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Partners conducted research by reviewing the state of the art in literature in order to establish the current situation, methods, objectives, policies and strategies carried out in each partner country when it comes to literacy issues and reading for targeted population of reluctant, struggling and poor readers. After doing research, partners produced critical review including contemporary journal published case studies, reports, expert article, scientific articles and discussions, presentations at professional conferences and congresses from educational Agencies and relevant Educational Institutions within country context, in order to determine existing situation.

 

CROATIA

 

In the context of education, three literacy: reading, science and mathematics stand in the center of PISA research interests. The cycle of PISA 2015 was the sixth cycle of research and for the fourth time involving Republic of Croatia encompassing 5809 15-year-old respondents. In the field of reading literacy, the Republic of Croatia achieved below the average score of 487 points (31st place). By comparing the average results from reading literacy with the results of PISA 2009 cycle in Croatia, the trend of improvement of average results is noticed. In the six-year period, Croatia has increased the average score by 11 points.

In the PIRLS Survey, evaluating readership competences for ten years, Croatia participated in 2011. The results of Croatian students are significantly better than the results achieved in PISA research. But when it comes to reading, Croatia is in the foreground. In Croatia, only 17% of students love to read, 53% like it somehow, and 29% do not like reading. Of the 57 surveyed countries, Croatia has the largest percentage of children who do not like to read.

The relation of young people towards reading is largely determined by their school-based reading experiences. Unfortunatelly, school institutions of today does not perceive them as " “digital natives” (Prensky, 2001) growing up in the world of digital media where the image (rather than the word) often contains the basic meaning and is its frequent transferee.

In order to mediate the reading of all students aged 15-18 in Croatian schools, a mandatory corpus of literary texts is selected according to the criterion of importance and value within history of European (World) and National literature. This was determined in the mid-90s of the last century. The selected corpus of literary works by their contemporariness ends in the 1990s. For a large number of students, especially those who have defined themselves as RSP readers, these texts represent a serious problem with regard to their complexity. Reception of the texts is expected from all of the students during school interpretation and analysis. The problem begins allready at the level of basic understanding during independent reading, after which pupils are expected to collect and structure the information about text with regard to literary theory and history of literature.

The Government of the Republic of Croatia adopted the National Strategy for Reading (2015 - 2020) by following the proposal of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia, with the aim of updating the problems and unification of various factors in society that deal with reading problems in one way or another.

In addition to the shorter programmes of teacher education at the level of individual counties, The Education and Teacher Training Agency organized IV. a symposium of teachers and teachers of Croatian language who was entirely dedicated to the reading entitled "Reading for School and Life".

Based on available information on reading promotion programs, it can be concluded that a large number of programs related to the promotion of reading are offered and implemented in Croatia. Motivated teachers and students who, in most cases have good developed reading skills and higher or high motivation to read are participating these programmes.

Unfortunately, the students we describe as reluctant, struggling and poor readers often remain outside those programmes.

 

SLOVAKIA

 

According to the PISA 2015 study Slovakia achieved 453 points in reading literacy; the average of the OECD countries was 493 points. As in all previous cycles, even in PISA 2015, the performance of Slovak pupils in reading literacy is below the average of the OECD participating countries. Compared to 2012, our pupils' average performance dropped by 10, which is not a significant change. There is a comparable number of our students in the PISA 2015 risk group (32.1%) to the 2012 cycle (28.2%). These pupils do not have even the most basic reading skills necessary for further education. Most pupils in the risk group are located in secondary vocational schools and elementary schools. Even in 4-year grammar schools, the proportion of pupils in the risk group has increased statistically significantly compared to the both previous cycles (2012 and 2009). There are great gender differences in reading literacy. Girls performed statistically better also in 2015 study, on average it was 27 points higher than boys in OECD countries. In Slovakia girls scored 36 points higher. In the 2003 and 2012 cycles the difference was roughly the same but in the last cycle it decreased by 11 points. As the difference narrows, we can see gradually growing score in boys´ performance and lower performance of girls. In Slovakia the performance of girls fell by 12 points compared to the previous cycles.

According to the study conducted by State school inspection in Slovakia up to 71,3% secondary schools have no strategy for development of reading literacy although according to the principles and objectives of secondary education, systematic work with texts is part of education in Slovakia. The same study emphasizes the importance of education of teachers. Education related to the reading literacy which is the important competence in understanding all subjects across the national curriculum. Another fact the study points out is that one of the main conditions for developing reading literacy is a book and an appropriate library. However, results show that almost half of the schools do not have suitable premises for a library and almost 24,09% of schools do not have a library at all.

 

ITALY

 

In compliance with the  goals of Europe 2020 strategy, the Italian government has approved a reform on our educational system in order to shape and develop common European core skills in education and training: teachers should promote the acquisition of "key competences" that the European citizen should possess to meet the challenges of the everchanging and complex world that surrounds us, for example by addressing underachievement in maths, science and literacy through effective and innovative teaching and assessment. Therefore, our school, Liceo Scientifico "G. Seguenza", has carried out an analysis which has revealed a growing need for innovative teaching strategies in the field of languages, specifically, reading skills are to be prioritised. At the end of the year 2015, the Italian National Institute of statics ISTAT published the annual results provided by the survey conducted among the Italian population about their reading habits. People aged 6 and over were interviewed and 42% of them (about 24 million) stated that they had read at least one book in the 12 months preceding the interview for purposes other than school or work. Compared to the previous year, the percentage is stable, also considering the 2011 drop in reading habits. 9.1% of the Italian households do not own any books, 64.4% have 100 books at most. Gender differences are still evident: women read more than men, indeed, the figure for female readers was in fact 48.6%, compared to 35% for male readers. Book readers' share is over 50% among those aged 11 to 19; it shows a decrease in later age groups; the highest percentage of readers was found among the 15-17 age group. School is not enough. Family is a key factor: 66.8% of youngsters aged 6 to 14 with both parents who read books are book readers too, vs. only 30.9% of those whose parents do not read books. Book reading is less widespread in the South of Italy, where fewer than one out of three (28.8%) people has read at least one book. In Sicilia and Sardegna, readers are 33.1%: an increase as compared to 31.1% recorded in the previous year. In metropolitan centres book readers account for 51%, vs. 38.1% in areas with fewer than 2,000 inhabitants. Data confirm that nearly one reader out of two (45.5%) is a "weak" one, having read no more than three books in one year. The percentage of bookworms (people who read on average at least one book per month) is  13.7%  of the readers  (they were 14.3% in 2014). 8.2% of the total population (4.5 million) read or downloaded books or e:books, that is, 14.1% of those who surfed the Internet. Book reading and cultural participation are interrelated: among book readers, shares of those who practise other cultural activities and sports and surf the web are regularly higher than those of non-readers. Book readers also showed higher levels of satisfaction for their leisure time (71% vs. 64% of non-readers) and their economic situation (56% vs. 42%). Between 2011 and 2012, 37.8% of the foreign citizens living in Italy report they read at least one book. In 2014, Italian households spent 3,339 million euros for books and 5,278 for newspapers, printed matter and stationery: 11 and 18 euros per month, respectively, 0.4% and 0.6% of their total expenditure for final consumption. Between 2010 and 2014, household expenditure for books, newspapers and magazines decreased by 18%, that for stationery by 31%. That reduction is much higher than the one recorded by the expenditure for goods and services as a whole (6%).

 

CZECH REPUBLIC

 

According to the Czech Ministry of Education, reading literacy should be developed not only by teachers of Czech language and literature but it should be done within most of the subjects. All teachers need to use different sorts of texts for the purpose of teaching their subjects and students should be able to work with those texts – find relevant sources of information, read it, understand, find important information, compare, interpret the information, discuss the issue etc. Today, there are also loads of different sources and types of texts available – e.g. books, magazines, newspapers, school books, e-books, the internet etc. Students should be able to sort out the information coming from all the sides, work with the resources – compare and choose the most relevant information. The experts actually agree on the basic and simple approach which should be followed to make literature more attractive to pupils. We should stop ordering them to read books hundred years old far away from their interest and everyday life. It would be much easier to begin with books or stories they really like and, in the first place, make some space for analysing and discussing the texts. It is not necessary to work with books only; especially at the beginning with struggling or poor readers, we could use films, internet articles or even PC games as sources for analyses and discussions in the class. As we can read opinions of some teachers – it is possible to go this way and there are visible fruits of this work. The most important thing the teacher needs to start is the will to change something and to work hard especially at the beginning.

What we should also do is not to force pupils read more and more; instead, we should teach them how to like and enjoy reading; after that, they will be able to find the way themselves. Schools should serve as a kind of meeting point of literature with an ability to offer different sorts of interesting texts, providing a platform for discussion including experience and opinion exchange.

 

•             Czech students regularly score lower than the average in PISA tests.

•             Czech educational framework gives schools and teachers a chance to build up their own school educational programmes and approaches towards individual subjects; reading literacy is essential to gain the required key competencies and fulfil the expected outputs.

•             Most teachers still follow the old chronological model of teaching literature – they start from the very beginning, spend a long time with the ancient literature, slowly move through every single century.

 

 

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