|APRIL 2001||Volume 3 Number 2|
Linda Williams, Children's Services Librarian
While all of Connecticut focuses on early reading success, what is happening in reading for Connecticut's high school students? A request to our children's librarians' listserv was made. "Send in your High School Summer Reading Lists!" (HSSRL's). Librarians from 55 towns answered the call. All titles reported were included in a database of titles that students going into 9th-12th grades were requested or required to read. There was vast variation in the way these lists were compiled and delivered. Some were slick, graphically attractive handouts. Some were typewritten lists run off on a copier. Some were compiled by committees and some by English Department chairs. One school had selections from every department including the math department.
Factors considered in the assessment follow.
Did the list include titles published in the last ten years?
The average percentage of recent titles on a HSSRL was 34%. The lists ranged, however, from lists that included nothing published in the 90s (current), to lists that were 67% current titles.
Were biographies and nonfiction titles included as choices for summer reading?
Lists ranged from 42% fiction to 92% fiction, with an average percentage of listed titles at 65% fiction.
Were young adult (YA) titles included on HSSRLs? Young adult literature is a relatively new body of literature written for teens.
Only ten of the towns surveyed included more than 24% of YA titles on their lists. One town included only adult books. Three school lists were comprised of more than half young adult titles.
What was the author's gender? We would like to have surveyed cultural inclusiveness but the task was too daunting. There were over two thousand authors to consider.
On the average list, male authors wrote 63% of titles. Sixteen towns included 50% and 62% male authors. Two towns had lists where the majority of authors (59%, 53%) were female. In the remaining lists, seven were less than 30% female.
Are high schools including ALA's Young Adult Library Services Association's (YALSA) Best Books on their summer reading lists?
The average percentage of listed titles that ever made YALSA Best Book (YBB) lists, was 19% with a low of 2%. Six schools included 30-60% YBB titles.
Top Ten Connecticut High School Reading List Titles
Using The Library
Search the State Library Catalog Search the State Library Website CSL Research Resources iCONN (CT Digital Library)
Government Information Services History & Genealogy Law & Legislative Reference Library For The Blind & Physically Handicapped
Museum of Connecticut History Public Records Services To Libraries State Archives Connecticut Heritage Foundation (supporting the Connecticut State Library & Museum of Connecticut History)
Connecticut State Library
231 Capitol Avenue, Hartford, CT 06106
860-757-6500 * Toll-free 866-886-4478