Reading Time: 3 minutes

The annual ‘What Kids Are Reading Report’ from learning and assessment provider Renaissance Learning reveals reading trends among students in the UAE.

The study of over 21,000 pupils across the UAE shows that pupils read books that matched the increased difficulty found in last year’s report, while comprehension levels remained consistent, reflecting the increased efforts among schools to foster a love for reading.

The report highlights that the average book difficulty (ATOS) was 5.5, similar to last year and much higher than the UK, where English is the first language for the majority of students.

Favourite books and authors

Readers can vote for their favourite books after finishing the book. J.K Rowling continued to dominate the list of favourite books within UAE schools, with her Harry Potter titles taking six spots, an increase from three last year, including the top book spot. Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone comes out on top, with Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets second. Other popular books included Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, as well as Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix.

Jeff Kinney had nine books on the list, compared to 13 last year. His most popular books included Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Getaway, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Meltdown.

Roald Dahl had two books, the same as last year – Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

The ‘What Kids Are Reading Report’ was written using Renaissance data analysed by University of Dundee academic Professor Keith Topping. Professor Topping, the principal author of this report, is also the author of the upcoming publication[1] about Accelerated Reader, a guided, independent reading programme by Renaissance that motivates primary students to read for pleasure.

Professor Keith Topping comments: “With schools returning to normal operations and occupancy, Accelerated Reader has continued to maintain and even increase reading activity in children and young people. We see clearly from the evidence that time spent reading books is crucial to improved reading skill, an essential transferable skill for the future. Children with high-quality comprehension of real books also perform better on tests of reading skill. This is excellent, but more attention to communicating favourite books between peers would increase it even further.”

John Moore, Managing Director of Renaissance said: “We know books and reading have provided millions of pupils with comfort and escapism and we’re delighted to see this passion continuing, with pupils overall reading many more books over the last academic year.

“At Renaissance, we understand the important role reading plays not only in a child’s learning but also in their overall development and wellbeing. Books have never been more accessible than they are today, from visiting local libraries and bookstores to accessing books on myON or Accelerated Reader. This report highlights how important it is that everyone has access to a wide range of books that ignite their own personal passions so each child gets the most out of the opportunities for development that a love of reading can embed.”

A copy of the full report can be found here:

[1] Improving reading comprehension of self-chosen books through computer assessment and feedback: Best practices from research