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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Ending Readicide

Welcome back to our last discussion on Readicide by Kelly Gallagher. If you are just joining us, you can go back here to start on chapter one. Today we will be talking about the final chapter - Ending Readicide.

Are students in the United States losing their creative edge? Kelly Gallagher argues that perhaps we are. He cites a 2007 study that showed:
  • The average 5th grade student receives 5 times as much instruction in basic skills as instruction focused on problem solving or reasoning. I hope you are saying, "Not in my classroom." But this is something I need to get a check up on. I want to say, "Not in my classroom," but I've never taught 5th before. This is something I'll be keeping in mind as the new year begins.
  • The ratio of skill instruction to creative thinking (10:1) was the worst in first and third grades. I wonder why those two grades. They are my favorites to teach (although I'm hoping I like 5th even better). I always think of first and third as fun because there is a lot of new curriculum for students. Maybe that's the issue. Do we turn to skills based instruction when we have a lot of new content and we are worried about our students getting it all?
  • Poor children were unlikely to experience classrooms with high instructional climates across multiple grades. So schools in lower socio-economic areas may get a great teacher here and there, but not consistently. That is an atrocious finding. All students, in all places, deserve the best teachers. Teachers who love their work,  keep up on current research and are willing to try new things. I am always telling myself that I will know it's time to quit when I just pull out the previous year's plans and do them again. Great teachers are constantly updating their practice.
If these factors contribute not only to readicide but also to a slipping away to our creativity, then what can we do?

Inside my classroom, I will:
  1. Flood my students with good literature
  2. Be conscientious about not overteaching or underteaching a novel
  3. Give more time to recreational reading
  4. Spend more time with project-based learning, problem solving, reasoning, cooperative learning, etc. and far less time on skills based instruction
  5. Care less about test scores and more about creating life long learners and readers

I hope you have enjoyed this book as much as I have. If you haven't read it yet, you should consider putting it in that pile of books next to your bed. To continue on this blog hop, head on over to The Organized Plan Book for more thoughts on this chapter.
Click on the cover to go to Amazon.

The Organized Plan Book


  1. All students, in all places, deserve the best teachers.

    That should be written on the wall of every school entrance, office and classroom in the country! I totally agree, and I thought the same thing when I read about 50% of Latino and African Americans dropping out of high school!! What's happening?! That was so crazy to me!

    Great ideas as usual!

    The Whimsical Teacher

  2. I really need to work on your #5 this year. Each year I start out telling myself I am going to teach the students not to a test. And each year I succeed a little bit further through the year. But eventually someone will say "only ___ more weeks/days until the state test" and I start to panic. My normal, project based, manipulative filled, student driven lessons go out the window. I start flying through the curriculum (because I can't teach 10 months of curriculum in 7 months) and begin giving practice test and teaching test strategies. I really hope that this year I can make it through the entire without feeling the pressure to prep for the test.

    Quinnessential Lessons