The article states:
"Professor Keith Topping, an education specialist at Dundee University and the author of the report, said: 'Primary school pupils, particularly in Years One to Five, show a strong preference for challenging books which are significantly beyond their natural reading age.
We then see a marked difference in Year Seven where favoured books are no longer above chronological age, but six months below it and in ensuing years the difficulty of books plateaus or declines.'"
The report gathered that many of these secondary school students are attracted to books that have recently been turned into movies such as The Hunger Games trilogy and The Fault in Our Stars, but dubbed them as too easy for the children's average reading level.
To provide you with some context, secondary school in England is roughly the equivalent of middle school here in the states. And the success of Suzanne Collins and John Green's books among early teenagers is hardly a phenomenon unique to the UK alone. So wouldn't this mean these books too easy for our young American readers too?
The report goes on to state that, "Secondary teachers and librarians need to get better at encouraging children appropriately,” as in, they need to be suggesting more difficult books.
Yes, ideally a child would be mentally challenged by the books they are reading, but are you really going to put the blame on the teachers and librarians? At least these children are reading, and more importantly – they're getting joy out of it!
Countless studies show that children are more likely to enjoy a book and willingly choose to read it when the book is something they have picked out themselves. Yet, this report seems to suggest that it is teachers and librarians jobs to tell these kids not to read these Young Adult books.
As someone who works in a public library where it is my job to help readers find books that interest them, I can't imagine turning them away from a particular title – especially a child who wants to read. Yes, a kid could perhaps get more mental stimulation out of a book that is a bit more challenging, but that could also push them away from wanting to read. In my opinion, one of the most important things for children to develop during their youth is an early love for reading. Once that habit is set, their tastes in literature will change and evolve, just as they will. More difficult books will come as they get older, and if they don't? They'll still be ahead of all the kids who weren't reading anything at all.