PIRLS 2021 International Results in Reading
Students’ Reading Attitudes and Behaviors
Students Like Reading
To create the Students Like Reading scale, PIRLS asked students how much they agreed with a series of eight statements about their attitudes toward reading and two items about how often they read outside of school (the items are provided in “About the Scale”). PIRLS used IRT scaling to summarize the results and then classified students into three regions on the scale, “very much like reading,” “somewhat like reading,” and “do not like reading.”
Exhibit 7.1 presents the Students Like Reading scale results for the PIRLS 2021 countries, including the percentages of students classified into the three levels of attitudes toward reading (from positive to negative) together with their average achievement. The results are ordered by the percentage of students who reported they “very much like reading” (from highest to lowest). In general, fourth grade students had positive attitudes about reading—42 percent, on average, reported they “very much like reading” and another 40 percent reported that they “somewhat like reading.” However, as a matter of some concern in today’s information-driven society, 18 percent of these young students, on average, responded negatively that they “do not like reading.”
There was a modest relationship between liking reading and reading achievement at the fourth grade. Students who responded that they “do not like reading” had lower average reading achievement (491) than students who “very much like reading” (513) and students who “somewhat like reading” (501).
Exhibit 7.2 reports results for the Students Like Reading scale by gender, with countries ordered according to the difference between the percentage of girls and the percentage of boys who “very much like reading” from lowest to highest. Across countries in general, higher percentages of girls than boys responded that they “very much like reading,” on average—46 percent of girls vs. 37 percent of boys.