Study Finds Russia, Singapore, and Hong Kong Have the Best Primary School Readers in the World

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According to the latest Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), Russia, Singapore, and Hong Kong are the top three countries in the world when it comes to the literacy of primary school students. The study examined the reading skills of over 340,000 children across the world to determine which countries children excel in reading and which are below par.

As RTE reports, the study is carried out every five years and countries around the globe can choose to take part. Interestingly, girls tend to perform better than boys with an average of 19 points between the two genders. Each country is given a score based upon how well pupils do in a reading assessment and the scores are as follows:

Russian Federation – 581
Singapore – 576
Hong Kong SAR – 569
Ireland – 567
Finland – 566
Poland – 565
Northern Ireland – 565
Norway – 559
Chinese Taipei – 559
England – 559
Latvia – 558
Sweden – 555
Hungary – 554
Bulgaria – 552
United States – 549
Lithuania – 548
Italy – 548
Denmark – 547
Macao SAR – 546
Netherlands – 545
Australia – 544
Czech Republic – 543
Canada – 543
Slovenia – 542
Austria – 541
Germany – 537
Kazakhstan – 536
Slovak Republic – 535
Israel – 530
Portugal – 528
Spain – 528
Belgium (FI) – 525
New Zealand – 523
France – 511
Belgium (FR) – 497
Chile – 494
Georgia – 488
Trinidad and Tobago – 479
Azerbaijan – 472
Malta – 452
United Arab Emirates – 450
Bahrain – 446
Qatar – 442
Saudi Arabia – 430
Iran, Islamic Republic of – 428
Oman – 418
Kuwait – 393
Morocco – 358
Egypt – 330
South Africa – 320

As you can see, Poland and Northern Ireland are tied for sixth place, Norway, Chinese Taipei, and England are tied for seventh, Lithuania and Italy are tied for thirteenth, Czech Republic and Canada are tied for eighteenth, and Portugal and Spain are tied for twenty-fifth. The average score for this year’s result is 510.

This study of course only reflects the literary strengths of each country and not the quality of the country’s education system as a whole. It would be interesting to see how each country performed when evaluated on other subjects such as mathematics or science. Regardless, it’s still a good way for each country to see how much improvement is need when it comes to young children’s literacy.

New Literary Award Launches for Funny Women Writers

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In recent years the Wodehouse prize, the only literary prize for comic fiction, has come under scrutiny and accusations of sexism after only awarding the prize to women three times in its eighteen years. Since 1991, Helen Fielding, Marina Lewycka and Hannah Rothschild are the only authors to win the prize and accusations of sexism have been rife. Read More

Neil Gaiman plans to write another episode of Doctor Who

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Neil Gaiman, one of our absolute favourite writers here at For Reading Addicts, has expressed his continuing desire to write more episodes of the science fiction series Doctor Who.

His last Doctor Who episode was aired in 2013; much to Gaiman’s chagrin his plans to write episode for the twelfth Doctor, Peter Capaldi, never came to fruition. Timing and other commitments (namely Good Omens) meant he had no time for Doctor Who.

The lifelong Whovian spoke to Digital Spy: “If you examine my DNA and you go in deep enough, with a good enough microscope, you’re gonna see a TARDIS, with a little light blinking on the top!”

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Nobel Prize Winning Author VS Naipaul Dies

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Novelist VS Naipaul has died peacefully at home in London just a few days before his 86th birthday. The Nobel Prize winning author of more than thirty books including A Bend in the River and A House for Mr Biswas was born in rural Trinidad in 1932 and went on to become a key figure in British literary heritage.

Sir VS Naipaul had been in ill health for a while and published his final work, the nonfiction The Masque of Africa: Glimpses of African Belief in 2010. Today the literary world is in shock. Here are some of the tributes on Twitter today.

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Bill Clinton’s First Novel Has Sold over 1 Million Copies

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Despite only being released a few months ago on June 4, Bill Clinton’s first novel has managed to sell over 1 million copies in North America alone. Co-written with James Patterson, The President is Missing is a thriller which sees the President go undercover after a devastating cyber attack. The novel is Clinton’s first work of fiction and was no doubt helped by having such a prolific co-author on board.
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British Bookshop Owner Raffles Off Business

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Paul Morris, owner of the Bookends Bookshop in Cardigan, West Wales has come up with a ‘novel’ way to sell his business, by raffling it off to his customers. The bookshop owner Paul Morris, and his wife Leila are saying goodbye to the Bookends Bookshop after running it for the last four years and they want to give someone else a chance by raffling it off to their customers.

Anyone who visits the Bookends Bookstore in Cardigan between now and the end of August and spends £20 or more will have their name put into Paul’s famous top hat (Paul is a big fan of the Steampunk genre), and in September one lucky winner will be drawn to win the entire lot!
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