This report reflects trends in national reading scores, which remain low. On the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress, an exam administered every two years, average scores for fourth and eight grade reading remained stagnant or barely improved. Only 34 percent of students were rated reading “proficient.”
High school students today are reading books intended for children with reading levels far below those appropriate for teens, according to a recent report.
A compilation of the top 40 books teens in grades 9-12 are reading in school shows that the average reading level of that list is 5.3 — barely above the fifth grade.
“A fifth-grade reading level is obviously not high enough for college-level reading. Nor is it high enough for high school-level reading, either, or for informed citizenship,” writes Sandra Stotsky, professor of education reform at the University of Arkansas.
The results come from “What Kids Are Reading: The Book-Reading Habits of Students in American Schools,” a report by Renaissance Learning, Inc. The data covers book-reading records for the 2010-2011 academic year among 2.6 million students in grades 1-12 from 24,465 schools in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
At the top of the list for high schoolers: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, followed by John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.