Research shows that when students have access to current and interesting books, they are more likely to read. What opportunities are you giving your students to access books that are interesting to them? How do you go about finding new books to recommend?
For the past four years, Civica and the Australian Library Information Association (ALIA) have released the Civica Libraries Index which presents data on the books most borrowed by students across a 12 month period. The latest index details loan data from libraries across Australia and New Zealand between April 2018 and March 2019, and shows the most popular books in several categories and age groups.
Most borrowed titles by juniors
Only two authors featured in the top 10 titles borrowed by juniors (0 to 12 year-olds) category. The Treehouse series by Australian author Andy Griffiths took out six of the top 10 borrowed books in this category, while Jeff Kinney's books The Getaway, Double Down, Old School and The Long Haul were the other four texts named in the top 10.
Jeff Kinney's The Getaway and Double Down were also among the top 10 books borrowed by young adults (13 to 18 year-olds). The top two books for this age group were both books written by John Green – The Fault in Our Stars being named the most borrowed and Turtles All the Way Down coming in second.
Dystopian novels were also popular with this group, with Divergent by Veronica Roth, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and The Maze Runner by James Dashner coming in as the third, fourth and fifth most borrowed books, respectively.
Top borrowed non-fiction books
Borrowing statistics were also collected for the non-fiction books young adults and children were reading. Perhaps unsurprisingly, textbooks and foreign language dictionaries were among the most frequently borrowed for young adults. Two Chinese-English dictionaries made the list, as well as German, Indonesian and French dictionaries. Two compact English dictionaries were also listed in the top 10. Anne Frank's The diary of a young girl was a unique listing in this category.
As for children, four books related to Minecraft featured in the most borrowed list for non-fiction texts. Two LEGO books also made the top 10, as well as The rock & gem book: … and other treasures of the natural world by Dan Green.
Top borrowed picture books
As for picture books – last year's National Simultaneous Storytime text, Hickory Dickory Dash by Tony Wilson was the second most-borrowed. Although being published in 1969, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, a familiar title for most, came in at sixth place, and Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak – first published in 1975 – placed 10th.
This year's National Simultaneous Storytime text is Whitney and Britney Chicken Divas by Lucinda Gifford. The event – which encourages participation from people of all ages – takes place in May, so could serve up some inspiration for the beginning of Term 2.
What book are you reading at the moment? As a teacher, how often do you speak with your students about what you’re reading?
Do you recommend a wide range of books, for example, both fiction and non-fiction books, to students?