I'm Reading: Readicide

I'm reading: Readicide: How Schools Are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It

By: Kelly Gallagher (2009)

I just finished Readicide and am very excited to recommend it to EnjoyReading's followers and supporters. Readicide is a concise, well-written book about the policies behind what teacher/author Kelly Gallagher calls "readicide" -- the killing off of reader's in America's current classrooms.

Gallagher cites current research and statistics that alarm me, and really emphasize the importance of EnjoyReading's mission. Here are a few quick facts, all backed up by research in the book, that I'd like to share with you:

  • In an attempt to raise reading scores, school districts across the country are removing books from kids.
  • In DC, African American students are, on average, four years behind their white peers in reading. Low-income and low performing students pay the biggest price.
  • Struggling readers receive a test-prep curriculum, less access to interesting academic and recreational reading materials, and less time to read extensively.
  • Low performing schools cut the arts, social studies and science to make room for test-prep reading curriculum, removing invaluable opportunities for students to build background knowledge -- a key component of reading proficiency.

Gallagher's book is not all doom and gloom, though. He knows that students who spend more time reading for pleasure score higher on standardized reading assessments, and he gives educators practical ways to make sure our students are immersed daily in a "flood of good books."

Readicide made me proud to know EnjoyReading is working to combat the policies that are taking books away from our kids, and killing off readers in our schools. EnjoyReading fully believes that "putting good books in front of our students" (Gallagher, 30) should be every educator's mission, particularly those educating the lowest performing readers.

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