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Developing Reading for Pleasure: engaging young readers
Developing Reading for Pleasure: engaging young readers

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4.3 Myth #3 Girls enjoy reading more than boys

The gender gap in reading attainment continues to be highlighted in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) study as an international issue (OECD, 2019) with girls outperforming boys in most countries in the study. Yet boys are far from a homogenous group and their attitudes toward reading vary greatly. It is important that you do not overgeneralise or oversimplify your perceptions of boys and reading.

Two boys sitting on a swing each with a book in their hand.

In an Australian study of 8–10-year-old boys’ perceptions of reading, Scholes (2017, 2021) found that boys were well represented in higher achieving and ‘avid’ reader groups, with only 13% of the male cohort describing reading negatively. Boys in this study expressed enjoyment of a range of genre and reading materials, citing comics, magazines as well as books, and many expressed a preference for fiction.