Saturday, May 28, 2011

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

Read-i-cide n: The systematic killing of the love of reading, often exacerbated by the inane, mind-numbing practices found in schools.   

Whether you agree with his arguments or not, Kelly Gallagher wrote this book and made his arguments for all the right reasons: schools ARE killing reading and he wants to be part of the solution rather than the problem.

Let me see a show of hands: how many people reading this blog 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.

Readicide: How Schools Are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It by Kelly Gallagher
Published: May 2009 by Stenhouse Publishers
Pages: 150
Genre: Nonfiction
Audience: Teachers


  1. I love Kelly Gallagher. I am totally going to by this book and I will check out The Book Whisperer.

    Do you have a link to amazon so you can get a commission??

    Have you read some of Gallagher's other books. I would love to see him speak sometime.

  2. I do not get an Amazon commission. I've never been contacted by Amazon for that.

    I loved The Book Whisperer. That is probably the most inspiring teaching book I've ever read!

    I haven't read any of Gallagher's other books, but I will definitely check them out after reading Readicide.

  3. Readicide was sooo eye-opening for me. I will definitely go seek out The Book Whisperer now.