehension were assessed as proxy measures of reading competence. Furthermore, the role of parent support for reading in the home was examined as a moderator of the link between the engagement variables and reading variables. It was hypothesized that cognitive and psychological engagement would predict fluency and comprehension. It was further speculated that parent support for reading would moderate the relation between the engagement and reading competence variables. Sequential multiple regression analyses were used to identify the predictive value of students’ psychological and cognitive engagement on reading competence as well as the moderating role of parents’ support for reading on this relation. Separate regressions were conducted for each reading competence outcome variable: oral reading fluency, silent reading fluency, and reading comprehension. Results of the present study indicated that covert engagement types are not significantly correlated with the reading competence variables. In regard to parents’ support for children’s reading, only parents’ modeling of reading behavior was significantly related to children’s performance on a measure of reading comprehension. Future research should continue to examine how covert engagement types may interact with overt student engagement (i.e., behavioral and academic) in predicting reading achievement.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.