Readicide by Kelly Gallagher last week was a decent read. Gallagher had some points I agreed with, and some that I didn't. While he had some activities and tips worthy of experimenting in the classroom, his repetitiveness made me want to throw the book out the window, causing me to read it in increments in order to tolerate its monotony.
One of the ideas I particularly enjoyed was that of not chopping up or over teaching literature when teaching it to the students. I understand that teachers have a set curriculum to comply with and an endless list of standards and expectations to meet, but it is still important to teach the book as a whole. I’ve had teachers who could never find a balance between cutting up the novel and interrupting us every five minutes to teach us the meaning of every word on each page. Both which led us to not understanding the key points.
I feel like this form of teaching would only teach students to hate reading, another point Gallagher mentioned. What we should want to accomplish as teachers is to have our students want to become lifelong readers. If we over teach or chop up books we will only give them reason to loathe and misunderstand the value of what is otherwise known as good literature.
One great tip mentioned was to find the value of a novel and find ways to relate it to our students' lives and modern day society. This would help students to connect to classical and even new-age literature. It will help them to appreciate the value of books and accept the lessons they can teach them.
I didn’t agree with Gallagher’s strong belief in diving up 50% to both academic and recreational readings. Like I mentioned before, teachers have the responsibility to teach all assigned material along with what students need to know for standardized testing. I don’t think it is realistic for a teacher to set aside that much time for recreational reading. Gallagher should keep in mind that students have hectic schedules to abide by, activities, sports and usually seven separate classes, not to mention college prepping. I think 75% or 80% academic reading and 25%-20% recreational reading would be more appropriate for students in secondary school.
Gallagher also mentioned standing up for what you want in the classroom, whether it was by going all out to the media or approaching your superiors and administration, he believed that this was a valid act to execute. I however, believe the opposite. I feel like Gallagher’s novel was meant for new and up and coming teachers. For him to suggest making decisions as strong as those when we would barely have our foot in the door or any seniority or guarantee to our careers is completely absurd. Teachers during this period in their career are inexperienced and unfamiliar with teaching; they shouldn’t be instructed to do something that could rile up the wrong kind of attention that has the potential to put their jobs on the line.
Readicide was also extremely repetitive. I felt that the book could have been half its length if he hadn’t chosen to summarize and repeat certain ideas over and over. All he accomplished with that was to have me uninterested and almost bored to death. I understood his views the first time he mentioned them, there was no need to tediously repeat as much as he did.
Other than a few things, to me, Readicide was a good read and I recommend it to those majoring in the education field as well as to students. Gallagher brings up several important issues relevant to teachers while explaining tips and tricks that students could also learn from that have the potential to help them succeed in school. Overall, I enjoyed the book.