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Reading & Literacy What the Research Says

Biases Can Hurt Boys’ Reading

By Sarah D. Sparks — March 17, 2020 1 min read

Children adapt their attitudes toward reading to conform to their classmates’ perceived gender stereotypes, in ways that put boys at a disadvantage, according to a new study in the journal Child Development.

Researchers tracked achievement and beliefs about reading competency for more than 1,500 5th graders. They found the strength of individual students’ beliefs in gender stereotypes about reading was associated with their own self-efficacy and motivation in reading, with girls generally feeling positive and boys negative toward the subject.

After controlling for individual gender stereotypes, they found boys whose classmates held reading-related gender stereotypes had lower reading enjoyment, motivation, and achievement.

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A version of this article appeared in the March 18, 2020 edition of Education Week as Biases Can Hurt Boys’ Reading

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