For the first time, a pan-European study offers a comprehensive picture of reading literacy and identifies some of the key factors impacting on the acquisition of reading skills for 3-15 year olds. It addresses four key topics: teaching approaches, tackling reading difficulties, teacher education and the promotion of reading outside school. It investigates each key topic in the light of the results of academic research, the latest results of international surveys and an in-depth review of national policies, programmes and best practices.
This new Eurydice study shows what countries are doing to improve reading literacy – and where they are falling short. The study, which covers 31 countries (EU Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Turkey), reveals that while most have made progress in developing literacy policies, they often lack focus on the groups most at risk, such as boys, children from disadvantaged households and migrant children. EU Education Ministers have set a target to reduce the share of poor readers from 20 % to less than 15 % by 2020. Only Belgium (Flemish Community), Denmark, Estonia, Poland and Finland have already achieved this target.
It also reveals that only eight countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Malta, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom) provide reading specialists at schools to support teachers and pupils.
The Eurydice report is an important input to the work of the High Level Group of experts in the field of literacy, set up by Commissioner Vassiliou in January 2011. The group is examining how to support literacy at all ages and which policy initiatives and programmes have been successful. The group will make policy proposals by mid-2012.