Friday, 5 April 2013

Two surveys on books and reading

Two interesting surveys this week, one relating to children’s top reading choices and parents’ views, the other to teachers’ favourite books.

In a survey for International Children’s Book Day, Harry Potter came first in the children’s vote for the best ever fictional character. It was a close run between him and the Gruffalo: 38% of the votes went to Harry Potter, 34% to Julia Donaldson’s wonderful creation. The Cat in the Hat was not far behind, with 28%. Best ever children’s author in the children’s view was Roald Dahl. He got half the votes, while J K Rowling got 30%. Surprisingly, Beatrix Potter came third, with 20%. Parents also put Dahl first, with Enid Blyton in second place and Rowling third. They too voted for Harry Potter as the best character, followed by the Famous Five (I’m not sure how five individuals count as one best character), then the BFG. Another interesting finding related to e-readers. 29% of parents said their children owned them, but 88% still read printed books.

Today, the TES has published a survey of 500 primary and secondary teachers’ top 100 reads. Their choices feature plenty of staples of the English curriculum, including lots of children’s books. It’s hard to avoid the question, and indeed Adi Bloom’s commentary explores it: are these the books teachers really read, or the ones they think should be read? This is the top 25:

  1. Pride and Prejudice  Jane Austen
  2. To Kill a Mockingbird  Harper Lee
  3. Harry Potter (series)  J K Rowling
  4. Wuthering Heights  Emily Bronte
  5. Jane Eyre  Charlotte Bronte
  6. Nineteen Eighty-Four  George Orwell
  7. The Lord of the Rings (series)  J R R Tolkien
  8. The Book Thief  Markus Zusak
  9. The Hobbit  J R R Tolkien
  10. The Great Gatsby  F Scott Fitzgerald
  11. The Kite Runner  Khaled Hosseini
  12. The Hunger Games (series)  Suzanne Collins
  13. The Time Traveler’s Wife  Audrey Niffenegger
  14. The Chronicles of Narnia (series)  C S Lewis
  15. Of Mice and Men  John Steinbeck
  16. Birdsong  Sebastian Faulks
  17. His Dark Materials (series)  Philip Pullman
  18. The Gruffalo  Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
  19. The Catcher in the Rye  J D Salinger
  20. Life of Pi  Yann Martel
  21. Tess of the Durbervilles  Thomas Hardy
  22. Rebecca  Daphne du Maurier
  23. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time  Mark Haddon
  24. Lord of the Flies  William Golding
  25. Matilda  Roald Dahl