Reading and Related Skills in the Early School Years: Are boys really more likely to struggle?

Lisa Limbrick*, Kevin Wheldall, Alison Madelaine

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This study examined whether boys and girls in the early school years differed in reading and related skills, and their rates of progress. Gender ratios were calculated to ascertain whether there were more boys than girls who struggle with different facets of reading, and whether the variability of boys' scores resulted in more boys being identified as poor readers, as evidenced by previous studies. A sample of 335 students in Years 1 and 2 were administered six reading and related assessments. Boys and girls did not significantly differ on any of the measures, and differences in gains were negligible. Boys did not consistently demonstrate significantly greater variability in scores (with the exception of single-word reading and spelling in Year 1 only). These differences, however, did not affect gender ratios for poor performance. Gender ratios were relatively low across measures, but increased with years of schooling. Implications of the results are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-358
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Disability, Development and Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012


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