I open up my morning paper and what’s there on the front page? The results of a report done by Renaissance Learning laying out the “most read books” at each grade level. How do they know? Renaissance Learning makes a software program called Accelerated Reader that is used in thousands of schools nationwide. The software allows students to take reading comprehension quizzes on books that they have read, earning points and prizes. If you’re a school librarian, you know that this program is often controversial. Whether you like the concept of extrinsic motivation for reading or not, this report gives an idea of which books are popular at elementary schools using Accelerated Reader. Let’s take a look:

Click here to see the article in its entirety in The Washington Post.

First grade:

1. “Green Eggs and Ham,” Dr. Seuss

2. “The Foot Book,” Dr. Seuss

3. “Are You My Mother?” P.D. Eastman

Second grade:

1. “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie,” Laura Numeroff

2. “Green Eggs and Ham”

3. “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” Eric Carle

Third grade:

1. “Charlotte’s Web,” E.B. White

2. “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs,” Judi Barrett

3. “Officer Buckle and Gloria,” Peggy Rathmann

Fourth grade:

1. “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing,” Judy Blume

2. “Sarah, Plain and Tall,” Patricia MacLachlan

3. “Because of Winn-Dixie,” Kate DiCamillo

Fifth grade:

1. “Bridge to Terabithia,” Katherine Paterson

2. “Hatchet,” Gary Paulsen

3. “Holes,” Louis Sachar

I’ve gotta say that the results are a bit surprising – quite a few classics. However, since Accelerated Reader quizzes are taken at school, the books kids are reading are from the school library. So, maybe some love should go to school librarians, who keep stocking the classics alongside the newest hits.


(Top Image: ‘Genetics Exhibit, San Jose Tech
http://www.flickr.com/photos/51035555243@N01/176219371)