Societal requirements regarding understanding texts of all kinds have increased drastically in recent decades. He who is only able to read at a level which would have been adequate for the 1950s is not equipped for the highly technological information society today. These requirements apply to everyone in the working world and not merely to academic professions. It follows therefore, that all young people should, at the end of their mandatory school-lives have command of a decent basic standard of reading skills for them to be successful in further education, training or their future working lives. The number of so-called `low achievers´ in the European Union has risen from 21.3% in 2000 to 24.1% in 2006. This means that almost a quarter of all school-leavers in the European Union are unable to meet the expectations made by the information society and will be confronted by considerable problems in their future adult lives. `Low achievers´ are not analphabet; they are quite able to decipher texts. Notwithstanding, they have not developed the necessary skills for the reading abilities required today. For the most part, they do not firmly perceive themselves as readers. Their reading abilities are hindered by problems they themselves are unable to solve. These problems lie in the realm of decoding, reading fluency, reading comprehension, meta-cognitive abilities, using reading strategies and reading motivation. `Low achievers´ need professional educators to help them find solutions to their problems.
Alinet Network Tasks
Over the last decade numerous school-internal and external programmes for reading promotion have been developed against this background. Simultaneously, reading research has been carried out in universities on the cognitive, psychological and social conditions leading to reading competence. A practical exchange has so far, however, not taken place between scientific research theory and practice. This is where Alinet´s field of action lies. Alinet stands for the transfer between promotional practice and reading research.
- looks for and distributes information from this whole field of transfer,
- supports practical reading promotion through counselling, (in-service)training and evaluation
- initiates its own projects.
The network sees itself as contact point for schools, school authorities, school-book publishers and research institutes with regard to
- giving advice on reading curriculae,
- developing reading programmes and pertaining materials,
- evaluating promotional practice,
- diagnostics for poor readers,
- (in-service)training for teachers.