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Girls read more for pleasure than boys

By John Published: September 7, 2011

I've just added the educationtoday blog from the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development to my Google Reader to keep on International trends in education.  The latest post is here: 

Even though better reading performance in PISA is more associated with reading for pleasure every day than with how many hours a student spends reading, the latest issue of PISA in Focus reports that, in 2009, only around two-thirds of students in OECD countries said that they read for pleasure daily; and in most OECD countries, the proportion of students who said they read for enjoyment was smaller in 2009 than it was in 2000.

Reading for pleasure is also associated with girls – there's a 20 percentage-point gender gap among 15-year-olds who read for enjoyment – and with socio-economic advantage – on average across OECD countries, 72% of advantaged students read for pleasure while only 56% of disadvantaged students do. And in as many as ten OECD countries, that latter gap is more than 20 percentage points wide.

It's troubling enough that in 2009 fewer boys and girls reported that they read for pleasure than their counterparts did in 2000; but PISA results also show that the decline is steeper among boys in nearly all countries.

Next week, the OECD is releasing a report:
Topic: Education at a Glance is the leading international compendium of comparable national statistics on education. This year's edition shows how the economic crisis has changed the job perspectives for workers at different qualification levels. It presents an overview on how much countries invest in education and how they allocate their resources within the education system.

The OECD also has published an extremely useful book, Understanding the Brain: The Birth of a Learning Science, which  summarizes the contributions of cognitive science and neuroscience to education, available here.

I was fortunate to meet the OECD project leader for that book, Bruno della Chiesa at the third biennial conference of the International Mind, Brain and Education Society in San Diego in June.




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