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Study shows girls more likely than boys to enjoy reading at age 8

03 June 2016 | Tags: Growing up in Scotland, children and young people

A new report from the ‘Growing Up in Scotland’ study, conducted by ScotCen Social Research, shows that girls are more likely than boys to enjoy reading at age 8: three-quarters of girls (74%) said they liked reading ‘a lot’ compared with only 3 in 5 of boys (58%).

Overall, researchers found that two-thirds (66%) of 8-year-olds said they liked reading ‘a lot’ and a quarter (24%) said they liked it ‘a bit’. Just one in ten said they did not like reading.

Exposure to reading in the early years

Growing Up in Scotland (GUS) is a longitudinal study which tracks the lives of thousands of children from birth throughout childhood.

The study published today found that, when controlling for other factors, being read to frequently at age 2 or age 5 was not linked to a greater likelihood of enjoying reading at age 8.

It also highlights that although children from disadvantaged backgrounds are less likely than those from advantaged backgrounds to be read to frequently when they are younger, children from disadvantaged backgrounds are just as likely as their more advantaged peers to enjoy reading when they are aged 8.

The study found no significant differences in enjoyment of reading according to the child’s ethnicity, parental level of education, or the mother’s age at the time of the child’s birth.

Paul Bradshaw, Head of ScotCen, said:

“These findings are reassuring: in our increasingly digital age the majority of children enjoy reading to some extent, regardless of their background. As well as being an essential life skill, research has shown that reading regularly is linked to improving children’s vocabulary and cognitive development. However, the discrepancy between boys’ and girls’ enjoyment of reading shows that more needs to be done to engage boys in reading.”


For more information contact Sophie Brown: 0207 549 9550 or 07734 960 069

Notes to Editors

The Growing Up in Scotland survey, carried out by ScotCen Social Research since 2004, is a large-scale longitudinal research project aimed at tracking the lives of several cohorts of Scottish children from the early years, through childhood and beyond. Underpinned by a wide-ranging purpose, the principal aim of the study is to provide information to support policy-making in Scotland, but it is also intended to be a broader resource that can be drawn on by academics, voluntary sector organisations and other interested parties.

ScotCen Social Research is an independent, not for profit organisation. We believe that social research has the power to make life better. By really understanding the complexity of people’s lives and what they think about the issues that affect them, we give the public a powerful and influential role in shaping decisions and services that can make a difference to everyone.