Wednesday, August 7, 2013

How High School Reading Has Changed Since 1907

I think you'll find this report as fascinating as I did.  How times, and reading offerings, have changed.  It is fair, though, to say that some old faithfuls have remained!

Be sure to see the graph at the bottom of this post.

Renaissance Learning has released its fifth edition of the What Kids Are Reading report. Among the many topics covered in the free report, it compared high school reading across the last century.

Below are links to free eBook copies of the most popular books in 1907, 1923 and 1964. The complete report noted “a decline over time in the complexity of required texts for high school students.” Follow this link for an infographic summary of the research. Here’s more from the report:
Albion High School
Class of 1900
Although our analysis is restricted to the  period of 1907 to 2012, there is evidence that writing has become less complex over the last several hundred  year. Complexity is impacted in part by average sentence length; books with longer sentences tend to be more  difficult to comprehend than books with shorter sentences … it is worth noting that just because the books students are being assigned to read are less complex than in  prior years, this does not necessarily mean that they cannot read or comprehend books at higher levels, nor can  we assume that assigning more complex texts would necessarily lead to improvements in achievement.
Top High School Reading, 1907-2012 with Links to Free Books

Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Silas Marner by George Eliot

The Rivals: A Comedy by Richard Brinsley Sheridan
Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
Sohrab and Rustum by Matthew Arnold

Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Silas Marner by George Eliot
Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Crucible by Arthur Miller
Night by Elie Wiesel

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