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

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.

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