Renaissance Releases All-New Edition of World’s Largest Annual Study of K–12 Reading Habits

Celebrating 15 years of highlighting what students are reading, Renaissance’s latest report includes in-depth data on 5.4 million students’ reading habits

Renaissance, a global leader in pre-K–12 education technology, announces the release of its much-anticipated What Kids Are Reading (WKAR) report for 2023. The all-new report—celebrating 15 years—provides unmatched insight into what students are reading both digitally and in print. Throughout, this year’s report reflects on 15 years of What Kids Are Reading, highlighting books with staying power that continue to be popular with students as well as the numerous guest authors featured throughout the years like Jeff Kinney, Dav Pilkey, and S.E. Hinton.

A trusted resource for educators nationwide, each annual release of the WKAR report highlights the most-popular books in every grade level, K–12, as well as actionable insights to help educators guide students toward reading recommendations and exciting new titles. Renaissance’s latest report features data from 5.4 million students across 22,185 schools in all 50 states and D.C. who, combined, read more than 171,000,000 titles.

As schools and districts adapt and incorporate the Science of Reading into their instruction amid the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) report results, this year’s WKAR report shows elementary school students are reading decodable books and vocabulary-rich titles, middle school students are building trust in authors, and high school students are reading expected classics and modern takes on similar storylines.

“Teaching reading is no easy task, and reading itself isn’t a skill we naturally acquire,” said Dr. Michelle Hosp, Director of Foundational Literacy at Renaissance. “In education, we often think of the Science of Reading as a new idea, but gathering scientific evidence for what works in assessing and teaching reading isn’t new. Reading practice is where students grow and improve—and our What Kids Are Reading report is a celebration of that, filled with books and ideas to inspire.”

Recognizing this, the report features research around the Science of Reading and the importance of reading practice, including the significance of students reading 15 minutes or more per day and the direct connection of reading time to students’ comprehension, vocabulary, and academic growth.

In addition to the popular most-read book lists for each grade and research insights, the report also features:

  • All-new in-demand audio titles, spotlighting accessible reading options with optional natural-voice audio narration that highlights text as students listen along.
  • Popular books that, since the first WKAR report, continue to rank among the top 10 most-popular titles students are reading.
  • New and Now Reads, providing fresh ideas for reading options and highlighting titles students first read and quizzed on in the fall of 2022.
  • Authentic Spanish Literature, highlighting Spanish titles written for native speakers that help students make real-life connections and grow as readers.
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Themes, helping educators incorporate diverse, inclusive titles within their classrooms.

The data in the WKAR report comes from Accelerated Reader, which highlights the books students are reading, not just checking out from libraries, as well as myON, which provides access to thousands of digital titles for online or offline reading. Together, these solutions personalize reading practice and provide access to reading materials—while sharing actionable data with educators to help guide reading instruction in the classroom.

To download a free copy of the report, explore students’ reading habits by state, and create personalized book lists, please visit www.renaissance.com/resources/wkar/.

The American Consortium for Equity in Education, publisher of the "Equity & Access" journal, celebrates and connects the educators, associations, community partners and industry leaders who are working to solve problems and create a more equitable environment for historically underserved pre K-12 students throughout the United States.

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Equity & Access - Issue 27

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