Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Dr. Frances Moroney Whited


The primary purpose of this research was to investigate the relationship between the child's cognitive level of development and his concept of reading. The secondary purpose was to explore the relationship between the child’s concept of reading and his performance on a standardized reading measure, the Metropolitan Reading Achievement Test. The subjects, eight girls and twelve boys from a self-contained second grade class in a suburban school in western New York, ranged in age from 7.3 years to 9.2 years. The child's cognitive level of development, either preoperational-transitional or concrete operational, was determined by performance on Piagetian conservation tasks. The child's ability to form classes of concrete objects was evaluated by an additive classification task. The child's ability to isolate classes of numbers, lower-case and upper-case letters, non-number non-letter figures, nonsense words, words, phrases, and sentences was explored during free sorting tasks designed by this investigator. The child’s ability to explain his thoughts about reading was studied during a semi-structured interview. Cognitive clarity measures were developed to evaluate responses made during the free sorting tasks and the interview. A two factor repeated measures design and a product moment correlation matrix were employed to test the hypotheses at the .05 and the .01 levels of significance. The data confirmed that children experience confusion about the reading process and the reading purpose while learning to read. A relationship between the attainment of the concrete operations and the child's ability to form linguistic classes was indicated. The relationship between cognitive clarity of reading and reading achievement was confirmed by the data. However, this relationship was not clearly delineated because the free sorting cognitive clarity scores and the interview cognitive clarity scores were correlated with different subscales from the Metropolitan Reading Achievement Test. A longitudinal study with a larger population as well as the further refinement of test instruments and procedures were recommended.