This article, by Graeme Paton, originally appeared on The Telegraph UK site on 3/7/13.
Research shows that rising numbers of 13 and 14-year-olds – including the brightest pupils – are opting for simple texts aimed at children towards the end of primary school.
Academics from Dundee University analysed children’s reading habits throughout primary and secondary education and found the relative difficulty of books “declined steadily” as pupils got older. Boys were also more likely to shun problematic books than girls.
It emerged that The Twits by Roald Dahl was among the most popular books for pupils aged 13 to 16 despite also featuring among the top titles for seven and eight-year-olds.
The study suggested that primary school teachers were more likely to push children towards challenging books because of awareness of the importance of developing literacy skills at a young age.
But the study warned that there was “something seriously amiss” in secondary schools, suggesting that a failure to promote reading may cause pupils to effectively go backwards between the age of 11 and 16.
It follows the publication of official school-by-school league tables earlier this year that showed one-in-six bright pupils performed relatively worse in English exams sat at 16 compared with tests taken at the end of primary education.
Read the The Telegraph UK site.