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Research illustrates that girls indicate more positive attitudes towards reading than boys. Gender differences are often presented in simplistic terms with ‘all boys’ represented as one homogenous group.
This study developed a survey to identify similarities and differences in boys' and girls' attitudes towards a range of school‐related activities, including reading, and among boys themselves. The survey of 296 (f = 137, m = 159) 8‐ to 10‐year‐olds attending elementary schools in Australia was designed to identify the way attitudes towards school‐related activities, including reading, may be interrelated. Cluster analysis identified nuances associated with socio‐economic background, reading frequency and reading outcomes.
Results indicated that girls and boys were represented similarly in the cluster groups that indicated positive enjoyment for books. However, there were significantly more girls than boys who enjoyed the social aspects of reading. A main finding was that many boys indicated they personally enjoyed reading, in contrast to previous studies, however, they did not necessarily enjoy the social aspects of reading with this finding particularly evident for boys from lower socio‐economic backgrounds. Attitude towards reading was interrelated with the social aspects of reading and other school‐related activities such as competition sports.
Outcomes from the survey cluster groupings made visible the multiplicity of differences among boys' attitudes towards reading that are often left out of simplistic representations in educational policies, teaching literature and the popular media. Findings suggest the need to open up educational discussions about the ways that reading attitudes may be embedded within, and related to, socio‐economic location and other school‐based experiences.


Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education

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Journal Article

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