As I remember the story, grandson Paul came home one day from first grade and declared that he didn't like to read anymore. Coming from a "reading" family, this wasn't received particularly well. A little investigation by his parents discovered what Paul really didn't like was reading the required materials in the reading series. He called them "little bunny stories." The happy ending is that Paul's parents visited the library and bookstore and found books more suited to his reading interests. Mostly Dave Pilkey Captain Underpants books (that his grandfather enjoys as well).
I'm thinking of this bit of family lore as I read Kelly Gallagher's e-book, Readicide: How Schools Are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It. [Thanks so much for the head's up about this book from Dr. Joyce at the NeverEnding Search where she includes a lot of other really good information about the book as well.]
Read-i-cide:noun, the systematic killing of the love ofreading, often
exacerbated by the inane, mind-numbing practices found in schools
and suggests that
...rather than helping students, many of the reading practices found in today’s classrooms are actually contributing to the death of reading. In an earnest attempt to instill reading, teachers and administrators push practices that kill many students’ last chance to develop into lifelong readers.
Gallagher offers solutions to schools creating alliterate graduates - one of which is reading for fun. I wish the author had a more positive view of libraries - he insists that classroom libraries best serve kids. This is something the profession needs to work on - emphasizing the school library's role in creating classroom-housed collections.
I often wonder just how much I would read if I was permitted to read only a certain number of pages per day (NO READING AHEAD), only could read things that were interesting to female elementary teachers female elementary teachers - who haven't read any new children's literature possibly since they finished their college children's lit class but even more likely, since they were in elementary or middle school themselves - assigned, and on which I had to complete worksheets. Is it any wonder why video games look good to kids?
Paul's story had a happy ending despite his school, not because of his school. Paul didn't like reading at the time because he was a good reader, not because he was a poor reader. How sad is it that for all those children who don't come from such superior genetic stock that schools are not helping struggling readers and destroying successful ones?
Share this book, along with Krashen's Power of Reading, 2nd edition, with reading specialists, teachers and parents. But only if you care if the next generation reads more than chat boxes.