English pupils among best readers in world

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The Independent Online

Children in English primary schools are among the world's best readers, although they spend more time watching television or playing computer games than their peers in most other countries.

Children in English primary schools are among the world's best readers, although they spend more time watching television or playing computer games than their peers in most other countries.

A survey of reading standards of pupils aged nine and ten in 35 countries put the English in third place, beaten only by those in Sweden and the Netherlands.

English children spend more time watching television or a videotape than almost anyone else, with 80 per cent saying they watch television or videos every day. Only Slovakia, with 82 per cent, scores more highly. The percentage playing computer games daily – 40 per cent – is exceeded only by Israel (42 per cent) and the Netherlands and Scotland (41 per cent).

The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study showed children who watched television daily were also likely to be among the best readers. But performance fell among those who spent more than five hours a day watching television.

The report, by the National Foundation for Educational Research, also confirmed the findings of a recent study that the gap between the highest and lowest performers was greater in England than in most countries.

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