Boys 'close reading gap with girls'

 

Boys have caught up with girls on reading ability, according to a study into the book-reading habits of school children.

What Kids are Reading 2012 found that the difficulty level of books read by boys is no longer generally lower than girls.

The report, written by Professor Keith Topping of Dundee University, analysed what more than 210,000 British primary and secondary school children are reading for pleasure.

Roald Dahl was the most popular children's author, closely followed by Roderick Hunt, author of the popular Magic Key series, according to the study. Harry Potter author J.K Rowling came fifth in the list.

There have long been concerns that boys lag behind girls in terms of ability.

But researches discovered that across the one-11 school years, there were four years where boys were reading more difficult books than girls, three where girls were choosing more challenging titles and two 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 used computer software to analyse what difficulty level of books children are reading.

It found that the average book difficulty rises as students get older, but not in proportion to the rate at which students reading should be improving.

After Year 9, researchers discovered that the average book difficulty attempted by children declines.

Mr Topping said the finding was more positive than previous reports, in which the difficulty declined after Year 6, but called for more improvement.

“If the older readers challenged themselves more, better reading outcomes could be anticipated,” he concluded.

From August 2010 to July 2011 2,886,920 books were read by children in 1,237 schools, the report, funded by Renaissance Learning, found.

Jonathan Douglas, director of the National Literacy Trust, said: “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.

“A young person who has the experience and habit of reading for pleasure has laid the foundations for lifelong learning.”

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
The cartoon depicts the UK (far left) walking around a Syrian child refugee
newsIn an exclusive artwork for The Independent, Ali Ferzat attacks Britain's lack of 'humanity'
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
film
Sport
footballManager attacks Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp after criticism of Diego Costa's apparent stamping
News
video
Life and Style
food + drink
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Recruitment Genius: Student Support Assistants - Part Time & Full Time

£14600 - £17600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are passionate about sup...

Tradewind Recruitment: Intervention Teacher Required To Start ASAP.

£125 - £150 per day + Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: A 'wonderful primary ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Maths Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Our client is an 11-16 mixed commun...

Tradewind Recruitment: Maths Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Tradewind are working with this secondary s...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore