Why do more boys than girls have a reading disability? a review of the evidence

Lisa Limbrick*, Kevin Wheldall, Alison Madelaine

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


A number of explanations have been proposed in recent years to account for the observed preponderance of boys with a reading disability. The most notable explanations offered for gender differences in reading disability relate to differences in phonemic awareness, auditory processing, behaviour, neurology, variability in cognitive ability and reading motivation. The purpose of this article was to review the available evidence supporting each of these explanations. The impact of confounding variables, including sample selection, sample bias, intelligence, and socioeconomic status was also discussed. Although the different explanations have, to some degree, an impact on overall reading achievement, it does not appear that any single explanation wholly accounts for gender differences in reading ability, and that gender is not a strong or consistent predictor of reading success.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalAustralasian Journal of Special Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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