09 SES 08 A, Findings from International Comparative Achievement Studies. Symposium Session 1: Relationships in Reading Performance (Part I)
Symposium, Part 1
Children of educated parents in all European countries which participated in PIRLS 2006 have something very significant in common: they are good readers. In most countries these children reach a high international reading benchmark (in PIRLS: more than 550 score points). When we look at the PIRLS international average reading scores of the countries, we see that there are quite substantial achievement differences within the whole target populations. But when we look at the subpopulation of children with educated parents, the variation is much smaller. In contrast, when we compare reading achievements of less privileged children, the differences between countries dramatically increase. As privileged groups share (more or less) similar characteristics, among which the benefits of the lifestyles (a lot of books at home, a lot of children books, probably more sophisticated in-family conversations with richer vocabulary, etc.) we may conclude, that these children have numerous opportunities to be exposed to reading stimuli and, as a consequence, do (because of good reading and listening comprehension) much more voluntary reading. Hence, they become increasingly good readers. Perhaps frequent and persistent exposure to the various and progressively more demanding reading stimuli is just another term for what we call 'cultural capital'.
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