Uusen, Anne
July 2010
Problems of Education in the 21st Century;2010, Vol. 20, p135
Academic Journal
Reading skills, reading interest, understanding of text and other aspects connected with reading have been researched quite a lot during the last decades in Estonia. A number of studies have reached the conclusion that basic school students in Estonia are rather good readers. However, teachers often claim that teenagers tend to read less and less and also in newspapers there are complaints about bad reading skills of youngsters. One of the reasons of the above mentioned attitude is that we tend to define the concept of reading differently and if somebody complains because of students' low reading interest, he/she mostly refers to reading belles-lettres or fiction. Living in the 21st century demands much more from teenagers as readers than it did in the past century and many well-known reading researchers stress the need to be able to properly do our jobs, and simply, to live and manage an everyday life. In these two areas we need to be able to understand what all kinds of written messages are about. The content of the broader meaning of reading and the concept of reading literacy is discussed in the current article. Also an overview of the results of the study about reading activeness and reading preferences, the goal of which was to find out what kind of texts are authentic for the students and to start a larger study for analyzing the amount of time teenagers spend with reading, what they read etc., is given in this article. Based on the results of the study it became evident that students read quite a lot, but they, rather read newspapers and magazines than belles-lettres or fiction. The most frequent texts that students read in the newspapers are news. Also comic strips. TV-programs and book reviews are read rather often. A positive finding was that a large proportion of students read belles-lettres quite often. The results of the conducted questionnaire provided the basis for Improving and completing the questionnaire for a larger study as well as food for thought about broadening the assortment of reading materials for students and for making Estonian language lessons more pragmatic as well.


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