Literacy in Steep Decline... Kids Chosing to Read Books Well BELOW Their Age Level

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Sat, 03/05/2011 - 3:53pm.

 

reading

A study found that teenagers in their final two years of school read books that 'are well below what might be expected at this age'. (Very disturbing... Dumbed down 'by design'... ~ SadInAmerica

Teenage literacy is in steep decline as schoolchildren are increasingly favouring books that are well below their reading age, research has revealed.

The study, by academics at Dundee University, said that the reading ability of young people in Britain was falling well behind that of other European countries.

Its most worrying revelation was that teenagers in their final two years of school read books that 'are well below what might be expected at this age'.

It found that from ten years old onwards, the difficulty of books chosen by youngsters 'declined steadily'.

Unlike teens a generation ago, who preferred classics such as Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird and Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, the research found they tended towards much easier reads such as the Harry Potter and Twilight series by J K Rowling and Stephanie Meyer respectively.

Shockingly, Eric Carle's classic picture-book The Very Hungry Caterpillar, that charts a caterpillar's transformation into a butterfly over a week, emerged as the most popular book among girls aged 14 to 16.

TOP BOOKS TEENS READ A GENERATION AGO...

1. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole by Sue Townsend

2. The Lord of the Rings by J R Tolkien

3. Novels by Stephen King

4. Novels by Agatha Christie

5. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy bY Douglas Adams

6. James Bond novels by Ian Fleming

7. 1984 by George Orwell

The study, commissioned by education firm Renaissance Learning, involved researchers quizzing 150,220 children in primary and secondary schools over understanding of particular texts.

It came less than a year after the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) showed that British teens fell from 17th to 25th most literate in the world, losing out to countries such as Liechtenstein, Poland and Estonia.

Prof Keith Topping, from Dundee's School of Education, said the latest study presented some 'disturbing signs regarding [the] difficulty of books' compared with an earlier report last year.

He told the Daily Telegraph: 'Although in a small number of years the difficulty of books remained the same as our study in 2010, in the majority of years the difficulty of books has sharply declined.'

TOP 5 BOOKS TEENS READ NOW...

1. The Harry Potter series by J K Rowling

2. The Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer

3. The Lord of the Rings by J R Tolkien

4. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

5. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

'If we are to address the worrying decline in reading skills identified in PISA world ranking for Britain, we have to ensure our children are reading at or above their reading age.'

The study found that children in their first four years of compulsory education tended to read books 'above what would be age appropriate'.

Five of the six most popular books read by eight and nine-year-olds in the fourth year of school were by Roald Dahl. They were The Magic Finger, followed by Fantastic Mr Fox, The Twits, George's Marvellous Medicine and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

But this trend declined sharply by the time pupils reached their final two years, often favouring 'very easy' books by British-born thriller writer Peter Lancett.

A separate study by Opinion Matters revealed the Harry Potter series was now among the most popular books for 13- to 18-year-olds. 

Meanwhile a further study revealed that Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird and Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte were no longer in the top ten list for children a generation ago.

 

March 3, 2011 - DailyMailUK

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Submitted by SadInAmerica on Sat, 03/05/2011 - 3:53pm.