By Ken Stoflet, Marketing Communications Specialist
Alexa, read me Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. (Did you know Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was the most requested book for Amazon’s Alexa to read aloud in 2017?) This past week, Amazon published its annual This Year in Books. The data highlights the most popular books ordered from Amazon.com, the most gifted books, and a bunch of other interesting tidbits of information about the reading habits of Amazon customers in 2017. While there are a ton of great reads on a list, a lot of them are familiar titles we’ve seen on our annual What Kids Are Reading report, which got us thinking about all the great books our content developers here at Renaissance get to read. With nearly 200,000 reading quizzes available, our team gets to read a lot of great stuff. We spoke to Chris and Shannon, two Renaissance content developers, and asked them to reflect on their 2017. From the most rewarding aspects of their job to their favorite books, we wanted to learn more about them.
Chris: “The best part about my job is that I’m paid to read and think about what can be learned. It’s rewarding to have a hand in helping students improve their reading skills and learn more about science and the world we inhabit. I get the chance to learn about new discoveries in science almost every week!”
Shannon: “I was approached multiple times by local educators wanting some assistance in finding materials for their hard-to-reach students. For upper-grade students interested in specific genres or other students interested in certain topics, Renaissance Accelerated Reader BookFinder™ was a great tool to refer to them. Most of these educators had Renaissance Accelerated Reader® in their schools, but [they] didn’t know about the advanced search function. I was so happy that our solution could help!”
C: “Although my favorite books to write quizzes on are middle-school-level science books, my favorite book in 2017 was Jack London and the Klondike Gold Rush. I learned so much about that time in history and the events in London’s life that inspired him to write books like White Fang and The Call of the Wild. I admired the miners’ persistence through the hardships of getting to Alaska, traveling to the sites where they made their claims, and actually digging for gold. I also learned that although the miners had to carry everything they needed on their backs, they often had at least one book with them. They spent parts of the long, dark winter nights in the Yukon reading by candlelight, and they traded books and considered them very valuable!”
S: “I recently recommended the Silvermay book series and the Three Dark Crowns series to a friend looking for Christmas gifts. Both were from up-and-coming authors in the fantasy genre, and [they] explored fresh ideas in myth and lore, an area that tends to see a lot of redundancy.”
C: “225? Give or take a few.”
S: “I read six books a week and two more for edits. Sometimes, if they are large, I do three a week. Other weeks, I will have as many as ten smaller titles.” (For those keeping score at home, that adds up to around 312 books.)
While looking at the results of Amazon’s This Year in Books, a striking number of books on the list correlate to television series and movies. In the past, we’ve noticed the same thing in our What Kids Are Reading report. For example, when The Hunger Games movies came out, we saw a spike in the book’s popularity. Another one that comes to mind is the Captain Underpants series. With the recent movie coming out, there’s a strong chance that the books will experience a surge in popularity. (Looking to inspire some Captain Underpants readers in your classroom? See what a school in Washington is doing.) Staying on top of these trends is super important as our content developers are assigned new reads and create reading quizzes for Accelerated Reader and Renaissance Accelerated Reader 360®—especially as we head into 2018.
What books did your students gobble up in 2017? What do you think will be the most popular books in 2018? Let us know in the comments below, post on our Facebook page, or tweet us @RenLearnUS. Happy reading in 2018!
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(Psst: We highlight the new reading quizzes in Accelerated Reader and Accelerated Reader 360!)