The development of interest in reading and its relationship to reading ability was examined longitudinally in 117 children in Grades 1-3. Interest in reading was measured by eight items from the Elementary Reading Attitude Survey. Less able readers had lower interest in reading, but their development was parallel to that of more able readers. Interest in reading in Grade 1 was weakly correlated with Grade 3 reading ability, but correlations were lower for interest measured in Grades 2 and 3. Hierarchical regression analyses indicated weak and inconsistent effects of reading interest on reading ability after controlling general cognitive ability, SES, phonological awareness and naming speed. It is concluded that interest in reading has only a weak relationship to reading ability in the early elementary years, and that much of that relationship overlaps with the effects of other more powerful predictors.