Do more boys than girls have reading problems?

Kevin Wheldall*, Lisa Limbrick

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


There is controversy within the research literature concerning the relative prevalence of reading problems in boys and girls. The authors report findings from very large and very representative samples of Australian students. Data from the New South Wales Basic Skills Test (BST) for reading, administered annually to third and fifth grade students in New South Wales schools, were analyzed for 1997 to 2006. Poor readers were defined as students who scored in the lowest BST bands, Bands 1 and 2. Average boy/girl ratios for third-grade students were 1.66:1 (Band 1) and 1.44:1 (combined Bands 1 and 2) and for fifth grade students were 2.26:1 (Band 1) and 1.99:1 (combined Bands 1 and 2). The findings of this study confirm earlier research that more boys than girls experience reading problems, but these differences in incidence may be more modest than previous research has suggested.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)418-429
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Learning Disabilities
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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