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U.S. Fourth-Graders Lag Behind Other Countries in Reading

U.S. News and World Report
Reading comprehension among fourth-grade students in the U.S. has flatlined since 2001, allowing education systems in other countries whose students used to perform worse than those in the U.S. to catch up – and even surpass – the U.S. in an international ranking. That's the latest finding from the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, also known as PIRLS, which measures the performance of fourth-grade students in reading. The test has been administered every five years since 2001. In 2016, 58 education systems participated in the test. When it comes to the standing of U.S. students, fourth grade reading comprehension has slipped since 2011 – though not statistically significantly – lowering its position in the international ranking to 16th place. In 2011, four education systems scored higher than the average reading score of U.S. students, while in 2016, 12 education systems scored higher.

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"You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend." — Paul Sweeney