Reading Between the Lines: Preparing Students for Self-directed Learning

Only about half of US students read for enjoyment, while 95% of Chinese students do.


by Jennifer Craw

Only about half of US students read for enjoyment, while 95% of Chinese students do.

As school systems around the world shift to distance learning in response to the coronavirus pandemic, motivation and self-direction have become even more important for students who are no longer spending their learning time under the direct supervision of teachers. The 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) survey indicated that just over half of all US students say they read for enjoyment; however, nearly all students in China say they read for enjoyment. Reading for enjoyment may signal that students are more prepared for the kind of self-directed learning that is necessary while schools are closed. And, according to the PISA Reading Framework, there is strong evidence that enjoyment of reading can be fostered in students by teachers supporting student autonomy, competence and ownership of reading.

Find out more about how well teachers and education systems are prepared for the current crisis in this special in-depth look at Volume II of the 2018 Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS), with OECD Director for Education and Skills Andreas Schleicher and NCEE President Anthony Mackay. And for continued coverage of how education systems respond to the coronavirus pandemic, follow NCEE’s International Education News.