From Publishing Perspectives:
A regular analytical program called the International Primary School Reading Study (IGLU) in Germany has this month announced a disturbing result: the number of primary schoolchildren in that market who cannot read to adequate levels of skill continues to increase.
There’s some irony here, in that the report from May 3 made by the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, Germany’s publishers and booksellers association, in coordination with the book wholesaler Libri found that 16- to 29-year-olds seem to be purchasing books at an accelerating rate.
The primary-school group, of course, is younger, but an uncomfortable implication here is that unless their reading skills make some progress, they may reverse the trend toward bookish consumerism that has gladdened the eye of many in the industry’s retail sector.
The new study from IGLU, carried out every five years, looked at the reading skills of some 4,600 students and encompassed data from 65 nations and regions. And as the Börsenverein puts it in its media messaging, “If you can’t read properly, chances are closed to you, first at school and then at work.”
The proportion of children who don’t have sufficient reading skills, the Börsenverein reports, “has risen significantly compared to 2016: every fourth child leaves primary school without sufficient reading skills.”
In its announcement, the publishers’ association says, “The Reading Foundation and the German Book Trade Association are calling for an immediate political and social rethink. Together with the German Book Trade Association, the Reading Foundation founded the ‘National Reading Pact.’ More than 180 partners from business, science, society, and politics have come together here to make reading promotion binding, so that educational justice can finally become a reality.”
And to that end, the initiative is striving for a nationwide package of measures,” the Börsenverein says, “that should ensure binding and uniform structures for all parties involved in reading promotion. The aim is for all children and young people in Germany to be able to read.”
‘Promoting Reading Must Have the Highest Priority’
Peter Kraus vom Cleff, general manager of the German Book Trade Association, says, “The results of the current IGLU study are alarming.
“They show once again how urgently we must act. Reading skills are essential for self-determined social participation and the key to a successful professional life. Thus, promoting reading is not only fundamental for the individual path through life, but for our entire democracy.
“Together with the Reading Foundation and a broad alliance from politics, business, and society, we strive for a well thought-out cooperation to improve reading skills in Germany. Because from now on, promoting reading must have the highest priority in Germany.”
Link to the rest at Publishing Perspectives