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Readicide: How Schools Are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It

4.29 of 5 stars 4.29  ·  rating details  ·  3,518 ratings  ·  691 reviews
Read-i-cide n: The systematic killing of the love of reading, often exacerbated by the inane, mind-numbing practices found in schools.


Reading is dying in our schools. Educators are familiar with many of the factors that have contributed to the decline—poverty, second-language issues, and the ever-expanding choices of electronic entertainment. In this provocative new boo
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Paperback, 160 pages
Published February 28th 2009 by Stenhouse Publishers
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The Book Whisperer by Donalyn MillerThe First Days Of School by Harry K. WongSavage Inequalities by Jonathan KozolEducating Esmé by Esmé Raji CodellPedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire
books for teachers, educators
8th out of 429 books — 395 voters
Reading in the Wild by Donalyn MillerThe Book Whisperer by Donalyn MillerReadicide by Kelly GallagherThe Daily Five by Gail BousheyI Read It, but I Don't Get It by Cris Tovani
Literacy Go-Tos
3rd out of 58 books — 24 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Riku Sayuj
The subtitle pretty much sums the book up. Some interesting remedies are suggested but nothing radical. The premise of the book is WYTIWYG - What You Test is What You Get - If you implement shallow tests and metrics to measure the young generation, they will evolve into that and beat you at the same game, in the worst ways imaginable.

Introduce deep reading and a love for learning instead of artificial measures; test for understanding, not for mere retention of facts - facts change and when they
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Donalyn
The latest book from consultant and high school teacher, Kelly Gallagher, explores how standardized-testing mania, whole class novel units, and other types of reading instruction destroy all love or interest in reading for kids.
For those of you who know me (or have talked to me for three minutes!), you can tell that Kelly was preaching to the choir here. The first part of the book was simply validation for what I already believe to be true with a heavy dose of research to back it up. The second
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Ryan
Kelly Gallagher's Readicide is a title that ensures we'll all duck and cover, which really made it difficult for me to accept the book at first. He explains how American education is failing to create lifelong readers. Put another way, America's public education is "killing" students' love of reading.

Gallagher explains that the "elephant in the room" when it comes to this part of the sky falling is standardized tests. The era of the standardized test in American public education really got going
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Eric Rasmussen
I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, it offered phenomenal ideas for teaching English, and a very persuasive reminder of the power of reading, which all English teachers occasionally need, especially as we get bogged down in the daily rigors of the classroom.

My problem lies with some pretty huge assumptions Gallagher has made. Basically, his goal is thoughful, intelligent human beings who value reading. He is obviously one of these, as is everyone who reads this book. So, much of
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Philip
Readicide is a teacher's book. It's by teachers, and primarily for teachers. For the majority of the book, he's preaching to the choir. I knew I would like it when I read the dedication, "For those educators who resist the political in favor of the authentic."

It's always nice when an author dedicates a book to you.

Basically the premise of the book is, given the current political atmosphere schools are focusing on shallow, short-term, to-the-test teaching rather than focusing on developing life-l
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Leslie
Apr 22, 2011 Leslie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: ALL TEACHERS
Recommended to Leslie by: twitter
Well, this certainly confirmed my instincts about the Year of Reading I imposed on my junior classes. Instead of using the 26 minutes per cycle I have been allotted for SAT review this year(!?!), I decided that my honors students and I would be reading, all year, for no grade, whatever we chose(1 out of 6 days). Kelly Gallagher wrote a book that delineated all my reasons, and surprise, surprise, my results have been exactly as he predicted. Their reading skills in assigned readings have improved ...more
Kathrina
Great ideas, but suspicious statistical manipulations to prove his points. His tone can become condescending and his points repetitive -- you probably wouldn't care that schools are killing reading if you weren't a good reader yourself, so please stop summarizing every third sentence -- but refreshing direct, nonetheless. Flood your students with good writing, all kinds of writing, frame your classwork around difficult reads, but maintain constant leisure reading, and let it be leisurely! Allow ...more
Elaine
Jun 26, 2011 Elaine added it
I have mixed feelings about this book. The problem is I completely agree with what the author has to say (with one exception, that I'll address later). I believe Gallagher is preaching to the choir. The people who read this book are already going to be interested in reading and the growing trend of illiteracy amongst our students. They do not need convincing that students need to read more.

Once I got past that though, I felt he had some really useful methods of assisting students in understandin
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Laura Leaney
Jul 31, 2012 Laura Leaney rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Obtuse educators
I did not enjoy this book, but it probably should be required reading for a target group of the nation's teachers who cannot figure out for themselves that the way certain books are "taught" (especially in the younger grades) can eliminate a child's love of reading.

It's funny. I mostly agree with Kelly Gallagher's points but could barely get through the ridiculous metaphors for teaching (swimming, baseball, et cetera) the repetitive writing, and the contradictions. Yes, teaching to the test kil
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Ricki
This is a MUST-READ for English/Language Arts teachers. Gallagher does a phenomenal job balancing statistics to support his theory for why American schools are killing reading. My only (ever so slight) criticism would be that there could be even more emphasis on practical techniques that teachers could use in their classrooms. Gallagher offers numerous techniques and as a more experienced teacher, I found it easy to employ his philosophies, but I felt as if there could be even more activities fo ...more
Natalie
This book spoke straight to my heart. I am a reader - a staying up till 3am, books spilling out of the shelves, don't look at my Amazon bill, reader. To quote Thomas Jefferson "I cannot live without books." I am also a teacher. When I started teaching I remember telling people that my number one goal was to help my students learn to love reading as much as I do. I am in my fourth year of teaching and over the years I've noticed that many teachers become disillusioned and the new goal becomes "PA ...more
Holly
Sigh. I almost don't want to be done with this book because it's so good. I read this on the heels of reading Book Love by Penny Kittle (I've had Readicide for several years after seeing him at the Dublin Literacy Conference; I just haven't gotten around to reading it - shameful, I know) - obviously Kittle and Gallagher are kindred spirits. I'm so sad that my enthusiastic 4th grade readers could fall prey to readicide, but there are cautionary tales for elementary teachers in this book, too. Gal ...more
mstan
Mar 03, 2012 mstan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All language teachers
I don't know if it would be a case of preaching to the choir for many of Gallagher's readers - I can't imagine anyone who is not passionate about promoting reading to their students reading this book.

This book is seriously short though - I was stunned when it ended at the 75% mark on my kindle - and I think it's rather repetitive in parts. However, what Gallagher recommends is very useful for any teacher looking to nurture lifelong readers. He recommends practical strategies to avoid over- and u
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Kristin
How is it that our public schools have degenerated into test preparation centers? Why is it that in preparing our students to demonstrate progress via standardized tests, we've actually inhibited their growth as independent, creative thinkers? Since when are books missing from English classrooms, and what can we do to rekindle students' love of reading? We find the answers in Kelly Gallagher's Readicide.

I think Readicide is a highly accessible book that offers not only good information about lit
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Lars Guthrie
This was a perfect book to read in conjunction with Nancie Atwell’s 'The Reading Zone,' along with my current reading on reading, Louise Rosenblatt’s seminal 'Literature as Exploration.'

All three authors emphasize the need for students to read what they are interested in reading, and to be given the time to pursue those interests. Both Atwell and Gallagher believe kids deserve the freedom to be captured and captivated by books, without having to fill out volumes of worksheets or paste in reams o
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Claudia
Nov 08, 2009 Claudia rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: every educator
Recommended to Claudia by: Teacher Leader Network
Just reread this, and I'm even more impressed. Every teacher, English or not, needs to read this, and every school needs to follow these ideas. Gallagher shows how to avoid over-teaching and under-teaching the classics...how to frame the study of a challenging text, and how to support students' efforts. His book list is one I'll share with my students, and his ideas will find their way into our "Literacy Site Goal!"

I got to read a pre-publication copy, and I ordered my own to mark up and put my
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Donna
This book is a must-read for anyone who has children or helps them learn to read. The author is a high school language arts teacher, so it's mainly geared toward what's happening in high schools to make teens hate reading; however, it's still relevant for all ages. Basically, as a nation, we are graduating students who will never again pick up a book for pleasure. With all the standardized testing, teachers are making kids read only to get the information needed in order to answer a multiple cho ...more
Jeffrey
This book is definitely worth reading, but I also found its tone annoying at times. The general ideas of Readicide are somewhat accurate. We are damaging the love of reading in our younger generations. I also agree that high stakes testing and reading programs full of lower-order-thinking type questions, competitive goals/prizes, and excessive reading-level limitations are among the culprits for this damage. However, Gallagher views these as the dominant factors in the problem. These issues wo ...more
Lynn
I liked this book and agree with the points the author makes. But even while my school read this for a book group. the pressure in the school and in the district to commit Readicide is overwhelming. To teach as suggested in this book is to be criticized and unwelcome in the school environment. The pressure is intense to teach "skills" and do things that this book criticizes is still there. An aide told me once that if she had to write in a journal every time she read a book she'd throw the book ...more
Christy
This is a really great, practical book about what teachers (particularly elementary, middle school, and high school teachers) can do to both prevent "readicide" (the death of any interest or joy in reading) and encourage recreational reading. It's short, handy, and very convincing.

As a college teacher who gets to teach the students who have already been through a system that can crush any desire to read for fun, I would love to see more attention paid to what I can do in my position in addition
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Kelly

The title is a bit much, I will admit, but since we shouldn't judge a book by its cover, then we shouldn't judge a book by its title either. The subtitle (how schools are killing reading and what you can do about it) sums the book's premise up quite clearly. Gallagher explains how schools are failing to teach students to be lifelong readers, and this is because of standardized testing. Too many teachers are teaching to the test, teaching curriculum that is only found on the test, and teaching sk
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Mr. Z
"As teachers of adolescents, we must take a hard look at what we are doing to potential readers. After thirteen years of schooling, many graduates are thankful they may never have to open another book again."

Reading teachers out there, please let me know if you've read a more important book than "Readicide," because I sure as heck haven't. I'm not sure how an educator - in particular, a reading teacher - could read this book and not feel an immediate urgency and justifiable hope to start restori
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Joanne
Like Donalyn Miller's The Book Whisperer, I wish I had gotten around to reading this book much sooner. Readicide had been on my To-Be-Read shelf since late summer, but I just never managed the time (ha!) to sit down and read it. Now, I’ll have to sit down with it again (the ultimate kudo for any book I read) so I can absorb its wisdom a second time.

Readicide isn’t new, it isn’t novel and it isn’t guaranteed to raise student test scores in a single school year. It’s a factual, intelligent comment
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edh
Anyone who works with youth should read this immediately, and everyone who works with adult readers can read this to better understand how these readers may have developed.

Kelly Gallagher has written a powerful indictment of contemporary educational strategies aimed at turning kids into literate, critically-thinking adults. Instead of producing lifelong readers with deep comprehension skills, a combination of testing and overteaching has created adults who are soured on the very act of reading i
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Jenny
Okay, so I wouldn't recommend that the average friend go out and purchase this book tomorrow. It might not hold your interest.... but as a teacher, it hooked me on about page two. I've typed up 5 pages of comments to share about it with a friend at work who is also reading it, but this is something I'm passionate about. No Child Left Behind and high stakes testing are ruining education for a lot of kids and I am truly scared for our future if we continue on the path we are heading on. Gallagher ...more
Rob
I read this book about two thirds of the way through my internship at Diamond Fork Junior High, and let me tell you, it changed the way I approached teaching reading. The book seemed pretty well researched, and his ideas were effective insofar as I used them.

After reading this book, I decided I would give my students about ninety minutes of reading time in class, per week. That's almost twenty minutes a day, which I admit was a HUGE commitment and investment of time (having my students for two
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Melissa Boyle
I agree with many of the concerns in this book but would love to see this written from the perspective of an elementary school teacher instead of a high school English teacher.

Mr Gallagher is correct when he says kindergartners come to us excited about learning to read. Their love for learning is contagious. However, that love for reading quickly diminishes. Sometimes as early as 1st grade.

As an elementary teacher, I believe many of our teachers overteach texts that should be enjoyed not dissec
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Daina Jaeger Mundt
This is a book that all non-reading teachers need to read. The big ideas in this book that address the importance of a high volume of high interest reading, not using the drill and kill approach, not making kids "do something" with every book they read, and making time for recreational reading at school are HUGE, and ideas that I have been preaching for years, only to be faced with questions such as "How do you know they're reading?" "What are they learning when they're "just reading?" While I r ...more
Neil Hepworth
Reading this short book by Kelly Gallagher really makes me appreciate my school and the administrators guiding the ship. Gallagher spends the majority of his time detailing the main causes of readicide: standardized testing, teaching to the standardized test, the over-teaching of a novel, tedious worksheets and quizzes, and the stuffing in of too much shallow information to the detriment of meaningful observations, connections, and thought, etc.

I actually found that this book had little new new
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Shana Dempsey
This book by Kelly Gallagher really put some real problems into perspective. He breaks the book down into chapters that are easy to read and reflect on what he has to say. I feel that so many schools are just going step-by-step through their curriculum that they no longer value the books that are classics. The classics may be long and hard to understand, but it is how people appreciate reading. Gallagher explains in his book that there are different types of techniques, such as the one pager or ...more
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  • Book Love: Developing Depth, Stamina, and Passion in Adolescent Readers
  • Igniting a Passion for Reading: Successful Strategies for Building Lifetime Readers
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  • I Read It, but I Don't Get It: Comprehension Strategies for Adolescent Readers
  • Notebook Know-How: Strategies for the Writer's Notebook
  • The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child
  • When Kids Can't Read-What Teachers Can Do: A Guide for Teachers 6-12
  • Choice Words: How Our Language Affects Children's Learning
  • Holding on to Good Ideas in a Time of Bad Ones: Six Literacy Principles Worth Fighting for
  • The English Teacher's Companion: A Complete Guide to Classroom, Curriculum, and the Profession
  • Mini-Lessons for Literature Circles
  • What Really Matters for Struggling Readers: Designing Research-Based Programs
  • The Power of Reading: Insights from the Research
  • Strategies That Work: Teaching Comprehension for Understanding and Engagement
  • Pathways to the Common Core: Accelerating Achievement
Deeper Reading: Comprehending Challenging Texts, 4-12 Write Like This Teaching Adolescent Writers Reading Reasons: Motivational Mini-Lessons for Middle and High School In the Best Interest of Students: Staying True to What Works in the ELA Classroom

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“...Shouldn't schools be the place where students interact with interesting books? Shouldn't the faculty have an ongoing laser-like commitment to put good books in our students' hands? Shouldn't this be a front-burner issue at all times?” 21 likes
“I am not simply teaching the reading; I am teaching the reader.” 13 likes
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