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Literacy

Canadian school pupils beat Swedes in reading

Published tisdag 7 januari 2014 kl 16.06
"Reading comprehension has gone down"
(5:22 min)
Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

The latest Pisa report showed that 23 percent of Swedish teens lack basic reading skills. Several other reports have also shown below-average reading skills among school pupils here. The negative trend could have "serious consequences", according to an education specialist at the University of Stockholm.

Barbro Westlund, an education researcher and a former primary school teacher, has compared literacy levels among Swedish and Canadian school pupils and told Radio Sweden: "I don't think the research on reading has had as much of an impact in Swedish schools as it has in Canadian ones."

"Basic reading skills, or decoding skills, have not gone down in Sweden, but reading comprehension has… We must differentiate between learning to read and reading to learn," said Westlund.

"In grade 4, which is when polls such as Pisa are conducted, that's where we can see the difference between Sweden and Canada…. The Canadian teachers really teach reading comprehension to their pupils and we haven't spoken about that in the same way in Swedish schools. Once pupils are able to read fluently, they should also understand the text."

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