Gender Differences in Early Literacy

Topics: Educational years, Fourth grade, Third grade Pages: 27 (9174 words) Published: August 25, 2013
School Psychology Review, 2010, Volume 39, No. 2, pp. 240 –257

Gender Differences in Early Literacy: Analysis of Kindergarten through Fifth-Grade Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills Probes Jaime L. Below Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt Christopher H. Skinner The University of Tennessee Jamie Y. Fearrington Appalachian State University Christy A. Sorrell Little Tennessee Valley Educational Cooperative Abstract. Using a cross-sectional design and five Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills measures, researchers tested for gender differences in reading skills for 1,218 kindergarten through fifth-grade students. A series of two-way repeated measures analyses of variance with time of year (fall, winter, and spring) serving as the within-subjects variable and gender serving as the between-subjects variable showed girls scored significantly higher than boys on the four kindergarten measures; however, these differences were small. Firstgrade students were assessed on three of these four measures and there were no significant differences across boys and girls. For the oral reading fluency measure (Grades 1–5), a significant female advantage did not emerge until Grade 4 but was not significant in our Grade 5 sample. By the end of fifth grade, the difference in mean oral reading fluency scores was 1 word correct per minute. Discussion focuses on applied and theoretical implications of these findings, limitations of the study, and directions for future researchers.

Approximately a century ago, Ayers (1909) expressed concern over a male deficit in reading achievement. These findings have

been confirmed across researchers, populations, age/grade levels, and measures. For example, researchers compared reading scores

This research was supported by the Korn Learning, Assessment, and Social Skills Center at The University of Tennessee. Correspondence regarding this article should be addressed to Christopher H. Skinner, The University of Tennessee, BEC 525, Knoxville, TN 37996-3452; E-mail: Copyright 2010 by the National Association of School Psychologists, ISSN 0279-6015 240

Gender Differences in Early Literacy

for 367,188 eighth-grade students taking the Minnesota Basic Skills Test from 1996 through 2001 (Davenport et al., 2002). Gender differences in reading that favored females were found for each year and the effect size (approximately 0.17) remained relatively constant across years. Klecker’s (2006) analysis of 4th-, 8th-, and 12th-grade students’ National Assessment of Educational Progress reading comprehension scores from 1992 to 2003 showed that females outperformed males every year at all three grade levels. In 4th grade, effect sizes ranged from 0.13 to 0.27 and were larger in the 8th (0.27– 0.43) and 12th (0.22– 0.44) grades. Similar discrepancies have been documented in international samples (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 2001). In addition, researchers examining reading disabilities found clear evidence of male vulnerability with male-to-female ratios ranging from 2.04 to 6.78 across students 7–10 years old (Berger, Yule, & Rutter, 1975; Coutinho & Oswald, 2005; Flannery, Liederman, Daly, & Schultz, 2000; Lovell, Shapton, & Warren, 1964; Wehmeyer & Schwartz, 2001). Physiological-maturational and culturalsocietal factors may be related to male deficits in reading skills (Holbrook, 1988). Researchers investigating physiological-maturational theories have examined processing differences. Sequential processing refers to the ability to process information in sequence, and simultaneous processing is the ability to integrate parts of information into a meaningful whole. Perhaps because of increased levels of fetal testosterone delaying the development of the left-brain hemisphere (Geschwind & Behan, 1982; Waber, 1979), males tend to perform better on tasks requiring simultaneous (visual) processing and worse on tasks involving sequential...

References: 255
School Psychology Review, 2010, Volume 39, No
Woodcock, R. W., & Johnson, M. B. (1989). WoodcockJohnson Psycho-Educational Battery—Revised. Allen, TX: DLM.
Date Received: January 22, 2009 Date Accepted: January 30, 2010 Action Editor: James DiPerna
Jaime L
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