London: Four-in-10 boys and almost a fifth of girls in the UK cannot write a simple shopping list or a letter to Santa Claus, a new study has found.
The study also found that more than one in seven British boys are unable to write their own names at the age of five.
Researchers found that 15 per cent of boys struggle to form simple words such as dog, cat, mum and dad from memory at the end of the reception year, the `Telegraph` reported.
The figures show that British boys are twice as likely as girls to fail in basic writing at the end of pre-school.
Data from the Department for Education also showed that four-in-10 boys and almost a fifth of girls cannot write a simple shopping list or a letter to Santa.
As many as eight per cent boys cannot count up to 10, compared with just five per cent of girls, the data showed.
The disclosure follows warnings that too many boys are failing to get a good start to their education.
A cross-party group of UK lawmakers and peers have warned that large numbers of boys were failing to develop literacy skills at an early age because of a shortage of male teachers combined with an anti-book culture among many fathers.
The department acknowledged that "girls continue to achieve at a higher level than boys" in every area of early development.