Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Readicide: Avoiding the Tsunami (week 3)

It's week 3 of our blog hop book study! If this is your first visit and you want to start at the beginning, my chapter 1 post is  here.

In chapter 3, Avoiding the Tsunami,  Gallagher discusses how teacher guides (ie. the step-by-step approach) for novels like To Kill A Mocking Bird are one of the leading causes of Readicide.

 As I read this chapter I immediately thought about Brandi from The Research Based Classroom.  She wrote about how her oldest daughter hated To Kill A Mockingbird. The reason she detested the novel was due to all the stopping and analyzing of the text she was being forced to take part in. It was ruining the flow of the book for her. You can read more about Brandi's daughter's experience with Readicide here.

"Students who never experience reading flow are students who will never become readers." Readicide (p.65)

My big take away from this chapter is that we need to stop breaking up novels into little piece and asking the students to analyze every single page. Getting "lost" in a book is an amazing feeling. Unfortunately students are not given the time to experience reading flow in school. 

"...philosopher Kenneth Burke, who says the reason young people should read books is that it provides them with "imaginative rehearsals" for the real world. When children read books, Burke argues, they are not just reading stories. They are being given an opportunity to understand the complex world we live in (1968)" Readicide (p. 66)

When you think back to when you read To Kill A Mockingbird, what stood out to you? What was your "take away"? I know for me I couldn't believe that such racism could exist in the world. I think back and think I must have been living in "LaLa land". Can you imagine how timely this novel is today? Have race relations improved at all? What amazing conversations this novel would produce in an ELA class if given the chance. 

Instead we are requiring students to take notes, highlight examples of figurative language, complete comprehension questions and write reflective essays. We break the book up into so many tiny pieces they are unable to identify with it anymore.

My goal for next year is to read more novels with my class. We read only three novels together this past year (and one read aloud). With those novels I am guilty of requiring my students to use sticky notes to summarize chapters, notebooks to keep track and analyze characters and worksheets to make text to self connections. Now these are all things I need to teach my students (it's part of the curriculum) but I can do it in a way that doesn't break the flow of these novels. That in itself should create more time to read!

Now hop on over to Learning to be Awesome and see what Erin has to say about chapter 3.

Then be sure to return next week when we discuss chapter 4 Finding the "Sweet Spot" of Instruction.


  1. It's funny, Kim...I remember my goal at the beginning of last year was to actually spend more time analyzing novels because I felt i was doing a disservice to my students if I didn't. Instead of students being engaged like I was hoping, they would moan and complain when it came time to read. It wasn't until I went back to just reading and using the students to lead the discussions, that I saw a positive impact. My reading goals for next year will similarly match yours.

    The Organized Plan Book

  2. When I got to this chapter, I couldn't believe he was giving my daughter's exact experience with a piece of great literature. But your point about it being a timely novel today is spot on. We need to make our novel studies timely and relevant so the discussion is important to the students otherwise we are just dicing it up into small pieces, trying to find something to study.
    The Research Based Classroom

  3. I usually read 6 novels a year with my class, but after reading this chapter, I feel like we should be reading more!!!

    The Whimsical Teacher


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