Why do more boys than girls have a reading disability? A review of the evidence

Lisa Limbrick, Kevin Wheldall, Alison Madelaine

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)


    A number of explanations have been proposed in recent years to account for the observed preponderance of boys with a reading disability. The most notable explanations offered for gender differences in reading disability relate to differences in phonemic awareness, auditory processing, behaviour, neurology, variability in cognitive ability and reading motivation. The purpose of this article was to review the available evidence supporting each of these explanations. The impact of confounding variables, including sample selection, sample bias, intelligence, and socioeconomic status was also discussed. Although the different explanations have, to some degree, an impact on overall reading achievement, it does not appear that any single explanation wholly accounts for gender differences in reading ability, and that gender is not a strong or consistent predictor of reading success.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-24
    Number of pages24
    JournalAustralasian Journal of Special Education
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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    • Lee Mills Teacher Training Award

      Limbrick, Lisa (Recipient), 2010

      Prize: AwardExternal award

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