Singapore Tops The Latest International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS)

Literacy is such a huge part of success in our modern world, but unfortunately literacy rates have been stagnant – or even dropping – and some of the more otherwise successful and developed nations around the world.

Nations like the US, Canada, the UK, and a handful of others have seen their literacy rates (functional and effective literacy rates) stagnate quite a bit, and other nations have even seen their overall literacy rates begin to drop. Most have dropped just a bit, but others have seemingly fallen right off of a cliff and we are dealing with a serious epidemic when it comes to literacy around the world.

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Singapore, however, does not have this problem.

One of the highest performing nations as far as international Reading Literacy is concerned, Singapore has landed on the top spot of this list once again – outshining all of their peers throughout the international community by having the most literate fourth-graders in the world compared to all other fourth-graders across the global community.

There are a number of other nations that have enjoyed a significant rise in their overall literacy rates, with Hong Kong, Ireland, Finland, Poland, and more really starting to see a significant jump as far as overall functional and effective literacy rates are concerned.

Other nations, like Denmark and the Netherlands, Italy, Lithuania, Bulgaria, and the US aren’t enjoying quite as high a ranking as they used to when it comes to literacy – and some of them are lagging much further behind their peers and showing no real sign of turning things around anytime soon.

All participating nations in this assessment were encouraged to take advantage of a number of different electronic and online tests and protocols given to students at the fourth grade level (or the fourth grade equivalent), all designed to track how well students read, interpret, and comprehend and critique information primarily shared over the internet.

This was done because of how digital our modern world has become, but also because of the surprise that most researchers have felt discovering how literacy rates have dropped so significantly worldwide while more and more students – and adults, for that matter – are spending time reading things on the internet.

The internet has made more information available to all of us than at any other point in human history, literally granting us the ability to learn anything at any point in time from almost any device imaginable. At the same time, our reading comprehension, our reading critiquing skills, and to our interpretation of the things we read have started to wane considerably on a global scale.

Singapore is not having this problem. More than 96% of all Singapore students had at least a basic level of reading achievement, with more than one fourth of all students in Singapore reaching the highest and most advanced level of this protocol.

Reading comprehension, literacy, and the ability to effectively make use of the information that we read – both online as well as off-line – are going to be critical skills in the future (as well as today), and more nations would do well to model their educational programs (as far as literacy is concerned) off of the approach that Singapore is taking.

About the Author

Morris Edwards is a content writer at, he writes different topics like 62% of Singaporean Firms Plan to Increase Global Investments and How To Successfully Grow Your Business In The Age Of The Customer and all topics related to Business and Economy, if you are interested setting up company in Singapore contact us or visit our website for more information.

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