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The Reading Maturity Survey



NEW ARTICLE: Please click here for information about a recently published article focused on additional reliability and validity information for The Reading Maturity Survey.

The Reading Maturity Survey (previously The Reading Survey (Thomas, 2001)) is a simple self-report survey instrument designed to assess reading maturity. In their seminal work with reading maturity, Gray and Rogers (1956) initially attempted to examine a set of subcategories that they felt best constituted the reading maturity construct. In more recent efforts to define and measure the reading maturity construct, the author of The Reading Maturity Survey interpreted, applied, and in some cases extended or adjusted these into six subcategories (influenced also some by the work of Casale (1982), Manzo and Casale (1981, 1983a, 1983b), and Manzo, Manzo, Barnhill, and Thomas (2000)). These categories are labeled as follows: reading attitudes and interests; reading purposes; reading ability; reaction to and use of ideas to apprehend (higher-order literacy); kind of materials read; and personal adjustment to reading/transformational reading. The Reading Maturity Survey has six subcategories, one for each of these six elements of reading maturity (Thomas, 2001).


The survey contains 60 questions, 10 from each of the six subcategories. Each question is answered on a 5-point Likert scale (5=“a lot like me”, 3=“somewhat like me”, and 1=“not like me”). The score for The Reading Maturity Survey, which can be treated as interval scale data, is the mean of the 60 item scores for an individual. The subcategory scores for each of the six areas of reading maturity can also be generated. Split-half reliability was calculated in an earlier study (Thomas, 2001), when it was given to 82 college students, using the six subcategory scores of each instrument. The correlation between halves was .85 and when the Spearman-Brown formula was used to estimate the reliability coefficient for the whole instrument, it was .92. It has no time limits but is estimated to take approximately 20 minutes to complete. 


The high internal reliability of The Reading Maturity Survey (.92) provides some validity and a sense of coherence to the six subcategories of reading maturity that the author of the instrument developed under the influence of Gray and Rogers’ (1956) foundational study; it is clear that these fairly diverse six categories do appropriately and meaningfully fit together. This may reasonably be said to contribute a new degree of clarification and coherence to current understanding of the reading maturity construct. As such The Reading Maturity Survey provides a reliable and simple way for at least starting to measure reading maturity, allowing the topic to now be more easily revisited and examined by educational practitioners.


For practical use of this survey with individuals and groups, it is recommended that each respondent’s responses/scores be examined individually in order to begin identifying self-reported strengths and weaknesses relative to the various aspects of the reading maturity construct. To compare means between individuals may not be helpful, but to identify relative high and low scores on particular items for an individual may allow for the sensible formation of subsequent “action plans” to continue building on strengths and addressing weaknesses with the long-term goal of promoting growth toward reading maturity.


"Big Picture" Article


Thomas, Matt (2013) "Looking Ahead With Hope: Reviving the Reading Maturity Construct as Social Science for Adolescent and Adult Readers," Reading Horizons: Vol. 52: Iss. 2, Article 4. Available 


The Reading Maturity Survey


Print out and take The Reading Maturity Survey or The Reading Maturity Survey with Next-Steps Planning.




The Reading Maturity Survey was written by Matt Thomas, Ph.D., University of Central Missouri. For more information on this instrument, including permission to copy and use (for free), please contact him at: or 660-543-8729. 




Casale, U. P. (1982). Small group approach to the further validation and refinement of a battery for assessing “progress toward reading maturity” (Doctoral dissertation, University of Missouri-Kansas City, 1982). Dissertation Abstracts International, 43, 770A.


Gray, W.S., & Rogers, B. (1956). Maturity in reading: Its nature and appraisal. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.


Manzo, A. V. & Casale, U. P. (1981). A multivariate analysis of principle and trace elements in mature reading comprehension. In G.H. McNinch (Ed.), Comprehension: Process and product. Online Yearbook of the American Reading Forum, Vol. I (pp. 29-36). Accessed June 26, 2006 from:


Manzo, A. V., & Casale, U. P. (1983a). Description and factor analysis of a broad spectrum battery for assessing "progress toward reading maturity." In G.H. McNinch (Ed.), Reading research to reading practice. Online Yearbook of the American Reading Forum, Vol. III (pp. 100-105). Accessed June 26, 2006 from:


Manzo, A. V., & Casale, U. P. (1983b). A preliminary description and factor analysis of a broad spectrum battery for assessing "progress toward reading maturity." Reading Psychology, 4(2), 181-191.


Manzo, A. V., Manzo, U., Barnhill, A., & Thomas, M. (2000). Proficient reader subtypes: Implications for literacy theory, assessment, and practice. Reading Psychology, 21(3), 217-232.


Thomas, M. M. (2001). Proficient reader characteristics: Relationships among text-dependent and higher-order literacy variables with reference to stage theories of intellectual development. Dissertation Abstracts International, (UMI No. 3010626)

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