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

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

Chapter 1- The Elephant in the Room (pg. 7)

A Vicious Cycle (pg. 21)

As a teacher I’ve always had an intuition that the high-stakes testing wasn’t best for students or education but I couldn’t articulate exactly why.  Readicide is providing some concrete ideas.  For example, the Paige Paradox and WYTIWYG.  In my mind these processes explain why the standards/testing movement is simply continuing to escalate in pressure but not results.  There were no gains in reading from 5 years of NCLB.  I also never realized how ironic it is that in trying to increase reading proficiency that we are taking away reading from the students.  In regards to all of this I agree that we have definitely “lost our way” (pg. 23).

What Can You Do to Prevent Readicide (pg. 24)
“A terrible price is paid when schools value the development of test-takers more than they value the development of readers” (pg. 26).

Chapter 2- Endangered Minds (pg. 27)

This chapter continues to emphasize how the most struggling of readers need to be reading the most.  Yet what the school is doing about this issue may never even come up during staff meetings.  

How do we get them to read then?
“…they need to be immersed in a pool of high-interest reading material. (pg. 30).
“Readers who are undernourished need good books.  Lots of them.  Instead, what do many undernourished readers get?  They are often placed in remedial classes where the pace is slowed and where the reading focus moved away from books to a steady diet of small chunks of reading.  In an effort to “help” prepare them for reading tests, we starve readers. (pg. 32-33).

“…schools are reluctant to commit to the goal of building prior knowledge:” (pg.34).  

Wouldn’t science be background knowledge?

There is a strong correlation between those who read more and their standardized reading test scores.  see pg. 35

“Students who read the most for fun scored the highest on standardized reading test:” (pg. 35).

“Reading tests don’t just measure a student’s understanding of the words on the page; they also largely measure what a student brings to the page.” (pg. 36)  “If we are serious about building strong readers, we need to be serious about building strong knowledge foundations in our students” (pg. 38).

Today’s students seem to “…know a lot, but they understand little” (pg. 39).

“Outside of school, many of our students are not partaking in those critical activities that stretch and deepen their brains.  Instead, they often gravitate to those behaviors that offer instant gratification.  As a result, Healy notes, many children are literally starving the lobes of the prefrontal cortex of their brains….” (pg. 39).

“When we deny students the opportunity to read long, complex works, we are starving a part of their brains, and we start producing kids like the students in my class who can read but who cannot get below the surface of what they read” (pg. 40). 

“…in today’s schools, students are not allowed to sit and think”  (pg. 40).

SSR is actually a valuable investment in test preparation.  In The Power of Reading: Insights from the Research, Stephen Krashen (1993b) notes:

*In 38 of 41 studies, students given free voluntary reading (FVR) time did as well as or better in reading comprehension tests than students given traditional skill-based reading instruction (2). 

*Reading is too complex to learn one rule at a time (14)” (pg. 42). 

“SSR is necessary to allow students an opportunity to build their prior knowledge and background.” (pg. 43)

“…struggling readers who do not read voraciously will never catch up” (pg. 43). 

What You Can Do to Prevent Readicide (pg. 45)

“…making sure every student has a book to take home to read is the single most important issue in our quest to develop young readers” (pg. 46). 

Be the “discussion director” on your campus (pg. 51)

“To bolster your argument, it is helpful to share research” (pg. 51). 

Establish a book flood zone (pg. 52)

“Establishing a book flood is probably the single most important thing I have done in my teaching career” (pg. 53). 

“Raising your faculty’s awareness of this problem is the first step in addressing the lack of reading occurring on campus” (pg. 58).  

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