So here it is, Radical Nation:  The beginning of our conversation with Kelly Gallagher about reading instruction in America starts today (a day early, mind you!  Figured no one would complain) with a link to download his new book Readicide: How Schools are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It.

Here’s the direct linkDownload Readicide.

You can also find more information about Readicide on the Stenhouse website by visiting this link(BTW: We should be thankful to both Kelly and Stenhouse for making this conversation happen!)

To focus your reading, consider the following questions:

Kelly is passionate about what he calls the 50/50 approach to teaching reading:  50% of the reading that his students do in class is academic and 50% of the reading that his students do in class is recreational.  Is this an approach that would work in your school?  Why or why not?

At one point in Readicide, Kelly argues that reading teachers shouldn’t teach the reading.  Instead, they should teach the reader.  What do you think he means by this?  Would it be a fair summary of the entire book?  How well do the teachers in your building follow this advice?

What instructional practices does Kelly argue against in Readicide?  What instructional practices does he argue in favor of?  What percentage of time do students and teachers in your school spend engaged in the ineffective practices that Kelly describes?  What percentage of time do students and teachers spend engaged in the effective practices that he describes?

In our evidence-driven world, advocates for change in education can’t merely argue on passion or intuition.  Instead, they need tangible evidence to prove that their practices are effective.  What is the most convincing evidence you can find in Readicide that schools are killing reading?  How will you use this evidence to drive change in your own schools or communities?

At times, Kelly is hard on schools and teachers in Readicide—arguing that we need to be more proactive in standing up for responsible instruction.  How do you feel about that?  Do teachers need to take ownership over the current reading crisis in our country?  What barriers prevent you from standing up for change?  Does Readicide provide any tools that you can use to take action?

Clearly, the reward that teachers care about the most are the moments when we know that we’ve touched a child in a positive way, helping them to succeed in an area where they’ve struggled.  Think about a moment like this during your teaching career.  What was it that ‘worked’ in that situation?  Can the lessons learned be stretched to other students?  Why or why not?

So dive in, huh?  Building your understanding of effective—and ineffective—reading instruction will make you a better practitioner, and building your knowledge of the evidence supporting the argument that schools are killing reading will make you a better advocate for change.  This is simply a conversation that we can’t ignore.

And make plans to join us at some point between January 18th and January 22nd for a focused conversation with Kelly about reading in America.  You can learn more about our conversation by rereading this post from the Radical.  A link to the live conversation—being hosted with a digital tool called Voicethread—-will be posted here in my blog on the morning of the 18th.

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