I’ve recently dipped back into a book I read a number of years ago; Readicide: How Schools are killing reading and what you can do about it by Kelly Gallagher.
Read-i-cide is defined as: 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, and perhaps beyond them. There are many factors that have contributed to this including, and in my view largely as a result of ever-expanding choices of electronic entertainment.
However, Kelly Gallagher suggests, that it is time to recognize that schools are also a significant contributor to the decline in reading. Kelly argues that American schools are actively (though unwittingly) furthering the decline of reading.
He identifies a number of the key contributing factors
- 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 PEE paragraphs
Today I covered a Y11 English lesson at short notice with no cover work set (long story) so I took them to our newly refurbished school library. Most of them didn’t even know it existed and looked bemused as I effervesced with excitement at the prospect of picking them all a book! One of the key strategies that Kelly shared in his book was the power of a book recommendation.
I am so lucky that I have a mum is an avid reader and passes on books with a brief synopsis and often a word of caution; this one is slow to start but stick at it, this one has a real twist etc. So, armed with my mum’s advice ringing in my ears, I hand picked a book for them all; love stories, mysteries, spy -based, football themed etc. They moaned and groaned and told me that they don’t read, but for 20 minutes they were all hooked into a book!
I hated reading at their age, my own sons have only just in their twenties started to embrace reading for pleasure but they have! I’m an avid reader, mainly leadership and T&L texts during term time, but on a weeks holiday, I love nothing more than getting lost in a book!
So when you’re with your classes/forms tomorrow recommend and enthuse them about a book!