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Boys Discouraged by Gender Stereotypes from Reading Fiction: Study Finds


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Boys Discouraged by Gender Stereotypes from Reading Fiction: Study Finds

As per new research, the notion that boys dislike fiction reading is false. Consequently, fiction is the most popular reading genre among schoolboys in comparison to nonfiction, comics and magazines.

The research titled, “Year 3 boys’ and girls’ enjoyment for reading across economic demographics in Australia: Implications for boys and students from lower SES communities” published in the International Journal of Inclusive Education is thus a significant finding as it dispels and busts long-standing beliefs.

Laura Scholes, the study’s primary author, states one of the drawbacks of the long-held belief to be that teachers assign reading assignments to pupils based on their own preconceptions. Since the stereotype boosts a boys’ interest in non-fiction books. Teachers may end up giving more of those books to them.

As a result, schoolboys are missing out on reading fiction completely. The restrictions imposed on reading options lead to unintended implications on student’s futures. Highlighting how gender stereotypes and certain prejudices, have the propensity to hold students back in the classroom.

The Study

The aim of the study was to look into the reading habits of 3rd-grade students. To investigate children’s love for reading, frequency and performance on national reading exams. A total of 318 students were a part of the study. Thus, data from 152 boys and 166 girls from 14 schools in South East Queensland, Australia, were examined.

On a scale of ‘like a lot’ to ‘like a little’ to ‘don’t like’, all of the youngsters were asked to rate their enjoyment of reading. Categories ranged from fiction, nonfiction, comics and magazines. They also had to say how often they read, with options ranging from  ‘daily’ to ‘hardly ever’.

Overall, 63% of girls and boys said they like fiction “a lot”, while 53% said the same about non-fiction and 37% said the same about comics and magazines. Additionally, the findings indicated that students who read more regularly and loved fiction and non-fiction were more likely to have a higher reading ability.

Need for Reformation

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As per the Hindustan Times, Prof. Scholes is now calling for a reformation of literary agendas. She believes that the focus of the courses should not just be on improving reading abilities. Teachers could also encourage students to appreciate literature by encouraging them to read.

Furthermore, she believes, “Fiction plays a key role in reading development. So, facilitating opportunities to develop sustained enjoyment of reading of this text type in the classroom is one way to expand boys’ repertoire of experience”.

According to Scholes, library trips are particularly essential for developing readers and they may help kids from low-income families diversify their experiences. Ultimately, though, it is critical to go past detrimental gender stereotypes.

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