See, his view is that the big problem with the UK education system and boys is that they lose all interest in reading for pleasure right around that 10-11 age range. This is, in part, because the generally approved reading materials in schools have a heavy female tilt (lots of teddy bears and thinking about feelings, not so much on the swords, dragons and robots), but there's not actually a mandatory reading list at this age and teachers (if they're willing to stand up to the senior management in their school if needed) have quite a lot of leeway.
I don't think this is so much about a male/female thing as much as, this is about the age range where teachers start really wanting to "expose" kids to the changes that are comming in their life and give them through story the context to deal with the oncoming turmoil of the teenage years...and frankly.... I think that desire ends up overshadowing other concerns.
It took a bit longer than that but, I can say, that by mid high school the readings we were being assigned were, on the whole, quite boring, and as I went to an all boys school, they were very much geared towards maturing boys.
Frankly if not for a few books, including 1984, brave new world, and some really excellent classes on Shakespear that made his works entirely approachable and enjoyable, I might have never picked up a book for entertainment purposes again. In fact, I didn't for at least 5 years after leaving school....and prior to "young adult reading", as a child, I actually did read for enjoyment and even picked up books on my own outside of class. Hell I read Moby Dick (unabridged) in the 4th grade... my teacher actually tried to dissuede me, but I took it out of the library and did my book report on it anyway. The report sucked, I totally missed many of the important themes of the book and really only was able to focus on some of the action but you know.... I still enjoyed the hell out of it, it still made me want to read more rather than less.
That said, it does seem that a lot more adult women read books for pleasure than adult men, but even that isn't completely cut and dry.... I have seen some of the books some of my female friends read and, they have admitted in their own words that visual porn does nothing for them, and that some of their books really are little more than porn with the same sort of thinly disguised excuse of a plot as the movies about which cities "Debbie Does" (side note: get off my lawn).
Now, I don't really think that "women get their porn in text" explains the difference in at least percieved (I haven't looked for numbers) rates of reading for enjoyment between men and women however; if those differences are real, I would not be entirely shocked to find out that some of the underlying reasons for it turn out to be related.
I probably would be only very slightly less unshocked to find out the differences have no biological basis at all and are primarily culturally driven.