Gender differences in reading ability and attitudes: Examining where these differences lie

Sarah McGeown, R. Johnston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The aim of this study was to investigate gender differences in the relationship between reading ability, frequency of reading and attitudes and beliefs relating to reading and school. Two hundred and thirty-two 10-year-old children (117 male) completed a reading comprehension test and a questionnaire exploring the following areas: frequency of reading, attitude to reading, attitude to school, competency beliefs and perceived academic support (from peers and teacher). Overall, girls had better reading comprehension, read more frequently and had a more positive attitude to reading and school. However, smaller gender differences were found in reading ability than in attitudes and frequency of reading. Indeed, effect sizes for gender differences in reading were found to be small in this and other studies. Reading ability correlated with both boys' and girls' reading frequency and competency beliefs; however, only boys' reading ability was associated with their attitude to reading and school. Notably, gender differences were found predominantly in the relationship between factors, rather than solely in the factors themselves. Previous research has neglected to study these relationships, and has focused instead on the gender differences found in individual factors. Conclusions are made regarding the applicability of these findings to the school situation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-214
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Research in Reading
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2009


Dive into the research topics of 'Gender differences in reading ability and attitudes: Examining where these differences lie'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this