Are schools killing reading? According to Kelly Gallagher they are and I would have to agree!
For my last professional development book, I chose to read Readicide. I’m really big on reading because it expands the mind and pushes toward creativity. Schools are too focused on the “required” texts and shying away from the books that students would actually like to read. Kelly stated in his book that “many schools have removed novels and other longer challenging works to provide teachers and students with more test preparation time.” Really? Can we just forget about the tests for a minute?! I’m sorry but I don’t think the preparation results in good test scores. Reading does! Allowing the students to read challenging and engaging works results in better test scores! As teachers, we need to take a stand and get our students reading more!
If you are for reading and what reading has to offer our schools, I suggest you pick this book up and read it yourself! I have never read a book like this that was so enticing and accurate! Kelly Gallagher points out many things that schools are doing that kills reading for our students. They are:
- Test takers are valued more than lifelong readers
- instruct the extent of something rather than the depth of it
- assigning difficult readings without the proper instruction
- demand that academic texts should be their sole focus
- putting to much into a great book (i.e. notes and marginalia)
- ignoring the importance of enjoyment reading
- losing sight of real instruction due to politics
I would have to agree with every single one of these. The one I have the most trouble with is that we value test takers more than lifelong readers. I swear we are all about tests and scores and how those scores reflect upon the teachers and the students’ futures. Forget that for just a second! Remember that reading opens so many doors for students. Reading for enjoyment instead of academics is worth so much more than test scores that say nothing about the student! Seeing the look on a student’s face after they have just finished a book they were reading is priceless. Especially if they picked that book up themselves. They didn’t have anyone telling them to read it but they picked it up anyway. That is more important to me than some silly test score that says what kind of a student or teacher you are. If you can get a child to pick up a book without telling them to because they are actually excited to read it, then you’ve done your job.