For the last few weeks, I’ve shared academic articles with evidence that nonfiction in general and expository nonfiction in particular is more popular among elementary students than most of us might think. Simply put, what the children’s literature community calls broccoli, many kids call chocolate cake.
As I was plowing through academic articles and talking about them to anyone who would listen, Mary Ann Scheuer (@MaryAnnScheuer) and Christine Royce (@caroyce) both recommended that I take a look at the Scholastic Reading Report.
I didn’t find anything germane to my line of inquiry in the U.S. report, but the international surveys carried out in India, Australia, and the U.K., included a question that gets right to the heart of what I’m interested in exploring.
“What do you look for when picking out a book to read for fun?”
I created a table to show the results:
I like books that:
Children could check more than one answer if they wanted to, which explains why the totals for India and Australia are greater than 100%.
In India, there was a clear preference for nonfiction, especially expository nonfiction. In Australia and the U.K., children preferred fiction, but not by much, and narrative nonfiction was the least favorite category. It’s interesting that the results in Australia and the U.K. were similar, while those in India were quite different. This suggests that cultural factors influence reading preferences.
Oh, how I wish they had asked this question on the U.S. and Canadian questionnaires. Maybe they will in the future.
Once again, I encourage you to examine this data yourself and take a look at the rest of the report too. It’s available at: http://www.scholastic.com/readingreport/ .
I’ll be sharing more research next week.