Reading: What Else Matters Besides Strategies and Skills?


  • Peter Afflerbach,

  • Byeong-Young Cho,

  • Jong-Yun Kim,

  • Maria Elliker Crassas,

  • Brie Doyle


How can we best contribute to our students’ reading development and achievement? What are the hallmarks of successful, independent student readers? An examination of reading curricula, reading assessment, and related Federal education policy reveals the ongoing emphasis on the cognitive strategies and skills of reading. The teaching and learning of the “big 5” of No Child Left Behind, phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension, are considered the hallmark of effective reading programs. The Common Core State Standards continue the focus on the cognitive aspects of reading. While strategies and skills are central to reading achievement, they are but one aspect of elementary students’ reading development. In this article, we examine other important influences on this development. We focus on metacognition, engagement and motivation, epistemic beliefs, and self-efficacy, and we describe how they can contribute to students’ reading success.