Readicide by Kelly Gallagher

When I first sat down to read Readicide: How Schools Are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It by Kelly Gallagher, I was afraid I would have a hard time getting through it. Not because of the content, but because the book is currently availabe online for review and I hate reading longer works on the computer.  (I may gravitate toward 21st century literacies, but reading on the computer is where I usually draw the line!)  Well, I had nothing to worry about- once I began reading I could not stop.  Kelly Gallagher has written a book that EVERY teacher, administrator, and parent MUST read.  I have seen firsthand how schools are killing reading, and Kelly presents situations I see everyday with the studies and research to back it all up!

Kelly Gallagher defines readicide as “the systematic killing of the love of reading, often exacerbated by the inane, mind-numbing practices found in schools.” He outlines four current educations practices that are primarily responsible for this:
  • schools value a student’s ability to take the test more than a student’s development of a lifetime love of reading

Sad, but true.  NCLB has forced schools and teachers to focus on the all-important standardized test.  With so much riding on those scores, from funding to the teacher’s job, we need a book like this to remind teachers and administrators how important that lifetime love of reading is.  Is it more important to pass a test or to be able to read novels, non-fiction, newspapers, and more?  

  • schools limit authentic reading experiences

This is my life’s goal, to surround my students with a reading flood, as Gallagher puts it.  I have seen the effects that a classroom library has on students, and Gallagher has reconfirmed that for me.  More teachers need to have classroom libraries, surrounding their students with a veritable “flood” of reading material to choose from.  

  • teachers are overteaching books

When Gallagher shares a novel unit from LAUSD, you can’t help but cringe.  Despite our best intentions, many teachers overteach the books they read with their students.  The pressure to get so much in in so little time force too many teachers to chop up novels, teaching every skill with one book.  The result?  It takes 10 weeks to read a novel that students end up hating!  We need to help our students appreciate, if not enjoy, academic reading.

  • teachers are underteaching books

We need to be introspective here.  Where do we draw the line between overteaching a novel and underteaching it?  Many students need scaffolding for more difficult books but we have to make sure we aren’t going beyond scaffolding.  This fourth point was the one that made me think the most.  


WOW.  This book is absolutely phenomenal.  As I was reading I just kept saying, “Yes! Yes!  Someone actually gets it!”  We need to get this book in the hands of as many people as possible.  Can someone send this to our new President?  If you are a teacher or an administrator, place your pre-order now so that you can read it ASAP.  I’ve already ordered my copy and I can’t wait to annotate it, flag it, and then share it!

Don’t forget-  Kelly started his blog tour today!  He will be stopping here on 1/26, answering your questions!  Leave a comment with your questions and look for the answers on 1/26.  In the meantime, be sure to follow the rest of his tour:

Kelly’s Blog Tour Schedule
1/26 – Here!  THE READING ZONE