Boys fall further behind girls for daily reading amid lockdown, study suggests
BOYS have fallen further behind girls at reading regularly and enjoying it during lockdown.
The gender gap in the number of children who say they take pleasure in reading and who read daily appears to have widened, prompting fears that boys could be at "risk of losing out" due to the pandemic.
Greater access to audiobooks at school and home may help re-engage boys with literacy, the report from the National Literacy Trust (NLT) and Puffin says, as findings suggest they are more popular with boys.
Fiona Evans, NLT director of schools programmes, called for more schools to introduce "audio libraries" - and for fathers and grandfathers to be role models.
The research, based on surveys of children aged 8-18 in Britain and Northern Ireland before and during lockdown, found that more girls and boys have been reading daily and said they are enjoying reading at home.
But the enjoyment gap between boys and girls has increased five-fold - from just over a 2 percentage point difference at the start of 2020 to a 11.5 percentage point difference during lockdown.
More girls than boys said they read daily in their free time before the lockdown and this trend has continued, with the gap between boys and girls in terms of their daily reading widening in the past months.
"It remains to be seen whether these changes are sustained or whether a return to school and a degree of known-normality will help boys catch up," the report concluded.