Data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) provides data on the fourth-grade reading scores of students from countries around the world. The PIRLS (Progress in International Reading Literacy Study), co-sponsored by NCES, provides detailed information on the knowledge and skills of young students on a norm-referenced assessment.
The average score on this instrument is 500, with a high score of 581 by the Russian Federation and a low of 320 by South Africa. The US scored at 549 and Canada at 543, essentially equivalent with standard error considered. As with other comparative measures, the abilities of students varies widely across each country.