Anxiety is the most reported negative emotion in the academic setting. One of the specific forms of anxiety that children can experience is reading anxiety (RA). Children who experience RA are often at risk for reading failure; likewise, children who experience reading failure are likely to experience RA. Children who excel at reading can also experience anxiety, often in the form of harm avoidance. Bibliotherapy has been shown to help to mitigate the effects of specific types of anxiety in children. The purpose of this study was to understand the anxiety of children who excel at reading and children at risk for reading failure, particularly during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Eighty-five first-, second-, and third-grade students in a rural school district in a western state with a range of reading achievement levels participated in the study. The Multidimensional Anxiety Scale for Children Second Edition (MASC 2) and Reading Anxiety Scale (RAS) were used to measure students' levels of specific forms of anxiety and the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) was used to measure their reading achievement. When comparing the specific anxiety levels of different reading achievement groups, there was no significant difference between the levels or types of anxiety experience by the groups. Instead, there was an increase in all forms of anxiety regardless of reading achievement level when compared to what prior research would suggest. This rise in all levels of anxiety is correlated with the COVID-19 pandemic timeline. Future research should investigate the impact of bibliotherapy on anxiety levels across reading achievement levels.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Counseling Psychology and Special Education



Date Submitted


Document Type





bibliotherapy, anxiety, harm avoidance, reading anxiety, reading achievement, COVID-19



Included in

Counseling Commons