PIRLS (Progress in International Reading Literacy Study) collected data on student, family and institutional factors that explain differences in student reading performance. Findings include:
Girls outread boys.
Children from homes promoting literacy become better readings.
Only half of students enjoy reading,and almost 1/3 hardly ever read for fun.
Textbooks are the foundation of reading instruction, but independent silent reading is a frequent classroom activity.
In schools with few disadvantaged students reading achievement is much higher than in schools where 50+% students are disadvantage.
Ina V.S. Mullis, Michael O. Martin, Ann M. Kennedy, and Pierre Foy (2007). IEA's Progress in International Reading Literacy Study in Primary School in 40 Countries Chestnut Hill, MA: TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center, Boston College.