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Wednesday, August 22, 2012


A colleague recommended Kelly Gallagher's 2009 book Readicide: How Schools Are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It, and I have been taking notes and rereading phrases so much that my progress is slow. My blood pressure is high, however (at least it was at the doctor's office today, and I had been reading the book while waiting). I agree so strongly with Mr. Gallagher's statements and research that I almost cannot keep myself from talking about it with my family (none of whom really want to have this discussion; they know what good reading instruction looks like).

Essentially, the book is based on the definition of readicide: "systematic killing of the love of reading, often exacerbated by the inane, mind-numbing practices found in schools." (p.2) Instead of promoting reading, schools increasingly value test-taking and limit the authentic experiences readers should have. By preparing students to take multiple-choice tests, the curriculum has become shallow, continuing the challenges faced by struggling readers and creating aliterates, people who can read but have no desire to do so.

As a reading teacher and librarian, I strive to provide positive reading experiences for students (and adults), and this book has completely reinforced my thoughts about what is important.

For more information about the national movement to curb standardized testing, view this document:

For fun activities that promote reading, vocabulary development, and literacy, visit the Alphabet Forest at the Minnesota State Fair, beginning August 23rd:


  1. Very important stuff, thanks for sharing it. This has been going on for years & I am disappointed to hear things haven't improved. Aren't there more meaningful & relevant book discussions in schools these days? And I thought there was more of an emphasis on creative interpretation of books & on creative expression than there used to be.

  2. I'm glad that I never had to endure the need to teach for the test in my classroom. I had so much autonomy which I probably did not really appreciate. Students offer so much to a discussion if they are given a chance to voice their interpretation and have so much to teach us that will never appear on a tes.

  3. Students are so lucky to have an advocate like you in their school.