Friday, November 30, 2007

Losing Ground on Literacy - International Results

The IEA's PIRLS report was released on November 28th. This is an international study of reading literacy in 40 countries at the primary school level. Here are some of the results.
PIRLS 2006 reinforces on a worldwide basis the well-established finding that children from homes fostering literacy become better readers. Students had higher reading achievement when they were from homes where their parents enjoyed reading and read frequently, books were in abundance, and students were engaged in literacy activities--from alphabet blocks to word games--from an early age.

Only about half the students across the PIRLS 2006 countries agreed that they enjoyed reading and appreciated books, reflecting a troubling downward trend since 2001. Moreover, fewer students in PIRLS 2006 reported reading for fun. Almost one third hardly ever read for fun (twice monthly at most).

In PIRLS 2001, and again in PIRLS 2006, girls had higher reading achievement than boys in all countries (509 vs. 492, on average). The difference was substantial in many countries, raising concern about the educational prospects of so many low-achieving boys during their adolescent years and beyond.

Both principals and teachers reported that textbooks were the foundation of reading instruction. In general, more students were asked to read literary than informational texts on a weekly basis.

Both teachers and students agreed that independent silent reading was a frequent classroom activity. Most often, students were asked to answer questions about what they had read, either orally or via worksheets.

You can read the Washington Post article where they share more U.S. statistics. You can also get your own copy of the report in pdf format.

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