Nancy Jo Lambert's Reviews > Readicide: How Schools Are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It

Readicide by Kelly Gallagher
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May 25, 11

bookshelves: professional
Read from May 13 to 22, 2011

I think that every principal and curriculum person should read this book. The way that Kelly Gallagher explains readicide is brilliant. He sees what our systematic way of teaching novels and reading to kids is doing to their love of reading. By focusing on skills need to take state tests, we are also negatively impacting kids love of reading.

When he says, "These worksheets, quizzes, and literacy analyses might prove valuable in building test takers, but this focus on minutiae wrongly values the trivial at the expense of the meaningful. I am afraid the wisdom found in great books is getting drowned in the massive overemphasis of test preparation. When students read books solely through the lens of test preparation, they miss out on the opportunity to read books through the lens of life preparation (Gallagher p. 72)."

I like that he emphasizes that we can help struggling readers (never call them that where they can hear you) how to find the reading flow and help them become better readers by encouraging them to read more, not break down the reading skills they have with kill and drill.

When he says, "When you curl up with a book, do you do so with the idea of preparing for a state-mandated multiple-choice exam? Do you pause at the end of each chapter so you can spend an hour answering a worksheet filled with mind-numbing answers? Do you go to the library or bookstore to choose your next read so you can earn grades, candy, points, or trivial external rewards? DO you finish your book quickly so you will have more time to write a report, make a poster, or build a diorama?...as teachers we do all of these things to developing readers. We subject them repeatedly to treatments that are counterproductive to developing book lovers (Gallagher p.72-73)

His methods for teaching novels and including a more varied set of reading materials to kids is truly impactful. We need to include more genuine reading and real world material, not test prep passages.

When he explains, "...the real life value in reading literature is that it provides our students with imaginative rehearsals for the real world. It is imperative that we augment every novel our students read with real-world text that shows them that the book they are reading offers valuable insight into living productive lives (Gallagher p. 79).

This book echoes so much of what I wanted and tried to do in the classroom. It also validates what teachers and librarians can do in the and through the resources of the library. If I am ever a librarian at an elementary school or secondary school, I will do a teacher book club where we read this book and discuss it because I think it has so much value.

Thank you Kelly Gallagher for a wonderful contribution to my professional experience!
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Sherry Fabulous book.


message 2: by Julie (new) - added it

Julie This sounds very interesting. I've added it to my TBR list.


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