Readicide (Review)

Book cover for "Readicide" by Kelly Gallagher.Title: Readicide: How Schools Are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It

Author: Kelly Gallagher

Publication Year: 2009

Pages: 150

Genre: Non-Fiction

Source: Borrowed from the library

At the beginning of this school year (back in September), I requested assistance from the school board’s central professional library. They sent me a few books about a month later, and I skimmed through them, but in generally they just didn’t look very useful. They were full of the same old thing – worksheets, etc. to use with students who are very minimally literate.

But, honestly? Kids who are minimally literate hate those worksheets. They struggle with their reading constantly, and then they’re given sheets that plain-out bore them to tears. I want to find something that actually works and fosters a love of reading in these kids. Just because they’re behind doesn’t mean that we have to sentence them to a life of always-being-behind!

That’s where I can really get behind Gallagher in Readicide: How Schools Are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It. He gives concrete proof that the focus of the American education system on “proficiency by 2014” and “No Child Left Behind” simply does not work. He cites research that shows that, in fact, it’s making it worse. He shows how standardized testing is killing students’ love of reading, depth of knowledge, and critical thinking skills.

I’ve seen many studies that have shown this before. However, this is the first work I’ve seen that really delves into the issues and suggests real-life strategies that teachers can use with their students. The Canadian education system is somewhat different than the American one that he uses for illustration, but many of the ideas are the same – we, too, are moving towards standardized testing and away from metacognition and simple enjoyment of reading (and the knowledge base that wide reading gives students).

Gallagher’s passion for the subject really shines through in this book. I would definitely recommend it for teachers, administrators, or really anyone who is interested in the declining literacy of our next generation (or how to stop it).


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