What are your kids reading these last few days of winter break?
Chances are, they aren’t likely reading a nonfiction book, according to a recent study of kids’ reading habits by Renaissance Learning.
That’s particularly true for girls, who at every grade level are devoting much less of their reading time to nonfiction than boys, the report found.
While Renaissance Learning’s report looks only at books, and not web articles or other texts that may be assigned in classes, the results are worth noting, given an increasing emphasis on nonfiction texts in the Common Core State Standards.
The Common Core standards recommend a 50-50 balance between informational and fiction reading at the K-5 level; by senior year of high school, the recommendation is that 70 percent of the reading a student does — not just in English class — be nonfiction.
“In order to be successful in their lives in and outside of school, it is imperative that students read a broad array of literature, especially nonfiction, where data shows students are currently lacking,” the Renaissance Learning report said.
Renaissance Learning used its Accelerated Reader program to track students’ reading habits for the report. Students use the Accelerated Reader program to document books read and monitor reading progress through quizzes and other programs.
The study used records for more than 9.8 million students nationwide who read more than 330 million books during the 2013–2014 school year.
It found that students’ interest in nonfiction texts tends to peak around fifth grade. In that grade, about 31 percent of the books boys read are nonfiction, the study found. For fifth-grade girls, 21 percent of the books being read are nonfiction.
It should be noted that girls tend to be more voracious readers than boys, according to the study. On average, girls read 761,000 more words than boys by the time they finish high school, and encounter about 25 percent more words than boys.
For more, Renaissance Learning has a page of interactive charts showing how and what students are reading at different grade levels.
In the meantime, here’s a breakdown of the most popular books being read by Kentucky students in each grade, according to the report:
Grades 1 and 2: Green Eggs and Ham
Grade 3: Because of Winn-Dixie
Grades 4, 5 and 6: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck
Grade 7: Divergent
Grade 8: The Outsiders
Grade 9: To Kill a Mockingbird
Grade 10: Divergent
Grade 11: The Crucible
Grade 12: The Hunger Games