Primary pupils choose texts beyond their reading age, but this trend reverses in secondary school. Now researchers want teachers and librarians to encourage more difficult reading.
According to a survey of more than half a million pupils at 2,200 schools, both high-ability and struggling secondary school readers are being “seriously under-challenged” by the difficulty of the books they are given to read, the Independent reports. In contrast, pupils at primary school much prefer challenging books.
The emphasis in schools on raising reading levels falls away in secondary schools and youngsters tend to opt for books below their reading age. The report’s authors want secondary teachers and librarians to encourage their pupils to read appropriately, to prevent the “marked downturn” in the difficulty of their chosen books.
The annual What Kids Are Reading study of books read in schools also found that pupils prefer fiction that has been turned into blockbuster movies like the Hunger Games series, rather than traditional favourites.
The research also found that there is a difference between the ‘most read’ books in schools, which were dominated by Jeff Kinney, author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, and the ‘most popular’ category, where pupils chose their favourite books. In this category, the overwhelming favourite for primary school children was Demon Dentist by David Walliams, while secondary students voted for The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.
Whether you’re a primary or secondary teacher, do you agree with the survey’s findings? Share your views with the Eteach community!