- Paperback: 248 pages
- Publisher: Stenhouse Publishers (February 9, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1625310447
- ISBN-13: 978-1625310446
- Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,083 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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In the Best Interest of Students: Staying True to What Works in the ELA Classroom
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Top Customer Reviews
Gallagher offers a wealth of writing strategies that he employs in his own classroom, as well as suggestions for how to build in more student choice in what is read, and how to balance whole class book study with other kinds of reading experiences. I appreciate that Gallagher dedicates an entire chapter to enhancing speaking and listening skills, components of language arts that are frequently neglected since they are not tested. I know that I will be referencing this book daily as I finish this school year, focusing on what is in the best interest of my students, rather than on the latest standards based mania.
Readicide was a revelation to me as I began teaching ultra-high risk, 18-25 year old drop outs in a gang-rehab charter school. How to make gang-bangers read--and love--Romeo and Juliet? Not as hard as one might think--if we don't kill it by over-teaching it. (My students still come into my class and say "I'm biting my thumb at you!").
This book, for teachers of all disciplines struggling with applying Common Core, is infinitely helpful. For English teachers, the exhortation is to go beyond the limitations of the standards. I like that about you, Mr. Gallagher.
1. THIS IS NOT A MANUAL OF SKILLS
This book is not a training manual full of random strategies. Rather, it is a book that critiques the CCSS while providing useful and EFFECTIVE tools that seek to address them and their shortcomings.
2. YOU MAY FEEL LIKE THE CHOIR ( but you'll enjoy the sermon)
Gallagher expresses many thoughts about the frustrations of education with which most teachers are familiar. These issues include the lack of literary study in the classroom, teaching to the test, and the pressure to cover ever more demanding curriculum. But here's the great part: Gallagher also provides an arsenal of arguments for teachers to use when confronting these issues with administration. Sure, your principal may say no to your increased use of literature,but at least you can actually fight the good fight with valid arguments and information.
3. THE STRATEGIES ARE EASY TO INTEGRATE
The proof is in the pudding (I'm using one now). As Gallagher moves through his examination of the CCSS he provides ample strategies that can be used to address said standards WITH EXAMPLES. I really enjoyed this approach. As I learned more about the standards, I also learned about simple strategies that I could integrate in my practice. Oh how I wish the powers-that-be had done just that when they rolled out these new standards instead of allowing us to stumble around in the dark for an entire year.
4. THE STRATEGIES WORK AND ENGAGE BY DESIGN
Gallagher has compiled a series of teaching strategies that are easy to teach and learn. For example, you probably already get the gist of this one. Just imagine modifying this for science or history topics once your students have done some reading and research. Most if not all of the strategies can be modified for different content areas. He includes strategies for all learning modalities addressed in the standards (reading, writing, listening, speaking, language) as is analysis progresses. And because he emphasizes modeling, all of the strategies come with models. In addition, the strategies seek to spark exploration in students. The activities suggested allow for choice and a more student centered classroom.
5. THE TITLE IS MISLEADING
The book's title emphasizes the "ELA Classroom" but the real focus is LITERACY. The principles in the book can be applied to all core subjects because it essentially addresses the literacy standards. With CCSS, literacy is the business of al core content areas, not just ELA. It would be an excellent introduction for those teachers just now entering the world of reading and writing instruction in content ares other than English. Here those teachers can find vital information about how to engage low readers and struggling writers. They can modify nearly all of the strategies. Lastly, they can understand how literacy is not confined the ELA.
6. THE READING IS JUST AS ENGAGING AS THE STRATEGIES
Kelly Gallagher is a great writer. Even I was tempted to skip all the blah-blah-blah to get to what I saw as the meat (the strategies). But I'm glad i started at the beginning. After the first page I reached for my pen, highlighter and post its. Each chapter was full of wonderful revelations about the standards and ways to approach them. DO THE READING. It is well worth it.