This weekend’s release of the film adaptation of The Hunger Games is likely to boost sales for Amazon’s no. 1 bestselling ebook of 2011. Scholastic, Inc.’s marketing juggernaut is the perfect formula for marketing beyond its core audience of children: put grown-up content with heavy-handed allusion to pop culture into books marketed to tweens and teens, but keep the reading level simple enough that readers with low comprehension skills won’t be turned off. Oh, and be sure to make it a series.
According to the Lexile Framework for Reading, The Hunger Games (810L) requires a lower level of reading ability than Captain Underpants and the Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy (850L – a prized piece of literature recommended for second graders).
Talk about dumbed down from the days when teens were expected to read Animal Farm (1370L) and The Scarlet Letter (1420L).