Readicide – How Schools Are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It by Kelly Gallagher

Who is this Al Qaeda Person?

  • Students who constantly prepare for tests do not build cultural literacy. They do not engage in authentic reading, high-interest reading or voluntary reading. You need prior knowledge to connect with the words you are reading. By limiting reading materials, we remove invaluable opportunities for students to widen and deepen their knowledge that is foundational to developing readers. In one study, students were asked to read a passage about baseball. Struggling readers who were knowledgeable about baseball outperformed strong readers who knew little about baseball. Students who are fed a steady diet of academic reading become sick of reading by 9th grade.

The Chop-Chop Curriculum

  • Gallagher sites a 122-page curriculum guide for “To Kill a Mockingbird” that features twenty detailed lessons that slice up the novel. If your students are taking several weeks to read a novel, readicide will most certainly occur. We tend to over-teach reading material as we fail to give students time to read in school. Gallagher recommends that we frame the text before students read it with a hands-on guided tour of the first half of the book. Half way through you can switch to the budget tour mode. Students should be able to read the second half with much less assistance. Books should provide students with imaginative rehearsals for the real world. Try to augment books with interesting articles related to the book’s theme.

Finding the Sweet Spot

  • This chapter talks about how to frame difficult reading for students without over teaching. With some texts, you can just let students go and read for recreation. Others require active teaching so that students can get past unfamiliar vocabulary and settings. The trick is finding the balance between too much teaching and not enough. Reading the first part aloud is one technique as is giving students a specific purpose for each assigned passage. Never assume that students have the tools. Provide strategies that good readers use, but not all at once.
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