David Walliams among winners of inaugural What Kids Are Reading Awards

By Ruth Atkinson

Logo for What Kids Are Reading

The seventh annual What Kids Are Reading report was published yesterday, giving a unique insight into the reading habits of students in UK schools. For the first time, the 2015 report launch was accompanied by the What Kids Are Reading Awards.

At a ceremony held on a cruise on the Thames, awards were presented for the most popular books for primary and for secondary students, according to the votes cast by students using Accelerated Reader.

More than 500,000 students across the country cast their votes for the books they enjoyed the most when they took reading practice quizzes with Accelerated Reader this past year. The results were tallied to determine the most popular book for primary- and secondary-aged students. And the winners are…

Most popular book – Primary

Demon Dentist by David Walliams

David Walliams is a much-loved comedian and TV personality, but he is now counted among the nation’s leading children’s authors. His books regularly top the bestseller charts, and Demon Dentist was no exception. It was one of the books read most often by students using Accelerated Reader, and although three other books of his are read more often it’s Demon Dentist that they most enjoy reading.

David was not able to attend the ceremony to accept his award in person, but was able to film a video to accept his award.

Most popular book – Secondary

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars has been a phenomenon both of publishing and film. This Young Adult love story addresses issues of suffering, grief and loss with remarkable good humour and wit. One of the bestselling books of recent years, it was adapted for the cinema in 2014 and proved a box-office hit.

Accepting the award on John Green’s behalf, his publisher had this to say:

We are delighted that The Fault in Our Stars has been chosen as the Most Popular Book in Secondary Schools, particularly because this accolade comes from young people themselves. John continues to be amazed as to how well his book has been received in the UK and this award is greatly appreciated. I know he is sorry that he is not able to celebrate with you and thank you in person.

Outstanding contribution

Roderick Hunt

Roderick Hunt, along with co-creator Alex Brychta, is responsible for the ever-popular Magic Key books in the Oxford Reading Tree programme. Biff, Chip, Kipper and Floppy have a ubiquitous presence in classrooms and libraries up and down the country, and have helped countless children in their early years of becoming fluent and enthusiastic readers. This award recognises the outstanding contribution Roderick has made over the 30 years since the original Magic Key books were first published in 1985.

On receiving his award at the ceremony, Roderick commented on the central importance literacy has for learning:

I am honoured to be the first recipient of the What Kids Are Reading Outstanding Contribution Award. Literacy is vital to the intellectual health of the nation. Becoming a fluent and committed reader should be our gift to every child. Rarely, if ever, have books been more appealing, more engaging and more varied; but never before has reading had to compete with the enticing and beguiling attractions of the digital world. All power to programmes like Accelerated Reader that monitor, motivate and extend a child’s progress into the rich and magical world of reading. If the Oxford Reading Tree stories play a small part in that progression, I am overjoyed.

Photo of Roderick Hunt receiving the Outstanding Contribution award at What Kids Are Reading Awards

Roderick Hunt receives the Outstanding Contribution award from Dirk Foch, Managing Director of Renaissance Learning


What Kids Are Reading 2015

The awards accompanied the launch of What Kids Are Reading 2015, the seventh annual report into the reading habits of children in the United Kingdom. his year’s report draws on data from over 580,000 British school children. Between them, they have read – and taken an Accelerated Reader quiz on – well over 9.3 million books. This is the largest data bank of students’ reading habits in the UK. Uniquely, it reveals which books students have actually read (not just borrowed or bought).

Key findings from the report are available to browse online at whatkidsarereading.co.uk, where a full PDF version can be downloaded free of charge.

Inside the full report:

  • Top twenty most read books for girls and boys by year group
  • Most read books for high-achieving and struggling students
  • Contributions from leading authors and children’s literacy experts

Download the report from whatkidsarereading.co.uk.



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