Boys’ and Girls’ Reading Skills and Attitudes During the First Six School Years

  • Tuula Merisuo-StormEmail author
  • Juli-Anna Aerila
Part of the Literacy Studies book series (LITS, volume 15)


We have conducted several studies in Finland on primary school pupils’ reading skills and attitudes towards reading. Results show that girls have better reading skills and more positive attitudes than boys. However, boys’ confidence in their reading skills is high and they assess their skills better than they actually are. Boys have negative opinions, especially about the exercises during the literacy lessons and homework. Therefore, teachers should consider what kind of tasks and reading materials would interest boys as well as girls. In addition, it would be good to connect social interaction and conversations with peers to reading. Textbooks are today still a central source of information in content area classes. Reading comprehension tests in both history and natural sciences show that, in sixth grade, boys have especial difficulties in understanding these contents. It would also be necessary to use other types of reading materials and to teach reading comprehension strategies that help pupils understand the contents of the textbooks, to find the main ideas in the text, to combine different pieces of information, and to make inferences. There is a strong correlation between pupils’ self-esteem, reading attitudes, and reading comprehension skills. Pupils who have good self-esteem have a positive attitude towards reading and good reading comprehension skills. This is the case especially for boys. Consequently, it is essential that teachers support the positive development of pupils’ self-esteem as well as reading skills and attitudes.


Reading skills Reading attitudes Gender Primary school Finland 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Teacher EducationUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland

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