A new study shows that boys disliking fictional reading is a widely believed myth. As per the study, gender stereotypes around reading might hold them back from participating in classroom discussions.
The findings were peer-reviewed by the International Journal of Inclusive Education. In contrast, fiction is the most preferred reading genre for schoolboys compared to comics, magazines, and non-fiction. Fifty-seven percent of boys said that they enjoyed fiction storybooks 'a lot'.
A survey was conducted on 300 school students in Australia who were in the age group of seven to eight years.
Girls More Likely To Prefer Non-Fiction
In contrast, girls are more likely to rate the enjoyment of non-fictional reading higher than boys. Previously, the rate of boys taking up reading as a hobby might have been under-estimated. The recent research has important implications on parents, teachers, and policy-makers.
Hindustan Times quoted lead study author Laura Scholes, an expert in educational Semiotics in the Institute of Learning Sciences and Teacher Education in Australian Catholic University, who led the study demanding reforms in literacy agendas to not focus only on developing reading skills. She contends that teachers should also promote the will to read and the enjoyment it provides.
She said that teachers should communicate with parents regularly and emphasize inculcating reading habits among children. She also noted that fiction played a significant role in facilitating ample opportunities for long-lasting enjoyment involving reading.
Variation In Reading Preferences
Previous International studies have proven that the joy linked to reading led to higher reading outcomes. However, it varies according to a child's gender, location and socio-economic status. The study challenges the age-old myth that boys prefer to read non-fiction. Hence, there is a need for focusing on the enjoyment gained after reading, especially fiction, in the early years of schooling.