*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on EurekAlert!
Gender stereotypes around reading may be holding boys back in the classroom, according to a new study published in the peer-reviewed International Journal of Inclusive Education.
In what is described as an ‘unexpected’ and ‘significant’ finding, fiction is the most favored reading genre for schoolboys compared with non-fiction, comics, and magazines.
Well over half (57%) of the boys said they liked fiction or storybooks ‘a lot’ according to research based on more than 300 pupils aged from seven to eight in Australia.
Girls were more likely to rate enjoyment of reading non-fiction more highly than boys (55% vs 51%).
The results have important implications for parents, teachers, and policy-makers. They suggest that the range of boys’ reading preferences may have been underestimated.
The researchers used data on 152 boys and 166 girls attending 14 schools across South East Queensland in a range of socio-economic communities, with the majority of students being in state schools.
All children were asked to rate their level of enjoyment for reading fiction, non-fiction, and comics and magazines from ‘like a lot’ to ‘like a little’ or ‘don’t like’. They also had to indicate how frequently they read, ranging from ‘daily’ to ‘hardly ever’.
Overall, the proportion of girls and boys who liked fiction ‘a lot’ was 63%, just over half (53%) said the same for non-fiction, and 37% for comics and magazines.
The findings showed that students who had higher levels of enjoyment for fiction and non-fiction, and who read more frequently were more likely to have better reading skills.