Readicide Blog Hop - Chapter 2

Welcome back to week two of our Readicide book study!  Chapter Two is all about the "endangered minds" of today's students.

As I moved into Chapter Two of this book, I really couldn't help but find myself saying, "yes, absolutely!" to nearly every point Gallagher touches upon.  We continue learning about key factors that are contributing to readicide in our students today.  Let's break those down...

I get so sad when I browse through a school library and see books that are torn and tattered.  Books that are yellowing at the pages with uninteresting titles.  Books that don't appropriately match students' age levels.  In quite the opposite scenario, I get so excited browsing through a newly assembled book fair.  Books with crisp, clean covers that have never been opened.  Books that are appropriately matched to students' interests and age levels.  Gallagher talks about how students need more interesting engaging books in our school libraries.  Without exciting books, how will students become excited about reading?  Below are the strategies I used this school year to to stock my class library.

Sadly, in many schools, because there is such a strong focus on testing, our curriculum has significantly shifted.  Novels have been removed from the classrooms or new ones have not been purchased to replace the old ones currently there.  Gallagher makes the very convincing argument that teachers are the ones who must lead this fight for change.

My special learners are victims of readicide.  These learners need the most exposure to novels.  In my opinion, "challenging works" do not just qualify as academically challenging, but should be mentally and emotionally challenging as well.  My students benefit the most from novels with characters they can relate with.  Stories where these inspirational characters help boost not only their reading confidence, but their own self-worth.  Here are some of my favorites for upper elementary students.  I strongly recommend you check them out.
  • Wonder, R.J. Palacio
  • Absolutely Almost - Lisa Graff
  • Fish in a Tree - Linda Mullally Hunt
  • Rules - Cynthia Lord
  • Out of my Mind - Sharon M. Draper
  • The One and Only Ivan - Katherine Applegate

Gallagher talks about sustained silent reading and how we need to make more time, not less time for this very valuable reading experience.  This year I implemented a number of different strategies, many based off of the book Reading in the Wild, to create more time for recreational reading in our class.  The two most successful tools were my reading stamina chart and book shares.  The reading stamina chart was a way for our class to make independent reading goals for how long we could read on our own.  The book shares offered students an opportunity to tell others in the class about the book they were currently reading.  This helped to generate interest in one another's books and encouraged books to be shared from student to student.

After reading about an awesome idea from Kelli over at Tales of a Tenacious Teacher, I am really looking forward to using her "Book Buzz Box" as an additional tool to use during book shares.  You can learn more about her idea here.

Photo property of Kelli Olson, Tales of a Tenacious Teacher
Next up on the hop is Kim from Quinnessential Lessons.  Check out what she is saying about this week's chapter by clicking on her button below.  Thanks for stopping by!  Before you head out, check out our upcoming schedule.

Happy Teaching,

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  1. Angela, I absolutely love your "Smart Strategies for Building a Classroom Library". What a great way to stay focused on building your classroom library and establishing a book flood zone!

    I could not agree more about the crisp new books. Each year my children's school has a book fair. Money is set aside by the PTO so that EVERY child goes home with a book, whether they have money or not. It is a great way to get books into the hands of the students.

    Quinnessential Lessons

  2. "Mentally and emotionally challenging books" (Amen and hallelujah! Nicely phrased.) are our biggest ally. It's those connections that get children into and talking about text. You can't connect with a book you're slogging through, and if your emotions and beliefs aren't challenged, at least a little bit, who wants to read it? There are a couple on your list I need to try!

  3. I've done stamina charts and book shares. I always find though that the higher level students get really into the book shares, and the struggling ones just "make stuff up". Maybe if I found magazine articles or a wider array of reading choices for them it would be different? I was thinking of doing a library book share because a lot of my struggling students cherish their non fiction reading books (I think because of all the pictures).

    Great post. Lots of food for thought. Thanks for sharing the book choices and the Tales of a Tenacious Teacher blogpost!

    Looking forward to next week!


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