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Factors Affecting Reading Abilities

1. Social Factor
a. Family - what the family does is more important to student’s success
than family income or education (Coleman, 1966). The single most
important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual
success in reading is reading aloud to children (Anderson et al, 1985).
b. Culture - the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes
the members of one category of people from another (Hofstede, 1991).
Language is closely related to culture. It is inevitable that cultural
difference has impact on language comprehension (Byram 1989).
c. Environmental/Society - Environment plays an important role in
reading growth over time. Environment has an impact in how fast or
how slow reading skills develop (Ohio State University, 2010).
d. School/Teachers - not all students will read and learn just because they
are instructed to do so if they do not find relevance in what they are
learning. Teachers know they need to create motivating learning
(Dweck, 2002).

2. Psychological Factor
Psychological factors have become vital factors in literary education; it
has a special attention in comprehension process. Reading is one of the most
widely employed skills in existing literature. According to Alderson (1984) in
describing process of learning two significant factors are involved, namely a
reader and a text. Yazdanpanah (2007) specified that if an individual
implements the psychological resource correctly, they can comprehend a text
a) Beliefs - person’s beliefs have profound influence on his perception.
Thus, a fact is conceived not on what it is but what a person’s believes
it to be.
b) Personality - traits influence how a person selects perceptions. For
instance, conscientious people tend to select details and external
stimuli to a greater degree.
c) Motivation - people will select perceptions according to what they
need in the moment. They will favor selections that they think will
help them with their current needs, and be more likely to ignore what
is irrelevant to their needs.
d) Experience -the patterns of occurrences or associations one has learned
in the past affect current perceptions. The person will select
perceptions in a way that fits with what they found in the past.

3. Physiological Factor
- Reading is both physical and physiological. Functions such as vision,
hearing and thought are possible only through the organs of the body. No
direct relationship may be said to exist between reading disability and
physical health. However, it is obvious that a child who is ill is not able to do
well in school. Physical inadequacies may result in lowered vitality, depletion
of energy, slower physical development and therefore, mental retardation.
Studies have shown that children who are hungry and malnourished have
difficulty learning because they cannot concentrate. Severe malnutrition in
infancy may lower children’s IQ scores. The lack of protein in an infant’s diet
may adversely affect his or her ability to learn. Other studies have found that
food additives may be deterrent for learning for certain children. (Rubin,
a. Vision problems
such as:
i. Myopia- a condition in which the visual images come to a
focus in front of the retina of the eye resulting especially in
defective vision of distant objects, also called nearsightedness
ii. Hyperopia- a condition in which visual images come to a focus
behind the retina of the eye and vision is better for distant than
for near objects, also called farsightedness
iii. Astigmatism- inability of one eye to attain binocular vision
with the other because of imbalance of the muscles of the
iv. Strabismus -a defect of an optical system (as a lens) causing
rays from a point to fail to meet in a focal point resulting in a
blurred and imperfect image
v. Aniseikonia – a defect of binocular vision in which the two
retinal images of an object differ in size.

b. Hearing problems
Effects: Vocabulary develops more slowly; Difficulty in understanding
sentence structure; and Difficulty in speaking

4. Perceptual Factor
A quantitative study of the psychological processes involved in word
a. Self-concept - the way a person views the world depends a great deal
on the concept or image he has about himself. The concept plays an
internal role in perceptual selectivity.
b. Beliefs - a person’s beliefs have profound influence on his perception.
Thus, a fact is conceived not on what it is but what a person’s believes
it to be.
c. Expectations - these affect what a person perceives. A technical
manager may expect ignorance about the technical features of a
product from non-technical people.
d. Inner needs - the need is a feeling of tension and discomfort, when one
think he is missing something. People with different needs experience
different stimuli. According to Freud: wishful thinking is the means by
which the Id attempts to achieve tension reductions.
e. Response disposition - It refers to person’s tendency to perceive
familiar stimuli rather than unfamiliar ones.
f. Response salience - It is the set of disposition which are determined
not by the familiarity of the stimulus situations, but by the person’s
own cognitive predisposition.
g. Perceptual defense - It refers to the screening of those elements which
create conflict and threatening situation in people.
The factors that influence perception may be broadly divided into
three categories:
i. Factors that reside in the perceiver (ie,. Attitudes, motives,
interest, past experiences and personality, expectations)
ii. Factors of the ‘situation’ and factors connected with the
iii. Factors that determine the preferred location of a brand on each
of the relevant dimension in perceptive mapping.
5. Linguistic Factor
a. Phonemic awareness - It is the ability to hear and orally manipulate
the individual sounds that make words. This skill is performed entirely
with oral, not written, language.
b. Alphabetic Principle- encompasses recognition of letters, an
understanding that words are made from individual letters and the
ability to connect sounds with letters in print.
c. Vocabulary - It involves gaining meaning from words while reading
d. Fluency - involves the accuracy and speed of student’s reading. A
fluent reader is able to read text correctly, quickly and with appropriate
voice tone.
e. Comprehension- involves constructing meaning from what is being read.
6. Intellectual Factor
A student’s intelligence may provide an estimate of his or her ability to
learn. Teachers have long noted a variation in their students’ response to
reading instruction: One student grasps the lesson quickly, another student
learns the lesson in an unusual or unique way, and a third student has great
difficulty catching on. This variation is often attributed to “intelligence”
(Morris et al., 2012). Reading difficulty is often associated with intelligence
and intellectual factors. Intelligence refers to the ability to reason, plan, think,
and communicate. These abilities allow us to solve problems, to learn, and to
use good judgment.
a. Intellectual Disability - a generalized neurodevelopmental disorder
characterized by significantly impaired intellectual and adaptive
functioning. Children who are diagnosed with intellectual disabilities
may have trouble reading, writing, or speaking. Erickson et al. (2009)
a relationship was found between their ability to understand oral
language and reading comprehension skills but not with their skills in
sight words, decoding and spelling. Using context cues and world
knowledge appeared to help their oral comprehension of stories, while
skills such as letter-naming and word attack did not. Presenting stories
both orally and visually improved comprehension in this population as
shown by their ability to retell a story (Erickson et al., 2009).
b. Critical thinking - the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in
order to form a judgment. Critical thinking is actually a subset of three
types of thinking: reasoning, making judgments and decisions and
problem solving. Participants high in intellectual ability were able to
flexibly use prior knowledge, depending upon its efficacy in a
particular environment. They were more likely to project a relationship
when it reflected a useful cue, but they were also less likely to project
a prior belief when the belief was inefficacious. (Sá, West and
Stanovich ,1999). Having critical thinking skills help to deepen a
student’s comprehension of a text, resulting in a positive reading
experience. (Lucy Heart, 2007)