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Reading ability: boys catch up with girls

27/02/2012 Joanna
A new study into the reading habits of children in the UK has suggested that boys' reading ability has caught up with girls.

Over 210,000 children in 1,237 different schools were surveyed as part of the research and the levels of reading witnessed indicate that boys' reading is no longer lagging behind that of their female peers.

Carried out by Keith Topping, professor of educational and social research at Dundee University, the report found that while the difficulty of books being read increases as pupils get older, it is not rising at the rate by which reading ability should be improving.

It also found that boys are, in general, no longer reading books that are easier than girls the same age.

"My assumption is that this year boys are being especially encouraged to read harder books by their teachers," Professor Topping told the BBC.

"I find it difficult to see what else might be changing out there to account for this. This is of course extremely encouraging."

Impressively, the research also found that between them the participants had read almost three million books between August 1st 2010 and July 31st 2011.

The study also looked at children's favourite authors and found that Roald Dahl was number one.

Roderick Hunt was also very popular, while Jeff Kinney was in third place with his Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and Horrid Henry helped Francesca Simon into fourth.

Boys' and girls' favourite authors differed considerably, with girls preferring books with female role models by the likes of Jacqueline Wilson and Stephanie Meyer, while boys opted for Dav Pilkey and Michael Morpurgo.

"Reading for pleasure is again moving centre stage," commented Jonathan Douglas, director of the National Literacy Trust.

"Education policy since the 2010 election has focused on the mechanisms of learning to read, in particular the promotion of systematic synthetic phonics."

Posted by Alan DouglasADNFCR-2164-ID-801303432-ADNFCR
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