NI and Scottish children have highest reading skills in UK
School children in Northern Ireland and Scotland have the best reading comprehension skills in the UK, according to a new report.
More than a million primary and secondary school children took part in the study across the UK and Ireland.
University of Dundee Professor Keith Topping studied the reading habits of 60,438 pupils in Northern Ireland.
He analysed the difficulty of the books and the level of pupils' comprehension.
Professor Topping found that children from Northern Ireland were challenging themselves with more complex book choices than their counterparts in Scotland, England and Wales.
However the study also found that at primary level, pupils in Northern Ireland were reading less difficult books than the children in the Republic of Ireland.
Reading for pleasure
The report found that reading practice has a direct bearing on the attainment of students across the board.
It also underlined the importance of reading motivation and reading for pleasure.
It said that in the time between the beginning of primary school and the end of secondary school, students with an average daily reading time of more than 30 minutes are projected to encounter 13.7 million words.
Professor Topping said that by focusing on primary literacy and challenging pupils, Northern Ireland pupils "could outperform their neighbours and shoot up the global rankings".