Concerns that boys lag behind girls has been frequently expressed.
Roald Dahl remains the most popular children's author. He is closely followed by Roderick Hunt, author of the popular Magic Key series, which is part of the Oxford Reading Scheme. Diary of a Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney and the creator of Horrid Henry Francesca Simon were also hugely popular.
The What Kids Are Reading study carried out by Dundee University's Prof Keith Topping, and funded by Renaissance Learning, uses computer software to analyse at what level of difficulty children are reading when they read for pleasure.
It focused on schools which use this software to direct children to appropriate books for their age.
Prof Topping said: "My assumption is that this year boys are being especially encouraged to read harder books by their teachers.
"I find it difficult to see what else might be changing out there to account for this. This is of course extremely encouraging."
The study also suggested that some of the efforts to direct boys towards books which particularly interest them had paid off. It found that where children were particularly interested, they were reading books far above their chronological age.
Prof Topping says: "In the first years children were reading very difficult books with a high degree of success - it is remarkable what reading motivating books does for children."
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