March 1, 2022

The new 2022 What Kids Are Reading report provides insight into the reading habits of millions of students

Bloomington, MN (March 1, 2022) Renaissance , a global leader in pre-K–12 education technology, today released the latest What Kids Are Reading (WKAR) report, the world’s largest annual survey of K–12 reading habits.

Each year, the WKAR report lists the most popular books at every grade level, and also provides new understanding of K–12 students’ reading practice. The report is uniquely illuminating because it draws from two Renaissance programs: Accelerated Reader, which records the books students are actually reading, not just buying or checking out from libraries, and myON, which provides students with instant access to thousands of digital titles for online or offline reading.

The 2022 report uses the data of 4.5 million students in 22,749 US schools who read 128 million books, revealing insights into students’ reading comprehension and the characteristics of what they choose to read, such as word count and text difficulty.

“Beyond sharing data on student reading, the report’s goal has always been to celebrate books and to encourage students to read for pleasure, both in and out of school,” said Dr. Gene Kerns, the chief academic officer at Renaissance. “We know from prior research that the amount of reading that students do is a strong predictor of how much they’ll grow and achieve, and the likelihood they’ll be able to understand more complex texts later in school and in their careers.”

This year’s report includes author essays about topics such as the value of reading, the process of writing, and the power of storytelling to engage students and support vocabulary and knowledge development, all of which lead to greater reading comprehension. Essay authors include:

  • Jacqueline Woodson, author of The Day You Begin;
  • Yangsook Choi, author of The Name Jar;
  • Francisco X. Stork, author of Marcelo in the Real World; and
  • Dr. Padma Venkatraman, author of A Time to Dance.

Dr. Kymyona Burk, a senior policy fellow for early literacy at the Foundation for Excellence in Education, writes in the introduction to the report, “As children grow as readers and as individuals, it is important for them to find engaging books that they can connect with and that motivate them to read. Sometimes, it only takes one character, one book, or one shared experience to change the trajectory of a child’s life.”

The report also features helpful book lists designed to help educators provide choices for students who may be struggling to find books they are interested in, and to help all students discover new titles they might otherwise miss. Grade-Range Lists highlight how different literacy education looks as students move between ages, grades, and abilities, and focus on the specific skill sets literacy experts believe will support literacy growth and comprehension at each grade band. This includes Highly Decodable books for grades K–2, Vocabulary Practice for grades 3–5, Background Knowledge Builders for grades 6–8, and High Interest and Accessible books for struggling readers in grades 9–12.

In addition to the always popular Signature Books list—which highlights the most popular book in each state—the report includes the following lists for each grade level:

  • New and Now Reads, which are titles just being discovered by students;
  • Top Print Titles and Popular Digital Reads;
  • Authentic Spanish Titles, written for native speakers to help students make real-life connections, develop deeper vocabulary and linguistic understanding, and foster cultural appreciation;
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Themes, designed to help educators and students begin conversations about our diverse makeup and how inclusion can help us thrive; and
  • Social and Emotional Learning Topics, which features two books that address a SEL-related topic.

Visit to download a free copy of the report, explore data by state, and create personalized book lists.

About Renaissance

As a global leader in assessment, reading, and math solutions for pre-K–12 schools and districts, Renaissance is committed to providing educators with insights and resources to accelerate growth and help all students build a strong foundation for success. Renaissance solutions reach more than 40 percent of US schools and more than half a million students in other regions across the world. The Renaissance portfolio includes Star Assessments, for reliable, accurate insights into K–12 student learning; myIGDIs, for accurate assessment of early learning; myON, to increase students’ access to high-quality reading materials; Accelerated Reader, to support independent reading practice; Freckle, for teacher-led differentiated instruction; Schoolzilla, to give educators actionable insights into trends in student attendance and achievement; Lalilo, to develop critical foundational skills; and Nearpod, for teacher-facilitated instructional delivery. For more information, visit

Press contact:
Tracy Stewart
Director, Marketing Development
(832) 651-1189
[email protected]

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