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

Readicide by Kelly Gallagher
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's review
Oct 16, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: teaching, non-fiction, src-spring-2012, kindle
Recommended for: All language teachers
Read from March 01 to 02, 2012 — I own a copy , read count: 1

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 under-teaching books/reading, in particular, and I really like how he specifies the entire range of reading materials children should be exposed to, from challenging texts (that are a shade too difficult for them) to high-interest novels, from non-fiction texts (e.g. newspaper articles) to fiction texts. I firmly believe that students must have a lively curiosity about all written texts, and cultivate the ability to read anything, even if they may have a preference for a particular kind of writing or genre. Most importantly, Gallagher asks teachers to stop being so hung up on a) pushing books that they think are 'ought-to-reads' at the expense of high-interest novels; and b) being disappointed when children don't 'like' the books we give them, especially classics. (Really, why must they 'like' everything? I don't particularly like Animal Farm, truth be told, but I recognise its significance and why we should read it - and students should too.)

Gallagher also addresses 'readicide' at different stages of students' lives - particularly the age 10-14 stage - which is very much aligned to what is happening in Singapore as well. He says that Sustained Silent Reading will help increase test scores as well as give students time and space to explore their interest in reading (which is very important if they have no time, inclination or a suitable environment in which to do so at home). And we should bring libraries to students (bring books to class) rather than bring them to the library occasionally to wander aimlessly around the stacks. (Epiphany: no wonder those library trips didn't work...)

I urge language teachers to read this. The pages fly by, and if you've not read anything about reading in school before, this might change your own mindset about how much we should prioritise it.
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Comments (showing 1-3)

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Anne  (Booklady) Molinarolo Kids now a days don't have language skills that my generation had in middle and high school, because many teachers here in the US don't challenge them. Quite honestly, I did not appreciate writers like Hemingway, Fitzgerald. Carol Oates, Ayn Rand, and many others until I was in my late 20s or early 30s.
Reading good books in any genre has kept my intellect sharp and my imagination alive!

mstan Anne, I totally agree with you on the benefits of reading. (Realistically) high expectations should be maintained for our students; once expectations are lowered because the gap between reality and our target is perceived to be insurmountable, we lose so much and just succumb to accepting low standards.

message 1: by Erik (new)

Erik As a teacher, I agree that too many parents / administrators get hung up on reading classics. Many of which, if stripped of their classic status, frankly aren't very good or well-written if judged by modern standards.

Whenever I assign books for personal reads, I always shoot for something which I believe my students will ENJOY reading. Seems incredibly obvious to me. But then I think many of the people in charge of reading curriculum aren't good readers themselves and so just assign a bunch of dry nonsense, neither enjoyable to read nor applicable to modern life.

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