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Here’s A Simple Trick That Closes The Reading Gap Between Boys And Girls

Every dad and 80s stand up comedian knows the same thing to be true: men and women are different. Now that you’re raising tiny versions of one or both of these, you get to see these distinctions take shape first hand. And if you had to take a stab at who’s the more competitive of the 2, you’d probably crush your wife, mother and potentially sister with your guess. New research out of France uses this edge to challenge the long held notion that girls are better at reading than boys, after finding that boys actually scored higher than girls if tests were reframed as a game. Attaboy.

The study, published in the Journal Of Experimental Social Psychology looked at 80 children, 48 boys and 30 girls, with an average age of 9, over the span of 4 separate classes. When 2 classes received a silent reading test (their favorite!) and were instructed to underline as many animal names as possible, boys had an average of 33.3 correct answers compared to 43.3 by the girls. But when the other 2 classes were told the the test was an animal game from a magazine instead, the opposite happened — boys scored 44.7 correct answers, compared with 38.3 correct answers for girls. This confirms that winning always beats reading, which you’ve suspected for a long time. Take that books!


While the data is based on a relatively small sample size, the broader takeaway is something most parents can get behind: your sons and daughters both do best when lessons play to their strengths. Really, the problem with academic testing right now is not the players, it’s the game. So ultimately, you know exactly what to hate on.

[H/T] The Wall Street Journal