One in five Spanish students aged 15 does not understand the basic idea of a text. And that affects their grades. Not only in language and literature. In all subjects. Learning is compromised by a poor reading base.
According to experts, not acquiring sufficient reading skills to be able to understand and interpret a text, a faculty that is established between the ages of six and nine, is the path to the many repetitions and drop-outs of which Spain is the European champion.
The recently published PISA 2018 indicators on reading literacy show not only a low performance of Spanish students in general terms (10 points below the OECD average and 12 points below the European Union average), but also a large number of students in the lowest performance band. One in five 15-year-old students does not reach the minimum reading literacy level. That is, they do not grasp the essential ideas of a text after reading it.
In Catalonia, the results are slightly better. Tests of basic skills show that one in seven pupils do not understand what they read, compared with one in five in Spain.
For the educationalist Gregorio Luri, the schooling difficulties of children in secondary school can already be guessed when they are 9 or 10 years old, as this is when children go from «learning to read to learning by reading».
«The results of the latest TIMMS report (international assessment study on mathematics and science carried out on children in 4th grade of primary school) show that school dropout in non-language areas is very closely connected to reading comprehension», explains Ester Trigo, professor in the Department of Language and Literature Didactics at the University of Cádiz.
Reading comprehension is measured in terms of three variables: accessing and obtaining information; integrating and interpreting; reflecting and evaluating. «These three processes are present when solving the questions posed in the PISA Mathematics and Science test», says Trigo.
The article concludes with the school experience «Letters in times of pandemic» and with three notes with stimulating titles: «Reading micro-skills», «What if you can't see well?».