New study reveals reading habits of UAE students

by Staff Reporter
What Kids Are Reading Report,

The annual “What Kids Are Reading Report,” a study of over 29,000 pupils across the UAE and over 1.2 million pupils around the world from leading edtech provider, Renaissance, reveals pupils’ attitudes towards popular authors and books, with pupils in the UAE again showing a similar pattern of choice to pupils in the UK.

Most popular books

Top authors in the UAE included Jeff Kinney, with eleven books among the most-read this year, including Diary of a Wimpy Kid, which took the top spot. J. K. Rowling was also popular, with four of her books on the list: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Dav Pilkey had three titles and Roald Dahl two books in the list of the Top 20 Most Popular Books.

Data was analysed on the reading habits and behaviours of 29,603 pupils (16% more than last year), which was accompanied by an even bigger increase in the total number of books read to 700,113 (22% more than last year). Although there has been a slight decline in the average book difficulty read by UAE pupils, it is in still in line with that of pupils in the UK.

The research also confirms the link between more reading time in school with higher reading attainment. When considering Engaged Reading Time (ERT) and Cumulative Number of Words Read, we see further evidence of the impact of the time spent reading – the more time is allocated to reading, the greater the number of words read, with the biggest gains occurring when ERT exceeds 30 minutes per day.

The What Kids Are Reading Report was written using Renaissance data analysed by Professor Keith Topping from the University of Dundee. Commenting on the overall decline in reading: “The key takeaway from this report is that more reading practice at an appropriate level of difficulty improves pupils’ reading performance. This has a knock-on impact on academic performance across the board. Focusing on comprehension and finding books they genuinely love will benefit pupils within and beyond the classroom. Schools and parents can support students by encouraging them to read often and consume more challenging books.”

Crispin Chatterton, former teacher and Director of Education at Renaissance, commented, “The What Kids Are Reading report identifies which books and authors are most engaging pupils. This is vital information for teachers to ensure pupils are reading books they really enjoy, and it is pleasing to see such an incredible increase in the overall number of books being read by pupils in the UAE over the past year. When reading for pleasure, pupils are more likely to pay close attention to the content and it encourages a love of reading which stretches beyond their school years.”

Sarah MacAskill, Head of Primary at Smart Vision School, Dubai added: “For three years, our educational journey with Renaissance reading programs has been transformative. Utilising tools like myON, Accelerated Reader and Star Reading, we’ve witnessed remarkable progress among our students. The read-back option in myON has been particularly invaluable, especially for our high EAL population, fostering independent learning and error recognition. The enthusiasm surrounding Accelerated Reader is evident, with weekly competitions fuelling engagement. Meanwhile, Star Reading not only enhances reading skills but also serves as a diagnostic tool, allowing for targeted intervention and continual growth.”

You may also like

Leave a Comment