Reading Anxiety

Reading anxiety can be thought of as a type of specific phobia or having an anxiety producing reaction towards reading. Not as much research has been conducted regarding anxiety towards reading compared to other subjects such as math. However, Everson and colleagues (1994) found that anxiety is related to some reading comprehension detriments. Similarly, Putman (2010) believes that anxiety may contribute to factors involved in one’s orientation towards reading such as self-efficacy and motivation. For instance, motivation is positively correlated with time spent reading (Pavonetti, Brimmer, & Cipielewski, 2002), which then subsequently impacts one’s comprehension of text (Guthrie et al., 1999). In other words, a student who suffers from reading anxiety will be less motivated to spend time reading (in order to avoid anxiousness), which will consequently impact their text comprehension in a negative fashion. Reading anxiety is a construct one must consider in the presence of below-proficient reading achievement scores.


Everson, H. T., Smodlaka, I., & Tobias, S. (1994). Exploring the relationship of test anxiety and metacognition on reading test performance: A cognitive analysis. Anxiety, Stress, and Coping: An International Journal, 7, 85-96.

Guthrie, J. T., Wigfield, A., Metsala, J. L., & Cox, K. E. (1999). Motivational and cognitive predictors of text comprehension and reading amount. Scientific Studies of Reading, 3, 231-257.

Pavonetti, L. M., Brimmer, K. M., & Cipielewski, J. F. (2002). Accelerated Reader: What are the lasting effects on the reading habits of middle school students exposed to Accelerated Reader in elementary grades? Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 46, 300-311.

Putman, S. M. (2010). The debilitative effects of anxiety on reading affect. In J. C. Cassady (Ed.), Anxiety in schools: The causes, consequences, and solutions for academic anxieties (pp. 59-79). New York, NY: Peter Lang.