The Grade 5 reading literacy achievement of learners who wrote in Afrikaans, English and isiZulu are reported in the PIRLS 2016 highlights report. The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) is a worldwide study involving more than 50 countries and is conducted once every 5 years. South Africa participated in the PIRLS 2016 study at Grade 5 level as a benchmarking participant. A representative sample was drawn for the three languages (Afr/Eng/Zul), and learners wrote in the language of learning and teaching (LoLT) to which they had been exposed in Foundation phase. The Grade 5 report reveals challenges faced in teaching and learning reading literacy and offers insights and recommendations. South Africa remains one of the lowest achieving countries, and the reading literacy crisis as well as potential reasons thereof are discussed in the report.