An examination of the effects of reading instruction and gender differences on children's reading

Logan, Sarah

January 2008

Thesis or dissertation

© 2008 Sarah Logan. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

The aim of this thesis is to explore a number of areas relating to children’s reading. The experimental studies were designed to investigate reading strategies, attitudes to reading and underlying cognitive processes. However the focus within each of them is to examine the effects of reading instruction and gender. The results from all gender comparison studies illustrate that the significant gender differences perceived to exist in reading ability are actually relatively small in terms of statistical significance. However greater gender differences can be found in measures of planning and attention, attitude to school, attitude to reading and frequency of reading. The studies also investigated the effects of two different reading programmes; synthetic phonics and Progression in Phonics (the National Literacy Strategy’s analytic phonics based programme). The results of this thesis support the value of teaching synthetic phonics, as more children taught by this method become independent readers early on, become better readers later on, and there are fewer underachievers when taught by this method. Synthetic phonics provided children with better phonological reading skills, which boosted their ability to read irregular as well as regular words and is therefore suitable for opaque languages like English. In addition, no differences in reading attitudes were found according to type of reading instruction. Finally, the way in which children are taught to read appears to change the cognitive substrate underpinning reading, and may also develop skills beyond the reading system.

Department of Psychology, University of Hull
Johnston, Rhona S.
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