Young girls finding some interesting reads at Reykjavík City Library's Bookmobile. Photograph: Bára Kristinsdóttir
writing, mathematics, and basic Christian studies. With the 1907 Education Act, school became compulsory for all children from the age of ten, and in 1936 from the age of seven. But even though there was no formal school system to speak of until the twentieth century, informal schooling had been practiced in Iceland for centuries. In the Middle Ages, literacy seems to have been higher in Iceland than in neighbouring countries, which may possibly be due to the popularity of the Sagas and traditional rímur poetry, and as has been mentioned before, house readings were an integral part of Icelandic households. People would gather round at the end of the day and work on their handicrafts while someone in the household read aloud from available
texts or recited poetry and rímur.⁵ Literature can be said to have been the main pastime in Icelandic homes for centuries, with people reading, listening to and reciting stories, poetry and all sorts of knowledge. Elementary school is now compulsory from the age of 6-15. Icelandic is the most extensive subject on the curriculum and is divided into reading, the spoken word and articulation, listening and watching, writing, literature, and grammar. The city's elementary schools are active in the field of literature and literacy, and have been increasing this focus. All schools had to put forth a reading policy by the autumn of 2010, a three-year plan on stimulating language development and literacy, in accordance with the City's educational policy.
Reykjavík – a City of Literature
Published on Jul 23, 2012