- Paperback: 160 pages
- Publisher: Stenhouse Publishers; 1/16/09 edition (February 2, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1571107800
- ISBN-13: 978-1571107800
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 136 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,071 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Readicide: How Schools Are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It 1/16/09 Edition
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About the Author
Kelly, a "baseballoholic" and a self-described expert at negotiating airports, is in his 33rd year of teaching at the high school level.
He currently teaches at Magnolia High School in Anaheim, California.
He believes that "there is no greater pleasure than teaching someone something." Teaching is "artistic, it matters a great deal, and I can never get the job down perfectly."
Kelly thinks that professional development should treat teachers as such - professionals. "I know in the classroom that good things happen when my students have meaningful discussions. I know as a teacher myself that my craft sharpens when I am given the opportunity to have meaningful discussions with my peers. And let's have a laugh or two while we are at it."
Writing his six books for Stenhouse was a solitary experience. "Though I have written outlines prior to each of my books, I have yet to follow any of them step-by-step. That is why I find writing rewarding - because the act of writing itself generates new thinking, and new thinking is always exciting."
Top customer reviews
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I actually found that this book had little new new to tell me because I already agreed with all of its premises and fixing practices. I kept waiting for a page to jump up and punch me in the face with a new, whiz-bang method for teaching novels. It never happened. I will certainly use the book to refine my current methods, but that’s all. I feel like I have a pretty good grasp of what’s going on. I have no doubt that there are many English teachers who desperately need to read this book, but I was just along for the ride.
Let me end by telling you about some of the best methods Gallagher presents.
The Book Flood: surrounding students with high interest books (that I would argue must also have been read by the teacher). Gallagher argues that it is a mistake to think that students will ever go to the library to find the high interest books there (or not there), but that the teacher needs to foist good, high interest books on to the student. Gallagher says that he has over 2,000 books in his room. I’ve only got 500, but I’m gettin’ there.
Framing a Book: Previewing the text, discussion of the author and historical context, discussion of the value of the book, and, often, the essay test question at the very beginning of the unit.
“Big Chunk/Little Chunk” Philosophy: After framing a novel, assign students to read large chunks of the book on their own (with a guiding idea to look for) so that they can practice and enjoy just reading. Then, the next day, have a passage or two for students, as a class, to look at and analyze to death with highlights, annotations, sticky notes and such.
I’ll definitely keep this book on my shelf, if, for no other reason, than to pull out as proof when someone suggests anything that would lead to more readicide.
Let me see a show of hands: how many people reading this review right now used to love reading, but had that love squashed from the ridiculous amount of analysis and minutiae of their high school English lit class? *raises hand* I don't want to criticize my high school English teachers because I truly did have some wonderfully inspiring ones, but there's something these teachers forgot to include in their curriculum which would have helped me and my classmates tremendously: time for recreational reading. And as such, I spent four years of my life reading difficult texts I wasn't ready for and completely lost my desire to read on my own (whereas in elementary school and junior high I used to DEVOUR books). I didn't get that desire back until about two years after college when I actually had the time and inclination to get back on the horse and start reading the books that I wanted to.
In this book Gallagher makes the case for a balance of recreational reading and academic reading and why we must provide time for students to read in school. He shows why students will experience readicide if you underteach or overteach a book, and what you need to do as a teacher to reach that "sweet spot" of instruction.
I highly recommend this book for any teacher who is drowning in a sea of worksheets and knows there is a better way, but just hasn't found it yet. This book along with Donalyn Miller's The Book Whisperer would be my suggestions for anyone needing to be inspired to teach reading that creates lifelong readers rather than book haters.
This would also be a great supplement for teachers who use a reading workshop approach but would like to slowly start adding more direct-instruction into your routine. Gallagher's balanced approach of 50% recreational reading and 50% academic reading gives great suggestions for how to teach those difficult texts without slaughtering them.