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I’ve been hearing about a fascinating new book by Kelly Gallagher titled “Readicide: How Schools Are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It.” Gallagher defines readicide as: “The systematic killing of the love of reading, often exacerbated by the inane, mind-numbing practices found in schools.” He outlines four factors that are primarily responsible for readicide:
* schools value the development of test takers more than the development of readers
* schools limit authentic reading experiences
* teachers are overteaching books
* teachers are underteaching books

According to book reviews, Gallaher’s assertions are grounded in research studies that point to giving our kids more authentic reading experiences and providing time for their own personal reading. I’m looking forward to following the Readicide “blog tour” (http://www.stenhouse.com/html/readicide.htm), and to reading the book.

With administrators who are enamored with data and uniform curriculum to improve reading scores, we as librarians continue to champion free recreational reading, changing the world one kid at a time…one book at a time. There is no “One Thing” that makes kids love to read, improve at reading, and want to read more. We have to pull together our own personal toolkit to try out on our students. What’s in your bag of tricks — reading aloud, acting out stories, comparing books to movies, telling stories, getting kids writing and drawing and talking about books, book clubs?


4 Responses

  1. Glad to see this issue addressed, both in the book and in your post. I’ve seen the trend from the other side — educational publishing. State school boards establish almost impossible standards (“introduce the concept of international trade at grade 2”). Combine that with the shortening of writing schedules and the paucity of good writers interested in education, and you end up with books (including those little readers that are supposed to help encourage reading) that are lame, dry, poorly written, and not likely to attract anyone’s interest, regardless of the subject. When working as an editor at one publisher, while being praised for the quality of my own writing, I was reprimanded for heavy editing, because “we don’t have the time to make it good, just correct.’ Sigh. But I’m glad to know that there is a “counter offensive” going on, and that people (teachers, parents, librarians) are working to get kids fired up — because reading is one of life’s great joys, not to mention one of the greatest “tools” one can possess for facing the world. So thanks for the post and the efforts to encourage reading.

  2. The book Readicide really dismisses school libraries/librarians – take a look at it. Seems what the author needs is a great school library with a just as wonderful school librarian! And I suppose the budget for both. I also blogged about it.

  3. There is a great VoiceThread discussion on the book Readicide available at http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/blog/1340000334.html#460039446- posted on Joyce Valneza’s blog.

  4. I forgot to send the link to my blog about Readicide – http://www.archipelagoblog.blogspot.com

    enjoy –

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