Reading Campaign Launched in Iceland Skip to content

Reading Campaign Launched in Iceland

The Icelandic Education Testing Institute (IET) has announced the launch of a new program that is to be instituted in all Icelandic elementary schools, and which is aimed at improving reading comprehension among school-aged children.

Administrators at the institute hope that in five years time the initiative will have reduced the number of poorly literate elementary school students by 50 percent.

The announcement comes at the heel of a study undertaken by Capacent for the Icelandic Publishers’ Association, which revealed that the number of Icelanders who never read books has nearly doubled in the past four years—growing from 7 percent in 2011 to 13,3 percent in 2015.

At present, one in every five Icelandic school children cannot read at grade-level, but project manager at IET, Gylfi Jón Gylfasson, intends to bring that number down to one in ten.

Similar methods have proven successful, both internationally and as part of other domestic initiatives, and although the IET’s goals may be ambitious, Gylfi is confident that they can be achieved.

“I am convinced that if we go about this properly and in an organized fashion, this goal is entirely feasible,” said Gylfi in an interview with RÚV.

In broad terms, the program focuses on the introduction of regular reading comprehension assessments, not for grading purposes but purely to keep teachers informed and up to date on how their students’ are faring, and to identify those children in need of additional help.

Detailed support will then be offered, based on the results of these assessments, to target the underlying causes of the problem.

Ten consulting positions regarding the development and oversight of the program have been advertised.

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