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Reading Reasons: Motivational Mini-Lessons for Middle and High School

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  776 ratings  ·  76 reviews
"Why should I read?" Can your students answer that question? Do they have trouble seeing the importance that reading may have in their lives? Are they lacking motivation, both in academic and recreational reading? Do you think you can effectively teach reading strategies if students don't understand the benefits of literacy?

In Reading Reasons, Kelly Gallagher offers a seri
Paperback, 192 pages
Published January 1st 2003 by Stenhouse Publishers
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Jul 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing

Kelly Gallagher doesn't know it yet, but he's my boyfriend... Ha ha ha.

He's amazed me now with three books. Write Like This, Read-I-Cide, and now Reading Reasons.

He makes very valid points about how reading is beneficial to reluctant readers. He brings in 40 mini lessons to help validate these points, making reading a skill that will hopefully become something enjoyable and useful for students again.
Anna Sobotka
Jun 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
As a High School English teacher who is constantly struggling to encourage my students to read, this book has helped me re-frame the way I want to talk about reading with my students. It is practical and user friendly, and, most importantly, serves as a reminder that when humans don't feel personally connected to something, we aren't motivated to engage with it. Reading is the same. The only reason I didn't give it a 5 star rating is because many of the lesson examples are dated. The book also t ...more
Ashleigh Rose
Oct 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Though there is nothing earth-shattering about this book, I really like that Gallagher condenses the reading reasons into 9 (then, 10) broad reasons. The mini lessons are definitely helpful as a jumping-off point, though some of the charts or references (loved the "dimpled chads" shout-out) are dated at this point. I think an ideal practice might be the one that Gallagher engaged in, himself - empowering your students to create the broad "reading reasons" after helping them consider some specifi ...more
Angeline Theis
Jul 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really love how Gallagher demonstrates the real world importance of reading to his students. The section of mini lessons are practical and engaging.
Theresa M
Feb 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely magnificent! I love Kelly Gallagher!
Ethan Stallman
Jul 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: on-reading
So, this one leans more towards "it's okay" than "I liked it," but I'm still glad I read it. I like the idea of the book, even though I don't particularly agree with the author's ideas on teaching. It should be noted that this book is a little dated at this point, and the educational zeitgeist has changed quite a bit since it was written. However, I think the central idea is still relevant today: students need to be made aware of the benefits to them of picking up a book.

Most of this book is ac
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Actual rating: 3.5

I've said it once and I'll say it again: Kelly Gallagher is my teacher hero.

In this book, he offers 40 mini lessons along with guidance for building a successful reading program. A lot of this was a review of his other books, hence the low-ish rating.

As for the mini lessons, I'm excited to use many of them in my own middle school classes, but some of them, quite a few actually, are ones that I won't be using. Some have outdated statistics and I'm just not going to research up
Aug 28, 2017 rated it liked it
This book is not as good as Readicide but a good articulation of Gallagher's bare bones, no-nonsense English teaching philosophy. After opening with 10 reading reasons, he offers mini-lessons to reinforce these to students throughout the year. Most all of them are crucially focused on real-world connections and reading, but Gallagher's emphasis on reading for information, to make a better educated citizenry, and to get ahead academically offers a way into pleasure reading which is much more sati ...more
Nov 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Even though I LOVE to read, I have always been stuck when students ask me “what’s the point?” in class. I personally connect to the joy of reading, the shared experience a book brings, and the quiet reflection that occurs when I‘m engrossed in a book— but for students, none of those sink in. This book gave me a platform to start developing solid and concrete reading reasons. Some of the data and statistics are now outdated, but other than that this book is GOLD if you want to stop telling studen ...more
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: education, nonfiction
If you're looking for a book that can help give you actual lessons that will help you share with your students WHY we read and why it is so incredibly important to our lives - look no further. These are practical, quick mini-lessons about everything from appreciating first lines of texts to how to read nutritional labels, all feeding together into 10 well-defined reasons why we read, that all high schoolers should understand before graduating. ...more
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: other-nonfiction
I love Kelly Gallagher's books. They have been my go-to source for ELA strategies. This book could easily keep you going through the year with step-by-step mini-lessons already prepared for you. I've used them as warm-ups and even as station work at one point. The students loved the Reading Minutes in ways that I never expected and even begged to go again.

Definitely a must-have for my classroom.
Valerie Moody
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Excellent lessons to incorporate WHY students should read. Teachers often tell students they need to read but can't answer the question why and then provide solid facts and proof as to why students need to read well and often. This book incorporates 40 lessons that can be used weekly to prompt students to read using real life scenarios. I can't wait to use this in my classroom this year. ...more
May 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
This would have blown my mind when it came out, but now some of it is dated, and the best of it is no longer ground-breaking. Still worth skimming; Gallagher has always been a thoughtful and passionate teacher.
Jul 19, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Man, for how useful and relevant Teaching Adolescent Writers was, this book was it’s opposite. Many of the activities are obvious and lame, and the book seems to ignore the intersectionality in the lives of WHO our reluctant readers are and how they live. Disappointing.
Nolan Alber
Jan 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wonderful information, but many of the activities are unfortunately outdated as far as data goes. However, they are an excellent jumping off point for creating a desire for reading in students.
Aug 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
excellent resource...thank you!
Haley Lewis
Aug 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book had some great strategies and mini lessons. However, some of the resources are out of date.
Dec 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
I have not encountered a Kelly Gallagher book that I haven't enjoyed. The best part about all of his writing is its authenticity. Gallagher is not some administrator with six years of classroom experience acquired two decades ago, nor is he someone whose studied public school education at the university level; he is a real-life educator, in the trenches, current, not because of academic research but because of practical, hands-on experience. One of the major paradoxes of the education system is ...more
Mar 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Language Arts teachers
Recommended to Debbie by: Terri Harbort
As much of my day is spent trying to entice reluctant readers to read, I found this an enjoyable read. Many kids do respond to books in a more positive way once they understand why reading is so important.

Here are Gallagher's nine reasons to read:

1) Reading is rewarding.
2) Reading builds a mature vocabulary.
3) Reading makes you a better writer.
4) Reading is hard, and "hard" is necessary.
5) Reading makes you smarter.
6) Reading prepares you for the world of work.
7) Reading well is financially rewa
Erika  Forth
Mar 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Kelly Gallagher's book is full of well-thought out reasons why reading is crucial, and mini-lessons to support them. While I don't think I'll be using all of the mini-lessons in my class, I sticky noted a ton of them! Gallagher's writing is easy-to-read and full of humor - I laughed out loud many times. Besides the mini-lessons, he offer a discussion of why reading is crucial, as well as information about his own classroom and teaching habits, and a helpful appendix of books you need to have in ...more
Jul 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I devoured this entire text today and I am beyond thrilled that I picked it up as a resource!! Kelly Gallagher is incredibly knowledgable and I was pleasantly surprised to see how many of his beliefs and teaching mantras aligned with mine. I was also thrilled that he recommended a few pieces that I was already implementing within my classroom. It validated for me that I was teaching to the "right track".

This resource offers authentic field information and advice, mini lessons to back up all of G
I devoured this entire text today and I am beyond thrilled that I picked it up as a resource!! Kelly Gallagher is incredibly knowledgable and I was pleasantly surprised to see how many of his beliefs and teaching mantras aligned with mine. I was also thrilled that he recommended a few pieces that I was already implementing within my classroom. It validated for me that I was teaching to the "right track".

This resource offers authentic field information and advice, mini lessons to back up all of G
Renae Salisbury
Jul 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: teachers
Recommended to Renae by: Anna
I enjoyed this book for a variety of reasons: it addresses motivation through unique and practical ideas; it is a great read that pumps me up; and the Kelly Gallagher supports his points through research. Motivating students in a postive way is such a challenge for teachers - to the point that we often resort to rewards that extrinsically motivate. This author shares 9 reasons that it's important to be a reader with the expectation that motivation will grow instrinsically. He explictly shares th ...more
May 27, 2010 rated it liked it
I think Kelly Gallagher is great--but I've liked his other books a little bit better. Not because this one isn't good and practical, but maybe because it would be more practical if I still had public school students to teach. I think teachers in the classroom would REALLY like the book because, after two short chapters that set up the concepts and rationale for the book, the rest of the book is a series of mini-lessons to help students understand why they should read. And motivating students to ...more
Sep 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
Starts with Gallagher's Nine Reading Reasons, which are good enough for me.

1. Reading is rewarding.
2. Reading builds a mature vocabulary.
3. Reading makes you a better writer.
4. Reading is hard, and “hard” is necessary.
5. Reading makes you smarter.
6. Reading prepares you for the world of work.
7. Reading well is financially rewarding.
8. Reading opens the door to college and beyond.
9. Reading arms you against oppression.

and later he adds: 10. Reading helps develop your moral compass.

Also, a few g
Jul 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book has been on my shelf for a few years now, and I finally just put it to use during summer school. Man, I wish I had put it to use earlier! By day two my students felt cheated if our SSR time got cut short and were in the library with book choices stacked all around them, disappointed that they had to narrow their selections down to four. Mind you these are students who had to take this extra class because they failed Language Arts, Science or Social Studies and did not consider themselv ...more
Cindy Jacobsen
I bought this book because I love his classroom literacy suggestions and looked forward to seeing what kind of mini-lessons he'd developed to motivate students to read. I was not disappointed and, in fact, stopped frequently to move to my computer and create classroom materials to use with my sixth/seventh graders this year. Even though some of the material is a tad dated (statistical information dated 1999/2000), it can easily be updated with a little searching. The best part is he gives 10 rea ...more
Jenny O
Jun 30, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: ELA teachers
Shelves: school-stuff
This book saves me a lot of work. Trying to explain the value of reading to a bunch of seventh graders in a thoughtful, organized, engaging fashion takes a lot of energy. This book gives thirteen reasons to read (my favorite: reading is hard, and hard is necessary) along with short little lessons for each one. Some of the lessons I can use straight out of the book, but I also like how the lessons can be a jumping off point so you can add your own twist. This book helps me stay excited about figh ...more
Laura (booksnob)
Mar 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: middle and high school teachers
Recommended to Laura (booksnob) by: Suzie
Shelves: thesis
This is a very readable, inspiring book of lessons and ideas to use in the classroom to get students reading. It has valid reasons and real-life situations that students would be interested in. Great ideas for monthly bulletin boards too. He also provides valid reasons for having a good classroom library and a comprehensive list of where to start. I love the quotes. This author has greatly inspired me to be better at teaching reading.
Aug 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
I read Reading Reasons about 6 years ago and never actually got to implement his ideas in my classroom until last year. That's when I finally moved to middle school, which is perfect age audience for the Reading Reasons. His book offers 40 good reasons WHY it is important to read...not just the reasons but each one comes with a 5-20 minute mini-lesson to share with kids that make it fun, interesting, and memorable. Excellent way to start reading class once a week! ...more
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