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

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  5,536 ratings  ·  920 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
Paperback, 160 pages
Published February 2nd 2009 by Stenhouse Publishers
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Riku Sayuj
Sep 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: r-r-rs
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
Jan 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Eric Rasmussen
Nov 06, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Tamoghna Biswas
Dec 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Tamoghna by: Debbie
Shelves: non-fiction
The Overteaching of Books Prevents Our Students from Experiencing the Place Where All Serious Readers Want to Be—The Reading Flow

Kelly Gallagher, under such a ‘staggering title’, has definitely fabricated a significant one-of-a-kind work; however, if I’m being entirely truthful I did find shades of M.J.Adler’s works quite a few times, whenever the book tried to focus on the core matter of the book, rather than the political issues which it addresses quite more than needed, perhaps. Neverth
Nov 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 22, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Laura Leaney
Jul 09, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Aug 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: work
If you want children, people in general, to read more, you should read this. While some of the information is dated (the book was published in 2007), the STATS aren't that much better, they might be worse. ...more
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
Jun 20, 2011 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
Mar 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Feb 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 Mueller
Jun 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-for-work
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
Sarah M.
Jan 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: teaching, 2016
I've been meaning to read this for a while. Though written a number of years ago, this book is still so relevant to our efforts to help students to become readers. I LOVE the recipe for readicide:

The Kill-a-Reader Casserole
Take one large novel. dice into as many pieces as possible.
Douse with sticky notes.
Remove book from oven every five minutes and insert worksheets.
Add more sticky notes.
Baste until novel is unrecognizable, far beyond well don.
Serve in choppy, bite-size chunks. (p. 73)

This reall
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was published nine years ago, and it is as relevant today as it was then. Unfortunately, I think it is even MORE relevant today as more and more curriculum adopts teaching to the test and provides students with excerpts and skills and discrete questions to further sap any love of reading we might hope our students to have. Our students are expected to work on computers, not with paper text, nor are they given entire articles, but read piecemeal disparate excerpts that somehow connect b ...more
Lars Guthrie
Feb 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Samantha Jayne
Dec 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love read Gallagher. He’s honest about what we face as teachers, yet has practical suggestions.

I’m always motivated and refreshed after reading his books, and this one was no exception. Although “outdated” at this point - the information hasn’t really changed which makes his message just as important: the craft of teaching is to foster the love of learning as well as teach.
Oct 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
THIS IS PURE GOLD. Kelly Gallagher brings down some serious truth bombs in this quick read and I’m forever changed by it. This is a MUST read for educators and administrators— as well as parents. His no nonsense approach to what is happening inside schools that is killing readers is spot on and it needs to end now.
Aug 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
Jan 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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 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
Jan 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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 ...more
Nov 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: education
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
Chesley Jones Nichols
Apr 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: for-school
Every teacher/future teacher/general person who comes into contact with a child should read this book. This book not only brought up very real problems with America's education system, it provided in-classroom solutions that have worked for the real life, actual TEACHER who wrote the book. I read this for an education class at UGA and I was absolutely enthralled with the story-telling and the message of the book. Members of the "book club" I was reading this with said they actually cried while g ...more
Diane Reed
Jul 23, 2012 rated it it was ok
I was a disappointed in the "what you can do about it" part of this title. I felt it was more of a rant about what is wrong in the education system today (and there is plenty). The data to support this could have made a great article, but was repeated over and over again to fill a book. What I could do as a teacher to support my students was best displayed in a single chart in the last chapter. I agree with a lot that Mr. Gallagher had to say, but didn't find the read very inspiring. ...more
The Rudie Librarian (Brian)
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was a required reading for our district's Summer Reading Club Professional Development. After seeing Kelly Gallagher for the first time at a conference a few weeks ago, I was even more excited to read this book.

I feel like this should be mandatory reading not just for every English Language Arts teacher, but for every reader. The statements it is making about reading are that powerful and that important.

I highly recommend this book.
Shayne Bauer
Jun 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
A great book for English teachers. Gallagher gives us permission to "underteach" the classics. We don't have to cover every single technique on every single page. We should let students explore and make connections on their own. Now that's refreshing! ...more
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