4 tips to get the most out of What Kids Are Reading

During the 2016–2017 school year, 9.4 million K–12 students read 323 million books and articles, per data captured by Renaissance Accelerated Reader®. Just under 80 pages, the 2018 What Kids Are Reading report is loaded with a ton of reading tips, trends, and research. With all that jam-packed information, it can be tough to digest the report in one or two sittings. Below, we’ve highlighted four tips from our email series to help you get the most out of What Kids Are Reading, along with some real-life examples of how you can use the report in the classroom.

1. Guide students to their next great read

Create a bookstore-style display. You know the feeling you get when walking through a bookstore? Titles, authors, and covers call to you, piquing your interest. You pick up books and read their first pages or back covers.

Use the “Top 25 Books Overall” lists in What Kids Are Reading to identify which books are the most popular for each grade. In the school library or classroom, create a display that features a selection of the top books from the report. Use sticky notes or bookmarks to indicate a book’s ranking—and don’t be surprised if #1 is constantly checked out!

2. Place an emphasis on nonfiction content

Focus on visuals. Informational texts are often filled with graphs, charts, maps, diagrams, and other information-heavy visuals. Taking the time to dig into text features and reveal all the interesting information they share can make reading nonfiction much more engaging for students.

You can use any nonfiction text—even a science textbook—for this activity, but the “Top 10 Nonfiction Articles” in What Kids Are Reading might be a great place to start. Use a projector or smartboard to display a visually heavy informational text for a small group or classroom. Ask students what they think the main idea or theme is using only the visuals, then read the article as a group and have students discuss how the visuals support or enrich the text.

3. Help students become agents of their own success

Set personalized goals. A growth mindset includes the belief that abilities can always be improved with time and effort. Students with a growth mindset understand it’s OK if they don’t succeed at a task at first—it just means they need to keep trying until they do.

The “K–12 Insights & Analysis: Struggling Readers” section of What Kids Are Reading shows how quantity, quality, and challenge of reading practice relate to growth. Explain to students how the decisions they make about their reading practice—to read more closely, read more words, or read for longer—can make them better readers, even if they initially struggle. Guide each student in setting personalized goals around one or more of these factors to help them take control of their own reading growth.

4. Encourage families to support their children’s reading success

Share the report. Families underestimate how hard it can be for some kids to find books they enjoy. Overall, only 29% of parents think their kids have trouble finding good books, but a full 41% of children report they have difficulty finding books they like.1

Make it easier for families to give their kids great book recommendations by sharing What Kids Are Reading with them. Anyone with Internet access can download a full copy of the report. For families without access at home, you may want to print just the pages for their child’s grade and send those pages home with your weekly or monthly newsletter.

Put What Kids Are Reading into action! Sign up for a weekly email—once per week for four weeks—with helpful tips (like the ones above) on how you can use insights from the report to boost your students’ reading growth, plus free resources with even more great ideas. Be sure to check the “I want 4 weeks of helpful reading tips!” box when you submit the form.

References

1 Scholastic. (2017). Kids & family reading report. Retrieved from http://www.scholastic.com/readingreport/files/Scholastic-KFRR-6ed-2017.pdf.

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