What Kids Are Reading Report Sheds Light on K–12 Student Reading Habits

Renaissance, a global leader in pre-K–12 education technology, recently released the 2020 edition of What Kids Are Reading, a report that has been providing educators, families, and communities unparalleled insight into students’ reading habits for more than a decade. This year’s What Kids Are Reading report highlights the most popular books among millions of K–12 students across the nation, and also finds that easy access to these materials makes a measurable difference in developing a child’s love of reading.

To help educators and families encourage students to read more fiction and nonfiction, the report offers information on the most popular books for each grade, data on popular nonfiction and curricular connections by grade bands, and tips on how to maximize the effects of the time students spend reading.

Key findings of the report include:

  • Students read the most nonfiction in grades 3–5, making up an average of 54 percent of their total reading when reading on a digital platform.
  • Three is the magic number: When students read three or more books on a topic, they tend to score higher on comprehension quizzes focused on books in that topic area.
  • The number of topics students read about tends to decrease as they progress through school.

The report also shines a light on how students’ reading interests change as they age. K–2 students gravitate toward poetry and rhymes, so Dr. Seuss books are often the most popular. In grades 3–5, sports and recreation take center stage, and interpersonal relationships become the hot topic as students transition into middle school. Those interests continue to change as students enter high school, with students showing a continued interest in sports, while also balancing assigned reading.

The full report is available now at www.renaissance.com/wkar, along with additional tools including a Custom Report Builder that uses filters such as state, grade, difficulty level, and more. On March 18, Renaissance will host a webinar that delves more into the findings from this year’s What Kids Are Reading report. 

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