G5 Doctoral dissertation (article)
Children's reading self-efficacy : specificity, trajectories of change and relation to reading fluency development (2021)
Lasten pystyvyysuskomukset lukemisessa : uskomusten spesifisyys, kehityskulut ja yhteys lukusujuvuuden kehitykseen

Peura, P. (2021). Children's reading self-efficacy : specificity, trajectories of change and relation to reading fluency development [Doctoral dissertation]. University of Jyväskylä. JYU Dissertations, 397. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8705-3

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsPeura, Pilvi


Journal or seriesJYU Dissertations


Publication year2021

Number in series397

Number of pages in the book1 verkkoaineisto (81 sivua, 61 sivua useina numerointijaksoina,)

PublisherUniversity of Jyväskylä

Place of PublicationJyväskylä

Publication countryFinland

Publication languageEnglish

Persistent website addresshttp://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8705-3

Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessOpen Access channel


Beliefs about our capabilities (i.e., self-efficacy) are important predictors of our learning and achievement. This research aimed to extend our understanding of primary school children’s self-efficacy in the relatively unexamined context of reading fluency. It focused on examining the specificity of these beliefs and the ways in which they contribute to children’s reading development. In addition, it was examined how these beliefs develop over an 11-month study period. More specifically, the roles of the four hypothesised sources of self-efficacy (i.e., mastery experiences, verbal persuasions, vicarious experiences, and physiological and emotional states) in predicting changes in self-efficacy were examined. These questions were assessed in three sub-studies using data on Finnish primary school children in Grades 2 to 5 (N = 1,327). First, the results showed that the children’s efficacy beliefs varied according to three specificity levels (general, intermediate, and specific), and the structure of self-efficacy was similar among girls and boys as well as across grades. Second, self-efficacy was found to relate positively to reading fluency and its development. However, the relationship varied according to the specificity level of self-efficacy. The intermediate beliefs, which reflected beliefs in everyday reading tasks, bore the strongest relationship to reading fluency and were the only beliefs related to reading fluency development. Third, the children were found to differ in their self-efficacy development, showing increasing, stable, and decreasing trajectories of change over time. Moreover, the children’s varying exposure to the four sources of self-efficacy and changes in these experiences over time were found to be associated with the trajectories children’s self-efficacy follow. Overall, the findings extend the understanding of the specificity of children’s beliefs related to reading and their varying contribution to reading fluency development. By revealing the positive longitudinal dynamics between self-efficacy and its sources, the results also provide support for the theoretical postulations of social cognitive theory as well as highlight the importance of supporting positive source experiences. Furthermore, the findings point to the importance of considering individual variability in self-efficacy development, in the contexts of both research and educational planning and support. Especially those children with low beliefs in their reading skills should be monitored and supported.

Keywordschildren (age groups)lower comprehensive school pupilslanguage learningliteracyreadingfluencyself-confidenceself-efficacy

Free keywordsself-efficacy; sources of self-efficacy; reading fluency; primary school children

Contributing organizations

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2021

Last updated on 2024-25-02 at 20:16