Check out the report recently published by Renaissance Learning, which explores the reading habits of children in American schools. Their report is particularly interesting because, as they say in the introduction to the report, it is "the first comprehensive report to provide detailed information about books schoolchildren are actually reading. While Amazon.com and other online booksellers boast lists of best sellers and a local librarian can advise on which books are in frequent circulation, neither can tell you if any of these books were ever opened, much less if they were read cover to cover."
The report goes on to list the top twenty books read last year by students in grades 1 through 12, by gender, U.S. region, and reading achievement level. I can't with any authority whatsoever speak to their means of gathering data for this study, but I found their lists fascinating! The first grade list, for example, lists Green Eggs and Ham as the most popular book - but when divided according to gender, boys had a slight preference for Dr. Seuss's The Foot Book, with Green Eggs coming in second place, and with girls it was the reverse. In the fourth grade list, however, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume ranked number one for boys and girls. Neat, huh? I love this kind of thing!
This is a fascinating look at the books children read at school, and I love how they've also divided the data by gender and region. The study also includes interesting articles about reading by authors including S.E. Hinton, Mary Pope Osborne, and Christopher Paul Curtis. What a great tool for librarians, teachers and parents!