I’m beginning to feel like a Renaissance Learning pimp (they’re the parent company of the AlphaSmart Neo), but they’ve sponsored an interesting, in-depth look at kids’ reading habits, and I’m going to link to it anyway. The Washington Post has a summary article on the findings:
Children have welcomed the Harry Potter books in recent years like free ice cream in the cafeteria, but the largest survey ever of youthful reading in the United States will reveal today that none of J.K. Rowling’s phenomenally popular books has been able to dislodge the works of longtime favorites Dr. Seuss, E.B. White, Judy Blume, S.E. Hinton and Harper Lee as the most read.
Books by the five well-known U.S. authors, plus lesser-known Laura Numeroff, Katherine Paterson and Gary Paulsen, drew the most readers at every grade level in a study of 78.5 million books read by more than 3 million children who logged on to the Renaissance Learning Web site to take quizzes on books they read last year. Many works from Rowling’s Potter series turned up in the top 20, but other authors also ranked high and are likely to get more attention as a result.
I don’t know that I find this terribly surprising, and I’m curious what people think about. It seems to me that the big flaw is it’s based on accelerated reader quiz data–which tells you what kids are reading for credit, off I’m assuming lists of acceptable books, but not what they choose themselves outside school. (If I’m wrong about how that works, someone please let me know.)
Bonus: reflections on reading are included in the full report from Daniel Handler, S.E. Hinton, and Christopher Paul Curtis.
Addition: Just skimming through the findings, especially in the top 10 percent numbers, there are more and more genre titles the older the kids get.