Scientists at Southern Methodist University reported the findings based on a study of 199 middle school students who struggled with reading and participated in a reading improvement class that employed Amazon's Kindle e-reader.
Boys consistently had a higher self-concept of their reading skill than girls both before and after using e-readers, researcher Dara Williams-Rossi said.
After use of the e-readers, boys' attitudes about the value of reading improved, while girls' attitudes declined, she said.
"The technology appeared to motivate the boys to read while many girls preferred the actual books," Williams-Rossi said.
"It may be that they prefer curling up with actual books and that they enjoy sharing their reading with their friends."
Students generally liked using e-readers and many felt using them helped their reading improve, the researchers found.
The e-readers sparked excitement among the students, they said, resulting in positive attention for the students in the reading improvement classes, with students who weren't in such classes asking how they could join "the Kindle classes."