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Reading: Males

Volume 462: debated on Thursday 28 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps are being taken to improve reading skills among teenage boys. (146493)

Good reading skills are essential to improving chances of success for all young people. The literacy standards of all pupils have improved markedly over the past decade, but within this there remains a roughly constant gender gap: boys tend to read less than girls, and to achieve lower rates of literacy as measured by English tests.

The Boys into Books initiative which the Government launched last month allows every state-funded secondary school with boys on roll to select 20 free books from a new list created by the School Library Association; the take-up of this offer is already approaching two-thirds of all eligible schools. The Reading Champions initiative provides a range of ideas and resources to encourage boys to read more by using the motivational power of reading role models. Both initiatives support our wider programme to promote literacy, including the planned National Year of Reading in 2008.