What Are Kids Reading?

Ashley Thorne

When Renaissance Learning conducted its 2012 edition of its report "What Kids Are Reading" (PDF), it asked Sandra Stotsky and other commentators, to weigh in on the question What should kids be reading? Stotsky, who professor of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas and serves on NAS's board of directors, wrote:

This republic cannot flourish in the 21st century, no matter how much time English or reading teachers spend teaching ‘21st century skills’ with texts deemed UG [upper grade], if the bulk of our population is reading at or below the fifth-grade level.

She notes the incongruence between the Education Department's push to ensure that all students become "college-ready" and its failure to define college-readiness. She also cites NAS's recent report on college common reading, Beach Books: What Do Colleges and Universities Want Students to Read Outside Class? The report showed that 10 of the institutions that assign a book for common reading to students selected graphic novels, such as Journey From the Land of No: A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran and Kabuki: The Alchemy

Stotsky writes about the 2012 Renaissance Learning report in the New York Daily News in "'Twilight' Has No Place in the Classroom," as does Alexander Nazaryan in "Against Captain Underpants: How We Are Raising a Generation of Illiterates." 

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