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20 November 2015 @ 05:02 pm
What are they reading? Let AR tell you...  
Yes, I am flogging that dead horse. The annual report from Reading Renaissance lists the books that hundreds of thousands of kids have read. AS PART OF THE AR PROGRAM, I am quick to add. I find the lists interesting. So here are some highlights. But remember, these lists are from one program.

1. At 3rd grade, 9 of the top 25 titles are from the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.
2. At 4th grade, the top 10 out of 25 titles are Diary of a Wimpy Kid series books.
3. Grade 5, top 9 of 25 titles are (you guessed it) Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
4. Grade 6 includes 9 Diary of a Wimpy Kid titles and THE FAULT IN OUR STARS and DIVERGENT.
5. Grade 7 has those same 9 Diary of a Wimpy Kid titles plus FIOS and The Lightning Thief.
6. Grade 8 has only 3 of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid titles and THE TELL TALE HEART.
7. High school lists are about 30-40% classic titles plus a couple of Nicolas Sparks' books.

So, what do we make of this? Some further observations:

a. It is interesting to see Dairy of a Wimpy Kid cross grades 3-8 for a couple of reasons. One has to do with reading levels. Normally, kids are not permitted to read books well below their grade level. And no one can take a test on a book they have already read. So...

b. Why are kids reading THE FAULT IN OUR STARS in 6th grade? Yep, reading level is 5.5. DIVERGENT, on the other hand, is 4.8. So I am still a bit puzzled.

c. THE TELL TALE HEART is not a book but apparently it counts. There are a few more short stories in upper high school lists.

And a final observation: the only NF included in the charts are articles from the AR program. Few NF titles appear on the lists of the top 25. I think of all the wonderful NF out there and wonder why it did to make the top 25 lists? Is it not being promoted, discussed, recommended, purchased?

And I guess my final thought has to do with those individual classes and classrooms. It is fine to know what some kids are reading. But what are the needs and interests of your kids and your classes?
Current Location: NYC-Minneapolis
Current Mood: annoyedannoyed
Sherry BorgrenSherryTeach on November 22nd, 2015 02:32 am (UTC)
AR and non-fiction
Among other reasons for the lack of non-fiction among AR users, the quizzes over non-fiction books are nearly impossible to pass. Take the already ridiculously questions and apply them to a non-fiction book with hundreds of facts and you have a negative reading experience. A few years ago I took quite a few AR quizzes just to validate my opinion. I failed many quizzes over non-fiction books that I love and have in my classroom library. It's hard to sell a book to readers who have been brainwashed by others that the only reason to read is to accumulate points.