Girls are better readers, also cooler in general

A survey of students aged 5 to 16 showed that, while boys and girls read the same number of books, girls choose more difficult titles than boys. Ladies: always awesomer. What I found interesting was this:
High-achieving children - defined as reading two years above their age - are not challenging themselves enough when it comes to reading as they tend to opt for easier books than their reading ability warrants, the report suggests.


"If they [children] are reading books that are below their independent reading level it may give them enjoyment but it won't extend their reading ability and literacy rates are at risk of continuing to decline," [Professor Topping] said.
I have trouble believing that, considering the difficulty getting kids to read in the first place, the article judges children who read for fun. Also, content often dictates reading level to some degree, and you know what you're getting into, more or less, when reading YA fiction versus adult fiction--something pretty obvious when you consider the large number of adults reading the Twilight novels.


  1. The kindergarten teacher in me is really frustrated by this. Reading is reading. I don't care what it is, I am just happy when kids want to read the stories on the page.

    A big part of reading is comprehension, understanding story structure, and enjoyment (dammit I said it!)--if we are pushing these kids to constantly challenge themselves with harder, longer, whatever books then they aren't going to miss the enjoyment part of reading because they're going to be too busy worrying about the comprehension.

    I say LET KIDS READ... and stop dictating to them what they HAVE to read. Hell, we're already up against Nickelodeon and Playstation... we need to teach kids the joy of reading, and chances are--they'll pick up the tough stuff on their own and work through it without being prompted.

  2. Shoot. I read middle grade novels all the time. And I'm 26. Eep!

  3. I was glad that you pointed out content dictating some of what kids are reading. Exposing kids to content they are not ready for just because they should be capable of understanding the words on the page is just not fair. More than one classic was nearly ruined for me because I read it before I was emotionally mature enough for it, not because I couldn't understand the story.

    If we let kids read for fun, and pick content that interests them (within reason, of course!), their reading skills develop organically. The strongest readers are the ones who grew up reading on purpose for leisure. Sucking the fun out of it doesn't achieve anything.

  4. And conversely, my younger son who really does not read for pleasure, only enjoyed reading when he started reading non YA books. His favorite novel in seventh grade was Curious Incident . . . go figure.