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Reading Development and Reading Disabilities: Focus on Norway

International Perspectives

ISBN: 978-0-7623-1440-9, eISBN: 978-1-84950-503-1

Publication date: 18 July 2007


Literacy research in Norway has focused on many areas. Dyslexia has been one main area for many years. The last years’ many approaches have been taken to understand how reading disabilities can be prevented and to understand the connection between the spoken and written language. A school reform reducing the age of admission to school from seven to six from 1997 has had the effect of stimulating research in the field of reading development.

Norwegian orthography is described as semi-transparent. Studies of Norwegian children show that even children with dyslexia break the alphabetic code rather easily. Also, Norway is an advanced, rich country with a clear commitment to equity. These are some reasons why Norway should get good results on international reading achievement tests. The results from different international reading assessments, however, have worried the Norwegian Government. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has clearly stated that Norway has a job to do in terms of equity. In most reading achievement tests, Norway shows a wider spread of outcomes than many other OECD countries. The Norwegian school reform of 1997 has not been a great success in the area of children's literacy development. The international results and the evaluation of the reform have led to a range of initiatives from the Government and to yet another reform with a new curriculum. In this new curriculum, there is a somewhat clearer focus on benchmarks to be achieved. There is, however, little concentration on what to do when children fall behind their peers for no apparent reason. The school authorities hope, however, that the initiatives that are taken will make a difference.


Lyster, S.-A.H. (2007), "Reading Development and Reading Disabilities: Focus on Norway", Scruggs, T.E. and Mastropieri, M.A. (Ed.) International Perspectives (Advances in Learning and Behavioral Disabilities, Vol. 20), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 21-55.



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