Boys catch up with girls in the reading stakes

26 March, 2012

The study showed that boys are just as capable as girls when it comes to reading ability.

When it comes to reading, girls have traditionally had the upper hand over boys. But research has shown that boys have now caught up.

A study into the literacy habits of children has revealed that boys are just as capable as girls when it comes to reading ability.

The ‘What Kids are Reading 2012’ report, published by Dundee University, analysed the reading habits of primary and secondary school children.

The report looked into what books more than 210,000 schoolchildren chose to read for pleasure.  Computer software was then used to analyse the difficulty level of the books children were reading.

Almost three million books were read for pleasure by schoolchildren in 1,237 schools, between August 2010 and July 2011.

The research found that, between the school years one and eleven, there were four years where boys were reading more difficult books than girls, three years where girls were picking the harder books, and two years where it was equal.

‘We can no longer claim that boys read at a lower level of difficulty than girls so overall under-achievement must be caused by other factors,’ the report said.

The study found that Roald Dahl is the most popular children’s author in the UK, followed closely by Roderick Hunt – author of the Magic Key series.

It was found that there was an improvement in the books read by older children.  The difficulty level attempted by children starts to decline when they reach Year 9 – an improvement on previous reports, which found a decline by the end of Year 6.

‘We know that reading for pleasure strengthens a child’s reading and writing skills and has a significant long-term impact on their education and life outcomes,’ said Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust.

‘A young person who has the experience and habit of reading for pleasure has laid the foundations for lifelong learning,’ he added.