What kids are reading

This report was created by Renaissance Learning, a cloud-based assessment, teaching, and learning solutions. The gathered data comes from its Accelerated Reader-hosted database, utilized in more than 31,600 primary and secondary schools last year. The database includes book-reading records for more than 9.8 million students, who read more than 330 million books.

I am always weary of these reports, coming from companies with clear economic interest in the field. But in this case, it is just plain fun. Please, go to their interactive tool and check for the most popular book in the state of New York for grade 11 (interestingly they did not have enough information to produce something for grade 12). What do you think of the result?

7 thoughts on “What kids are reading

  1. The relevant contrast reveals itself when you check younger years, where Wimpy Kid for example, it is one of the titles. What does it say about school reading and different grades? So middle schoolers or elementary kids can do pleasure reading but high schoolers need to read to become a college student? or a productive member of society? or pass the SATs? I find it intriguing.

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  2. Curricular requirements may be the strongest influence here, and this leads to a related topic – time constraints. In the teen interviews for our class, the lack of time for pleasure reading came up again and again. Many teens’ schedules appear to be jam-packed, including time spent with social media. One of the teens I interviewed even said that he didn’t have time to read because he “[has] to watch TV.” Technology and media offer many benefits to young adults, but they also can be time consuming and leave teens with little time for pursuits such as pleasure reading.

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  3. I can understand the first two selections being at the top of the 11th grade reading list – I taught both every year that I taught juniors. Although they were required, and I do LOVE Gatsby, students did not read either The Crucible or The Great Gatsby – unless you count SparkNotes. I agree that they do not have a lot of free time in the upper grades. Those who love to read will read the assigned texts and read for pleasure, but those who have not found a love of reading will very rarely read anything. If asked, those “nonreaders” will list the books that they are supposed to be reading for school and I think that is where the top selections come in.
    Now – if you want to get a reluctant reader to read – introduce them to Titus Andronicus (I always had to defend that choice) – they will eat up Shakespeare, but be disappointed with his other works…

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  4. I get your arguments, both of you. What intrigues me is why the “fun” books for younger children and not for teens. Both need to still cultivate the love for reading. Do not take me wrong, I understand that it is a curricular imposition: they need to read this because they need exposure to that work of Literature and all the characteristics of Literature that come along with it. But maybe some of the works we have read this term could expose them to similar characteristics? maybe a combination? Maybe one imposition and one selection from a group of works?

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    • I understand that older teens must cultivate a love of reading and that is why I convinced my AP to purchase Titus Andronicus, Biloxi Blues, Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mama’s Hung You In The Closet and I’m Feelin So Sad and Looking for Alaska. The change to Common Core and the lack of choice in the literature I will teach- mainly nonfiction- is why I’m choosing to leave the classroom. I became a teacher to foster a love of reading and I no longer think it’s possible to do so in the classroom. Hopefully, my time in a school media center will allow me to follow my passion for bringing about a love a reading, no matter what genre/format students choose to explore.

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      • I’m so glad you will stay in the school. As librarians, we have a golden opportunity to demonstrate our passion for reading and to recognize our patron’s needs for access to a variety of literature.

        I’ve observed many students and parents in the public library insisting that the school wants them to read non-fiction. I don’t deny that non-fiction is important, but some patrons are so adamant and appear stressed about this emphasis. Of course we are devoted to serving this need, but we also see a strong expressed need for fiction as well. Also, during the summer reading club where I work, teens choose fiction for the great majority of their reading.

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