Ü Readicide: How Schools Are Killing Reading and What You Can Do about It õ Download by É Kelly Gallagher read I Ciden The Systematic Killing Of The Love Of Reading, Often Exacerbated By The Inane, Mind Numbing Practices Found In SchoolsReading 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 InReadicide, Kelly 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 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 long readers Gallagher contends that this is losing us both a generation of readers, and America s creative edge.
He cites ways the system schools, teachers, politicians, administrators you get the idea are all unintentionally involved in turning kids away from reading I agree with 95% of what he s saying A lot of it is common sense, stuff I already do A lot of it I ll steal from him and pawn off as my own ideas to my colleagues The 5% that I disagreed with though, I REALLY disagreed with I was so ticked it tainted the rest of the book including his good ideas, which is kindof sad I wrote notes in the margins though where he was either lying or ignorant That way when the next library patron checks it out they ll be aware Or else they ll show it to the librarian and I ll get my card revoked or something.
The point I agree with most whole heartedly We can t focus on academic texts only We have to focus on recreational reading as well I think I do a pretty good job with this I may have a slight advantage I m not officially a Language Arts teacher Don t kid yourself though, we re all Language Arts teachers That s the thing, I m not assigning book reading for credit I don t do it for extra credit We ll discuss the books they re reading in LA, and I ll talk them up but as a non LA teacher I can focus on fun reading.
Gallagher talks about over teaching books and under teaching books He talks about chopping them apart so much that the students aren t even actually reading books anyat all.
He talks about how to model and how to teach reading All of this is advice worth listening to and worth asking your library to buy the book for you But I want to vent, so let me offer a few of my own thoughts for when you read reread it.
I know there are a lot of AR haters out there Gallagher is right there with you belittling the program and spouting off crappy lies about it I think he should have focused on how the program is implemented, rather than the program itself.
Some of the things from his list of problems with AR pg 74 Students can only read books found on the AR list If a good book is not on the list, students are not allowed to read it BZZZZT Wrong Schools enrolled in the program can make a quiz for books not found in the AR data base Students choose books for high point value, rather than for their level of interest BZZZZT Wrong again I suppose if AR is implemented incorrectly then that would be the case, but if the teachers focus on using the quizzes as an accountability measure, encourage high interest reading, and devalue the rewards this would not be so The reward system sends the message that the reason students should read is not to enjoy reading but to earn points Students are taught to read for the wrong reasons hmmmm Well, honestly I ve struggled with this one quite a bit I don t want the external reward to be the only reason my kids are reading, so I ve had to fight against that happening I feel like I ve overcome this obstacle by letting my students know that I really don t care about the points as much as I care about them reading The points are good, and fun, and maybe we ll win the school wide competition but who cares We ll do our own thing anyway The most important thing is that they re reading, and that they re reading something they want to read.
Blah blach blech blah blah I m sure his accountability measure a one pager with an academic honesty seriously, I don t know if anyone has told him that sometimes junior highers and high schoolers aren t academically honest signature is better than the AR quiz, but I highly doubt it Besides, with AR my students can be accountable with a TONbooks than his unless he has limitless time to grade all those fantastic one pagers It was a good book, but I could have done without, What will beimportant twenty years from now, that we have produced adults who remain avid readers Or that we have produced adults who were once able to climb from level 3 to level 4 in a junior high school reading program Look douche, I could just as easily ask, What will beimportant that we have produced adults who remain avid readers Or that we have produced adults who learned how to sign a lie on their academic honesty line In this section he also contends that students don t fake read during SSR Maybe he should pay closer attention to his students.
And throwing around little platitudes like, I m a teacher, not an assigner gets old really fast Like I said before, you re probably both a teacher, an assigner, and when you throw out stuff like that a little bit of a douche.
There s just too much to like and dislike Another like, stop demonizing other media he quotes from Strauss, Don t make computers and TV and movies the bad guy Those things aren t going to go away I think we did ourselves a disservice in the past by saying TV is bad, reading is good It s not that cut and dried If it hadn t been for the AR section I would have loved the whole thing.
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 his philosophy is essentially, Do what good readers do, and you will become a good reader I think that s flawed logic It s easy for English teachers to forget that non English teachers may not share our interest in or aptitude for reading At one point, he uses a swimming metaphor to discuss access to books we would never expect kids to learn to swim without giving them access to a pool, so how can we expect kids to learn to read without giving them access to books and time to read I agree, but there are still plenty of people that, with unlimited pool access, will not find a value or enjoyment of swimming The same is true with reading I felt Readicide failed to address how to cultivate that value other than surrounding a kid with books and appropriate teaching of books and hoping it happens For some it does For many it does not.
The other issue I had stems from the same English centricity idea I have a real problem when people argue for the necessity of the classics I completely and totally agree that students need practice with difficult reading, and for that reason I populate my classroom with plenty of canonical classics However, his theory that every classic can be valuable to every student if only they are taught right is ridiculous Again, that s easy for an English teacher say, as they have generally found that value People have different tastes, values, and ideals, and defending books that kids can t connect with like Gallagher only widens the gap between English teachers and the creation of readers.
Of the people on this website, who loves reading because of a book assigned in school Don t readers need to find the value of reading on their own, to have any ownership of it Again, there was a lot of great points in Readicide, but, obviously, a few things that really irked me as well Definitely worth a read by any English teacher.
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 with the Bush administration s No Child Left Behind, and it has been intensified under the Obama administration s Race to the Top The tests have been shown to narrow curriculum, to divert school funds in order to hire how to pass the test consultants, and the tests divert significant time from instruction as well Now, Americans seem to be getting ready to expand the tests so that every subject and every grade is given a high stakes test What s the worst that can happen Update it seems that New York is planning to have students write 35 tests per year now, and some worry that American education still hasn t hit bottom Gallagher explains that English teachers are currently evaluated by tests, schools that fail to improve their test scores are shut down, so teachers, naturally and officially, at least correctly, teach to the test Unfortunately, the tests do not seem to be accurately measuring reading ability, which is quite sad when you consider how many people are losing their jobs because of them not to mention the students whose love of reading has died as a result of these tests Regardless of how effective the tests measure ability, it is uncommon for teach to the test instruction to inspire a love of reading.
So what does Gallagher propose Gallagher offers quite a few ideas, but here are some that might seem especially provocative Gallagher takes a middle ground in the classics vs high interest reading debate when he calls for a 50 50 approach Basically, students are required to read classics as well as high interest novels, putting him at odds with Harold Bloom and the rigor group, as well as Nancy Atwell and her followers In terms of skill based instruction, Gallagher likes to see students mark the text during a second draft reading, but he doesn t like to see annotation and other skills take priority over actually reading the book Gallagher strongly cautions teachers against obsessively planning their instruction of novels as well, which will put him at odds with the principals and parents that like to see clear cut, predictable, and very traditional chapter questions for their kids to answer Gallagher calls on teachers to frame the subject and theme of the novel during the early stages of reading, but then advocates that teachers be mindful of allowing students to get to experience reading flow He calls for students to be given access to high interest books and the time to read free voluntary reading, or sustained silent reading For people not in the industry, all of these ideas are somewhat controversial, and in a few cases quite a lot of money is riding on what policy makers decide to do Readicide is clearly argued, though I was not always convinced It s not at all uncommon to see people mix correlation and causation when discussing education, and Gallagher is no exception When he does this, he is very likely to rely on anecdotal evidence and good ole common sense arguments to support his stands His entire premise, that high school graduates read less than they used to primarily because of educational practices as opposed to technological change felt a little shaky to me Also, I found some of his analogies especially folksy, particularly the sweet spot of reading instruction.
On the other hand, many of his ideas are good I particularly liked the topic flood I also sympathized with Gallagher s concerns Like him, I am a fan of free voluntary reading, have seen it produce the this is the first book I ever read Can I have another statement, and was sad to read that it has been so hastily dismissed in order to spendtime preparing students for tests.
I would recommend Readicide to educators, parents, and policy makers, though I do strongly dislike its title Having said that, I m quite happy to adopt many of Gallagher s suggestions.
If you want children, people in general, to read , 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.
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 kills a love for reading I doubt anyone would disagree I mean have you seen the boring crap they make students read on those exams Good God How long could an ordinary sane person spend on multiple choice questions And yes, the schools that have removed long works and novels from their curricula in the interest of state test preparedness are damaging their children These kids will never be life long readers And yes, teachers are also to blame We under teach a book, we over teach a book, we sometimes do it all wrong so that students either have no idea what s going on and mentally decamp or we ve forced them to use a case of post it notes to espy theme, point of view, imagery, symbolism, pathetic fallacy, metaphor, tone, and.
you get the picture Arghhhh Has anyone heard of Teachercide But here s the thing Gallagher teaches the long complex works by, yep, you guessed it starting and stopping He calls it Big Chunk Little Chunk Any teacher who requires his or her students to close read a text is familiar with this basic strategy of good teaching Allow your students to read a big chunk of text, say 100 pages of Crime and Punishment, then go back and have them annotate a small but significant portion of it A decent teacher will choose just the right piece Something critical Something rich and lovely that they can get their teeth into Every teacher I know does this And I don t know a single teacher that will use all of the 150 Strategies for Teaching Taming of the Shrew and force their students into a 6 week Shakespeare meltdown Geez.
And if you can t get books Gallagher recommends going up the chain of command and then if you still can t get them Quit Yes, that s right Because it s just not worth teaching in a District that does not support reading Are you KIDDING Fuck the mortgage I guess Sorry, honey.
On apositive note, I like how he emphasizes the necessity for recreational reading that young readers need to experience the flow of losing themselves in the pages Not a lot of time is spent on this section, except to extol required recreational reading for a grade and silent sustained reading in class.
Much better books to read on this include Senechal s Republic of Noise and Diane Ravitch s latest on The Death and Life of the Great American School System.
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 your students to enjoy something Allow that reading makes readers, and skill drills make resistance Stop complicating a rather simple process.
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 .
Once I got past that though, I felt he had some really useful methods of assisting students in understanding difficult texts I particularly liked his idea of bringing in current articles that address the theme of a book prior to the students reading the book.
I also agreed with his statement that the point is not that all the students like a particular book The point is that they get something from it.
And the one exception I mentioned is he believes that the students should not be expected to use the library He thinks the books should be available primarily in the classroom As a school librarian, I agree that all classes should have a well stocked library However, there is no way a classroom can encompass the thousands of books that the library can offer.
Perhaps the students won t be bothered to come to the library to check out books on their ownso bring them Give them time in the library to browse and read That is the point after all.
Okay, rant over.
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 half of the book explores how teachers overteach books by beating them into the ground and underteach books by failing to prepare students to tackle difficult concepts These two chapters made me think a lot about what I believe and how I approach books with my students A definite must read for all reading teachers no matter what grade level I will be posting a link on my blog where teachers can read the book online for free this week 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, their vocab and writing is smoother andprecise, and we have become a team because of the shared experience of reading every week I plan on using this book as evidence when I am questioned about my unique take on SAT Thank you, Mr Gallagher.