Tag Archives: literacy


Program to Promote Educational Reading Levels

Prensa Libre (January 11, 2013)

c9e9ad2a43a146355919a081f7560134_int470As Guatemalan schools begin the 2013 academic school year this month, teachers across the country are expected to implement a new reading program, entitled “Leamos Juntos” (the literal translation of which is “We Read Together”), aimed to promote reading and to involve students, teachers, families, and communities in the development of reading. The program has in common characteristics of earlier reading reforms from 2006 and 2011 – which, among their goals, served to promote healthy reading habits within families as well as to maintain Guatemalan oral traditions – and is a response to an “Ibero-American Educational Cooperation” conference) held last October 2012 . Within that conference, Spanish-speaking countries vowed to prepare a reading plan for the furthering of literacy in their schools.

With 90M Quetzales (a little over $11M) invested in the reform, one primary component of the program involves a normalized half-hour of reading per day within classrooms as a way to foment a love of reading among students. The money, borrowed from the International Development Bank, will be used for four purposes: 1) the purchase of 4.5M books, 2) materials to safeguard and deliver books to schools, 3) infrastructure for the storage of books, and 4) the eventual printing of e-books donated by UNESCO.

The Guatemalan Ministry of Education has created a national commission on reading as well as departmental commissions that are in charge of their respective educational centers and schools (both public and private). These commissions are expected to devise the human resources necessary to follow through with the promotion as well as effective methods – including a systemization of “good reading practices” – for teachers to help children with acquiring and developing their reading skills. Those departmental commissions are also in charge of their own resources and materials, presumably divided from the investments mentioned previously.

Additionally the reform calls for a commission of integrated school reading that includes the director of the institution, two teachers, two parent representatives, and two students whose responsibilities include ensuring the appropriate use of materials (ensuring that they’re organized by theme, type, language, etc.). Teachers in all institutions have the major responsibility of carrying out lessons that involve student participation and activities related to the reading. Finally, periodic evaluations of reading departments, institutions, and areas are a part of the reform.

Contributed by Tran Templeton

For more information:

Guatemala: National Reading Program “We Read Together”

90M Quetzales Invested in Reading Program



Compulsory reading for elementary school pupils (in German)
Kleine Zeitung (13 June 2012)

International studies like OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and the IEA’s Progress in International Reading Study (PIRLS) discovered reading difficulties for Austria pupils. (For example, Austria’s mean PISA reading score for 2009 was 402, which is in the 31 percentile, compared to the OECD mean of 489.  Search the PISA results here.)   Because of these international test results, the government is now suggesting that a compulsory “reading” course be implemented in primary schools.  As a part of this reform, “literature” would then be a separate subject area, although the reading of literary texts would be embedded in the curriculum to encourage the love of reading.


Why we are wrong to rush children into reading
Lambert, M.  The Herald (1 April 2012)

This commentary asserts that “teaching someone how to read does not make them a reader. In fact, it’s Pavlovian: teaching a young child to read before they are ready might put them off altogether, because they experience this process as intense difficulty, and it takes at least two years before they begin to master the skills, by which time they have hardly associated reading and writing with pleasure and profit, quite apart from having their confidence severely battered.”  The author insists that students should not be forced to learn reading and writing until the second or third year of primary schools, insisting that younger children should be engaged in play.  He cites findings from PISA, including that only 46% of Scottish children only read when they had to and only 26% described reading as a hobby.  (See Scotland’s 2006 PISA performance here; see 2009 results here).  He advocates a system where the early primary years will be a time to instill “curiosity about the world, verbal dexterity and reasoning in describing it, storytelling in being imaginative with it, and a familiarity with the alphabet and different language forms, registers and modes.”  He believes this will help Scottish students gain the confidence and skills that would help them with reading and writing.