What Kids Are Reading 2015 in the news

By Ruth Atkinson

Press cuttings of What Kids Are Reading 2015

The 2015 What Kids Are Reading report was published last week. Several media outlets picked up on the report, with articles and commentary about its findings appearing in the national, local and education press. This is a selection of some of the articles arising from the report.


“JRR Tolkien falls off children’s most popular books list”

Guardian, 26/03/15

JRR Tolkien’s fantasy novels have been elbowed out of the annual lineup of the most popular books for schoolchildren by a deluge of dark dystopias and urban fantasies.

The seventh What Kids Are Reading report, which analyses the reading habits of over half a million children in over 2,700 UK schools, revealed today that Tolkien’s books have dropped out of the overall most popular list for the first time since the report began six years ago. In previous years, Tolkien’s titles have featured within the chart’s top 10 places, mostly among secondary-school children.


“Dr Seuss is more widely read than JK Rowling among children”

Telegraph, 02/03/15

The annual survey by Renaissance Learning into the book-reading habits of students in British schools found that Dr Seuss, The Very Hungry Caterpillar author Eric Carle and Elmer-creator David McKee were new additions to the list of most read authors among schoolchildren.

JK Rowling, who was the fifth most read author among readers aged between 5 and 16 in 2013 and seventh most popular the next year, did not make the top 10 for the 2015 list of Most Popular Authors Overall.


“Students ‘seriously under-challenged’ by the books they are given at school, study claims”

Independent, 26/02/15

Secondary school pupils are being “seriously under-challenged” by the difficulty of the books they are given to read and teachers must do more to encourage students to read demanding literature, according to a study.

A nationwide survey of more than 500,000 pupils at 2,200 schools found that children consistently choose texts beyond their reading age while in primary education but the trend is thrown into reverse as soon as they transfer to secondary school.

The annual What Kids Are Reading study of books read in schools found that youngsters preferred fiction that had been turned into blockbuster films such as the Hunger Games series rather than traditional favourites by authors such as Roald Dahl.


“Tolkien? No, we prefer David Walliams, say youngsters: Comic’s Demon Dentist voted most popular book for under-12s as Lord of the Rings drops out of top 20 for first time”

Daily Mail, 26/02/15

They have been firm favourites with children for generations.

But according to a new survey, the epic tales of JRR Tolkien have fallen out of favour with today’s youngsters, who are instead opting for authors like David Walliams.

The poll of 508,000 pupils found Walliams’ The Demon Dentist is now the most popular book for under 12s, while John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars is the favourite for teenagers.


“Out with the Roald: Why young readers are turning their backs on the classics”

Yorkshire Post, 26/02/15

IT IS a truth universally acknowledged that the classroom is often the perfect setting to foster a love of reading in young minds.

But research has found that a new age of rebellion is upon us, as today’s schoolchildren are increasingly turning their backs on traditional classics.

The lure of Hollywood has proved too much for staples of the curriculum to rival, according to the annual What Kids Are Reading. It has uncovered a growing disconnection between what primary and secondary school pupils are reading in lessons and the stories they would rather delve into.


“Dahl and Kinney top most read survey”

Bookseller, 26/02/15

Roald Dahl and Jeff Kinney are the books most read by UK school pupils in the approaching 3,000 schools that participate in Renaissance Learning’s Accelerated Reader scheme.

Accelerated Reader is software that tracks pupils’ reading habits. Children take a quiz that evaluates their reading ability then log all the books they read onto the system.



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