What students are reading

A new report has revealed the reading habits of students in kindergarten to Year 12.

Children love reading about pugs, wizards and wimpy kids.

A new report has revealed the book titles and authors most read by students in Australia and New Zealand.

Overall, the most popular books were Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

The ‘What Kids Are Reading Report’ from assessment and practice provider Renaissance Learning also reveals the most popular books for students in different year levels.

For boys and girls in Kindergarten to Year 2, Australian author Aaron Blabey’s Pig the Pug was the favourite overall, trumping the previous winner The Very Hungry Caterpillar which dropped down to number five.

For boys and girls in Year 3, Anh Do’s WeirdDo 2: Even Weirder! was the most read title, while Roald Dahl classic The Twits was again the most popular book for Year 4 students.

Jeff Kinney’s The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series dominated the list for Year 5 students, taking the top 13 spots overall and for boys.

For Year 5 girls, Raina Telgemeier’s Guts, Smile and Sisters were popular, coming in first, second and fourth respectively.

It was a similar story for Year 6 students, with Guts also the most popular book for girls and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Wrecking Ball most popular with boys.

For high school students, The Hunger Games dominated the list of most read titles. The title claimed the third position for Year 7 girls, second overall for Year 8 students, first overall and for boys and girls in Year 9, and first overall for Year 10, 11 and 12 students.

Wonder by R.J Palacio was the most popular book for Year 7 students and girls, while the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series continued to be popular for boys up until Year 10.

The study included 57,000 students from 365 schools across Australia and New Zealand, including those from primary, secondary, government and non-government schools. Researchers mined data from Accelerated Reader and myON to determine the reading habits and preferences of kindergarten to Year 12 students across the region.

Interestingly, the research showed average book difficulty plateaued in secondary school, with high school students still reading the same difficulty of books as upper primary students. For female students, however, the level of difficulty increased dramatically when they reached Year 10.

Violeta Apostolovski, Oceania Country Manager, Renaissance Learning, said the ‘What Kids Are Reading’ report was a unique snapshot of what children read and how well they read last year.

“Given the disruption of the pandemic, it is reassuring that so much reading took place, and especially great to see many local authors appearing alongside many international bestsellers,” she said.

“It goes without saying that the past year has provided many challenges, and it was amazing to see how students stayed engaged while in lockdown. or remote learning, with over 100 million words read during our open access period.”