Thursday, June 11, 2009

Book Review: Readicide

Kelly Gallagher's new book Readicide: How Schools are Killing Reading and What You Can Do about It is engaging, real-world, honest, and important. It's definitely written for secondary English teachers by a secondary English teacher, but I think that there are ideas and lessons that all secondary teachers can take away from this book.

I love this book because Gallagher is all about what's really happening in our schools where reading is concerned. He pulls together a huge array of resources, studies, quotations, and voices to comment on where our nation is headed in terms of "killing" any joy, interest, or ability students have in gained where reading is concerned. I am impressed at his candor about the problems he's witness and experienced in his own district and classroom, as well as his intriguing, interesting ideas for creating and maintaining a "flood" of reading in the secondary classroom. The student work he includes show real thought and excitement and --best of all-- it's authentic in a way that I've not seen in other professional texts.

Simply put, I am excited about some of the strategies I'm going to try out in my classroom and I was pleased to read positive comments about the strategies I already use in my teaching. I feel like I now have a renewed understanding and excitement about SSR and why I spend so much money on high-interest free reading selections for my students.

I would recommend this title to any teacher who is concerned about the state of reading, writing, and thinking among the US population (not just teens!) because Gallagher has some real suggestions on how we can improve the reading lives of those we teach.

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