This paper examines a decadeʼs worth of May Reading Survey conducted by the School Library Association in Japan annually,collecting the data as “free reading.” Also collected are data of books for “thinking” accepted at the national reading report competition co-organized by the association and the Mainichi Newspapers Co.,Ltd.and studied in this paper by dividing these into fiction and non-fiction books. The data collected present the history of school childrenʼs reading activities,show the selection of books preferably to be read by school children for a long time to come,as well as serving as a reference for school libraries when choosing books.
Of books to be read for “thinking” by school children of younger grades in primary schools,Satchan No Maho
No Te was the most selected fiction title,while Fabreʼs Book of Insects was the most selected non-fiction title. On the
other hand,as free reading books,the Harry Potter series is the most read by school children of higher grades in primary schools,while books for “thinking” saw Happy Birthday as the most selected fiction title and Gotai Fumanzoku (No
Oneʼs Perfect) as the most selected non-fiction title. In the case of junior high school students,the Harry Potter series
was also the most read as free reading,while Natsu no Niwa was the most read fiction book for “thinking” and Dakara
Anata Mo Ikinuite (So Can You) was the most read non-fiction book for “thinking.” The Harry Potter series is also
the most read as free reading among senior high school students,while books most read for “thinking” were the fiction
Ningen Shikkaku (No Longer Human) and non-fiction Dakara Anata Mo Ikunuite.
In the decade since 2000,the greatest achievement in book reading at schools was the establishment of morning reading at junior high schools,with about half of all schools implementing it daily in 2009.
Notable works read by junior and senior high school students have been those written by Kiyoshi Shigematsu,Risa Wataya, and Kazuo Aoki. On the other hand, we wish to further recommend works by Keigo Higashino, Hideo Yokoyama,and Takeru Kaido for free reading.
Future issues will be to include manga books as part of the morning reading,the reading of natural science books among junior and senior high school students,as well as further promoting of morning reading at the senior high school level.