It is the increased use of computers that can explain the development, according to professor Monica Rosén at Gothenburg university. Together with colleagues in other countries she has looked at the development of children's reading skills over the past 30 years.
And it turns out that Sweden - just like the US - where the use of computers spread relatively early, has seen a significant drop in reading skills since 1991, while countries such as Italy and Hungary have seen continued improvements.
"Now that we can compare on the same scale over time, we see that it is not just so that other countries have caught up with us, but that we are deteriorating compared to how it used to be," Monica Rosén told the news agency TT.
These days, 9-10 year old children hardly ever read in their free time. And, according to Monica Rosén, the reading comprehension in Sweden among children in year 4 are today equivalent to that of children in year 3 twenty years ago.