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Cover image from goodreads.com

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 book, Kelly Gallagher suggests, however, that it is time to recognize a new and significant contributor to the death of reading: our schools.

In ReadicideKelly argues that American schools are actively (though unwittingly) furthering the decline of reading. Specifically, he contends that the standard instructional practices used in most schools are killing reading by:
·         valuing the development of test-takers over the development of lifelong readers;
·         mandating breadth over depth in instruction;
·         requiring students to read difficult texts without proper instructional support;
·         insisting that students focus solely on academic texts;
·         drowning great books with sticky notes, double-entry journals, and marginalia;
·         ignoring the importance of developing recreational reading; and
·         losing sight of authentic instruction in the shadow of political pressures.

Kelly doesn’t settle for only identifying the problems. Readicide provides teachers, literacy coaches, and administrators with specific steps to reverse the downward spiral in reading—steps that will help prevent the loss of another generation of readers.

(Book synopsis from goodreads.com)

Readicide by Kelly Gallagher is obviously not one of the books that I read for my book club. 🙂 Instead, I saw this book on one of the publisher tables at the SCIRA conference I went to at the end of June. I was intrigued by the cover of the book when I saw the words “How Schools are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It.” As an English teacher I myself have noticed a decline in students reading at the high school level. I know that I am not alone in seeing this decline and I would like to see how to renew the interest in reading; not just books but magazines, comics, blogs, any type of writing that is out there. It’s also important to realize that while technology and video games have created distractions for our students, they alone are not to blame.

And while I realize that Readicide was not created to be the complete solution to this problem altogether, however I was hoping to have a little more guidance as to how to start developing more interest in reading for my students. Instead, Readicide continued to bring up the problems that we are seeing in education and in the classroom that teachers and administrators are seeing across the country. However, instead of giving solutions to all of these problems, Gallagher simply stated that he was not allowing these things to continue in his classroom. I would have liked to have seen more specific examples from Gallagher so I could try similar solutions in my classroom, or at least have a jumping-off point.

While Gallagher did bring up many good points as to the things that we see “killing” the desire to read, I keep coming back to the point that I would have liked to have seen more suggestions to how we can combat these things in our classrooms. There are suggestions by Gallagher to bring a “50/50” approach to reading in the classroom, which again he says he does, but I would have liked to see how he introduced this approach to his students and how he was able to get them to become active and participating readers again. However, I did find the appendices at the back of the book to be helpful and they have given me some great ideas for this coming school year.

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