• adolescent literacy;
  • reading literacy;
  • PISA;
  • literacy education;
  • gender

This article focuses on the literacy of the adolescents who, in most European countries, are about to leave or have recently left basic education with the assumption that they have the command of functional literacy as required in and for further studies, citizenship, work life and a fulfilling life as individuals. First, the overall performance level in the EU member countries with a special focus on poor literacy is examined. Also, the most persistent inequities in adolescent literacy are reviewed, including the gender gap, the socio-economic gap, the migrant gap and the digital gap. Secondly, the focus turns to developing adolescent literacy and reading education in Europe in a constantly changing global context with increasing literacy demands calling for a lifelong and a life-wide development of literacy. The article outlines elements of effective literacy education for adolescents in Europe.