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.

Explore ‘The Sinking City’, a video game inspired by H.P. Lovecraft

By | Inspired by Literature, News | No Comments
It may surprise you to learn that many video games released over the years have been inspired by books. The Witcher games are based upon the Polish fantasy series written by Andrzej Sapkowski, Spec Ops: The Line is a modern retelling of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, and BioShock takes cues from the likes of Ayn Rand, George Orwell, and Aldous Huxley.

Those of you who enjoy video games and books will want to check out The Sinking City, an upcoming game from Frogwares. Inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft, The Sinking City sees players exploring an open city where things aren’t all they seem. Read More

Zoe Ball’s Book Club: 10 Summer Reads

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A few weeks ago we brought you the news that Zoe Ball was to launch a television book club. That airs next month and now the 10 books that are to be featured have been announced.

The Zoe Ball Book Club will run for ten weeks and views will be able to see the host welcome an expert panel and celebrity guests to talk about the reads each week. A week is a very short time to read each book and so we have the heads up on the books that will be featured.

For those who want to watch the show it will air every Sunday night at 8:30, and for those who want to get ahead on their reading, here are the featured books.

Read More

No Books Were Harmed in the Making of the Fahrenheit 451, Except the Ones That Were

By | Adaptations, News | No Comments
Way back in 2016, it was announced that HBO had begun developing a film adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s classic book Fahrenheit 451. Fans eagerly anticipated the film and earlier this year we got to see the first official trailer. There has been plenty of buzz for the film since then and now we’re only hours away from the film’s release. Read More

Amazon’s the Lord of the Rings Series Will Reportedly Follow a Young Aragorn

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Late last year, it was announced that Amazon has purchased the television rights to create a TV series based upon J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. The news caused a great deal of excitement among fans and we were eager to see what aspect of the War of the Ring the series will focus on, and whether or not it will tie in to Peter Jackson’s excellent film adaptations.
Since the announcement, it has been revealed that Amazon spent a quarter of a billion dollars for the rights alone, and that’s not considering how much it will cost to create the series itself. There have also been reports that Peter Jackson has been in talks with the company about being involved the ambitious show. Read More

Hidden Pages Uncovered in Anne Frank’s Diary

By | Children's Literature, News | No Comments
Anne Frank became famous for the diary she wrote while hiding with her family from the Germans during World War II. The diary is one of the best known accounts of the time but over the years we’ve had many revelations about Anne Frank’s Diary. Several years after it was released, Otto Frank confessed that he had removed some part from the diary where Anne spoke about sex, and made criticisms of her mother leading to the ‘Definitive version’ being released.

Today we hear more about the diary, giving further insights into Anne Frank’s character as researchers uncover several more pages that were originally stuck together. Read More

Remembering Tom Wolfe, Author of Bonfire of the Vanities

By | Authors, News | No Comments
Sad news reached us yesterday with the death of American author and journalist Tom Wolfe.

Born Thomas Kennerly Wolfe Jr. on 2nd March 1930 in Richmond Virginia, Tom Wolfe showed his love for writing early, as editor of the school newspaper. After graduating in 1947, Wolfe turned down an offer for Princeton University and instead attented Washington and Lee University where he was a member of the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity. During his time at university he majored in English, was sports editor of the university newspaper and helped to found a literary magazine, Shenandoah giving him plenty of opportunity to practice his writing and journalistic skills. Read More

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