Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

School Name

Annsley Frazier Thornton School of Education



Major Advisor

Dr. Will Wells

Second Advisor

Dr. Grant Smith

Third Advisor

Dr. David Paige


The improvement of social-emotional factors is thought to help increase students’ achievement by 11% (Durlak et al., 2011). This current study is a descriptive study set in a rural setting, and it included 101 seventh and eighth-grade students. The study explored the relationship between social-emotional competency, reading ability, and reading achievement in adolescent students. Correlation results showed statistically positive relationships between reading measures and social-emotional measures except for social awareness and grit. Regression results revealed that social-emotional competencies explained from 7% to 36% of the variance in adolescent reading. Social-emotional competencies and reading ability measures together explained 51% to 53% of variance in reading achievement. Reading self-efficacy and growth mindset were retained for a serial mediation analysis that revealed statistically significant and positive paths to reading achievement. Reading self-efficacy had a positive and significant direct effect on reading achievement while controlling for fluency and comprehension. Theoretical and instructional implications are discussed.