Top 10 Countries with the High Literacy Rate

Hi all.

What I have here is an interesting collection of statistics and information about the literacy rate of a few English speaking countries.



According to data from the 2014 U.S. Census Bureau, 21 percent — or nearly 60,000 — of working age adults in the city lack a high school diploma… Approximately 32 million adults in the United States can’t read, according to the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy.Nov 1, 2016

Australia’s overall primary literacy rates are improving but the number of students with the lowest literacy rates remain stubbornly consistent, a new study has found.

The Pirls assessment – Progress in International Reading Literacy Study – released on Tuesday, gauged the literacy skills of 580,000 year 4 students in 50 countries.

Australia ranked 21st in the study, a notable improvement from the last time it was conducted in 2011 when Australia was 27th out of 45 countries.



Australian education poll: 60% say funding cuts limit university access

The study uses reading assessments aimed at a broad cross section of students to develop a literacy score for each country. Australia’s was 544 points, a statistically significant 17 points higher than in 2011.

It found Australian students still lagged significantly behind 13 countries including Russia, England and Singapore, but significantly outranked 24 others including Portugal, Spain and New Zealand.

Each state and territory improved, except for the ACT, which went backwards by 4% from 2011. Victoria recorded the highest score, while results in Western Australia improved by 10%.

But about 7% of students in year 4 did not manage to reach the “low benchmark”, unchanged from 2011.


Top 10 countries with the high literacy rate

  1. Russia
  2. Canada
  3. Japan
  4. Israel
  5. USA
  6. South Korea
  7. New Zealand
  8. UK
  9. Finland
  10. Australia

What an important job primary, elementary school teachers have with our young students.

New Zealand has work to do also.


New Zealand

It said surveys have found that 40 percent of adults cannot read at a day-to-day functioning level.

The council’s chief executive, Jo Cribb, said international research has also found literacy in New Zealand primary school aged children decreased significantly in the last five years.

She said reading rates in other OECD countries improved, leaving New Zealand children behind.

Ms Cribb said there needs to be attitude change towards reading and it needs to be seen as a fun pastime.

She said reading and processing text is vital for everyday life and the country is letting children down by not developing that skill.

In December, RNZ reported that New Zealand’s literacy score had dropped for the first time in 15 years in an international reading test.

Fifty countries participated in the test which scores 10-year-olds on their reading ability. New Zealand was one of only 12 nations where reading ability had fallen.

The score put New Zealand in 33rd place, well behind the highest ranked nations, the Russian Federation, which had an average score of 581 points, and Singapore on 576 points.

The results showed about 27 percent of New Zealand children did not meet the “intermediate benchmark” for reading compared to an international median figure of 18 percent.



16.4% of adults in England, or 7.1 million people, can be described as having ‘very poor literacy skills.’ They can understand short straightforward texts on familiar topics accurately and independently, and obtain information from everyday sources, but reading information from unfamiliar sources, or on unfamiliar topics, could cause problems.

Many adults are reluctant to admit to their literacy difficulties and ask for help. One of the most important aspects of supporting adults with low literacy levels is to increase their self-esteem and persuade them of the benefits of improving their reading and writing.


Wherever you are, good resources are necessary for teaching students to read, write and spell.

A universal book that is published for each country – Australia, New Zealand, USA , UK and Canada. Order My Dictionary online today.


Read what other teachers say about My Dictionary here.

If you want to stay connected with us, follow us on Facebook.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,