Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Age banding and its impact on children and their reading

an article by Claire Warren (Djanogly City Academy, UK) and Sally Maynard (Loughborough University, UK) published in Journal of Librarianship and Information Science Volume 44 Number 2 (June 2012)


The study described here investigates the thoughts and opinions of young readers related to age banding on children’s books. Emphasizing the views of children themselves, rather than adults such as parents, librarians, teachers and authors, the research involved a series of three focus groups involving children aged 11–13 years.

The discussions held by the focus groups revealed that participants thought that age banding is intended primarily for adults, and for readers younger than the participants. Age bands were thought to neglect individualism and to restrict autonomy; they were less obvious than other features on books so their position and appearance were significant.

Hazel’s comment:
I like the “suitable for age ...” indications that are provided in the reviews in “The School Librarian”. The “this is what the publisher says” is often followed by an indication as to whether the reviewer thinks that older or younger children would enjoy the story and/or whether the book being reviewed would be better for slower or more mature readers regardless of age.
I accept, of course, that reading the reviews of fiction books is not part of the job of a careers information broker but it sure does help with the birthday and Christmas present buying for grandchildren and nieces and nephews!

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