This study analyses reading proficiency, strategy use, and interest in English as the second language (L2) of 463 upper secondary students (16/17-year-olds). They were identified among a national sample of 10,331 students and labelled ‘Outliers’ due to their unusual combination of being poor readers in L1, but good readers in L2. Further analysis showed that the Outliers use relevant reading strategies and report high interest in L2. The largest group was boys in vocational programmes, a group with a high dropout rate internationally. The findings challenge key assumptions about poor readers in L1 also being poor readers in L2, while at the same time adding to studies on the importance of gender and interest for reading comprehension.
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