August 3, 2009

I just found out about a new book (that I haven’t read yet), Readicide  How Schools Are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It, by Kelly Gallagher.  The publisher’s site (Stenhouse) says it very well:

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

“Reading is dying in our schools. Educators are familiar with many of the factors that have contributed to the decline — poverty, second-language issues, and the ever-expanding choices of electronic entertainment. In this provocative new book, Kelly Gallagher suggests, however, that it is time to recognize a new and significant contributor to the death of reading: our schools.

“In Readicide, Kelly argues that American schools are actively (though unwittingly) furthering the decline of reading. Specifically, he contends that the standard instructional practices used in most schools are killing reading by:

  • valuing the development of test-takers over the development of lifelong readers;
  • mandating breadth over depth in instruction;
  • requiring students to read difficult texts without proper instructional support;
  • insisting that students focus solely on academic texts;
  • drowning great books with sticky notes, double-entry journals, and marginalia;
  • ignoring the importance of developing recreational reading;
  • and losing sight of authentic instruction in the shadow of political pressures.”

I tutored my way through much of my college career, and I found that it was very hard NOT to teach someone to read.  It takes work.  With a little bit of time and commitment, all of my students learned to read or improved their ability to read.

Readicide doesn’t happen at Delphi, but I’ve visited enough students and schools for many years to know that it does exist and this excerpt is an accurate summary of the way it is  The NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) Reports verify the problem of student illiteracy, and adult illiteracy is also well-documented.

Descartes said “The reading of all good books is like conversation with the finest men of the past centuries.”

Abraham Lincoln said “A capacity and taste for reading gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others.”

Frederick Douglass said “Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”

Let’s stop the Readicide!  Let’s stop it now!  Let’s free the people!


Posted by Mr. Mark Siegel on Monday August 3, 2009 at 01:57PM

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