The paper “ Impact of Self-Esteem on the Reading Capabilities of Early Learners” is an intriguing variant of a literature review on education. Early years are considered the foundational stages of learning. It is during this stage that children learn the basics of reading, counting, and writing. The early years presents the best opportunity to lay the foundations for future academic achievement. The skills children learn and develop as preschoolers form the basis for skill development in their later life (Cunha et al. 2006). Learning during the early years leads to a chain of effects that either reinforce or exacerbates the academic achievement of children in the future (Stipek 2005). Reading is one of the skills that children learn during their early years.
It is an essential language skill that children need to learn in order to become literate or well educated (Nkiko & Yusuff 2006). Children enter school with considerable differences in cognitive abilities, attention capacity, social skills, emotional stability, and self-esteem. These factors are what influence the performance of children in school and predict their educational success in the future (Claessens 2009; Duncan et al.
2007; Murray & Harrison 2011). Among these factors, a number of studies have singled out self-esteem as one of the variables that significantly influence the reading capabilities and overall learning of children during their early years (Alpay 2002; Guthrie & Wigfield 2000; Kaniuka 2010). According to Powell (2005) self – esteem relates to how an individual thinks and feels about themselves with regards to their physical image, abilities, and interpersonal relationships. Most of the studies that postulate that self-esteem is among the major variables that significantly influence the learning experiences of students during their early years (Dwyer et al 2000) have based their research on the premise that children with high self-esteem are likely to show positive attitude and behavior towards their studies.
As a result, they are likely to perform better in learning activities such as reading and writing. On the other hand, children with low self-esteem are bound to be doubtful about their abilities and show negative attitudes and behavior towards their studies. Consequently, their performance is bound to be poorer than that of children with high self-esteem (Kaniuka 2010). Problem statement and research questionA number of studies show that early readers with high self-esteem are more likely to have good reading abilities and exhibit confidence while reading.
Conversely, children with low self-esteem tend to possess low abilities and exhibit low confidence when reading (Alpay 2002; Guthrie & Wigfield 2000; Hisken 2011; Kaniuka, 2010). Although these studies have established a positive correlation between self-esteem and reading capabilities of early learners, there are several studies that contest this notion. A considerable number of studies have established that there is no close correlation between self-esteem and academic performance (Vitale & Kaniuka 2009; Rubin, Dorle & Sandidge 2006).
Some studies suggest that academic performance may impact on the self-esteem of children and not the other way round. Other studies suggest that self-esteem has little effect on the reading capabilities of children. Instead, factors such as IQ, socio-economic background are what determine the reading capabilities and overall academic performance of students during their early years (Vitale & Kaniuka 2009; Rubin, Dorle & Sandidge 2006). Evidently, there are conflicting findings on the link between self-esteem and the reading capabilities of early learners.
Therefore, the focus of this study will be to investigate the impact that self-esteem has on the reading capabilities of early learners. This study will seek to answer the research question; Does self-esteem influence the reading capabilities of children during their early years of learning?
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