ESRI Research Bulletin

Social class and gender inequalities in reading ability among nine-year-olds in Ireland

ESRI Research Bulletin Articles provide short summaries of work published by ESRI researchers and overviews of thematic areas covered by ESRI programmes of research. Bulletin Articles are designed to be easily accessible to a wide readership. A reference or references to the full publication is included at the start of each Bulletin article.

November 10, 2022
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Given growing concerns about disengagement and lower achievement among boys from disadvantaged backgrounds, our research looks at the extent to which social class and gender differences in reading ability are evident by age nine. It explores whether these differences can be explained by how much children were read to by their parents, whether they attended centre-based care and the age they started primary school. The research also examines how differences at age nine relate to children’s earlier vocabulary development. Any inequalities by social class background or between girls and boys at this stage will have longer-term consequences for later engagement with learning and subsequent life chances.