Students who read for pleasure are likely to do significantly better in school than other students, but some schools’ overemphasis on testing and following prescribed curricula are endangering children’s opportunities to learn to love reading.
A Massachusetts teacher who witnessed how students’ newfound love for a book was quashed when they were told it wasn’t at the appropriate lexile score writes about her reaction.
“I felt physically ill. Here were two young women excited about reading, happy to discuss their books; they had discovered the pleasures of reading. All of that was taken away from them,” English language arts teacher Nancy Barile writes for Education Week.
She adds, “I couldn’t stop thinking about what had happened with my students. I was upset for days. That’s when I learned about ‘readicide’—a term coined by Kelly Gallagher.”
When she discussed what had happened with colleagues, Barile found that many had witnessed the same phenomenon. “They saw it in the continuous emphasis on test preparation instead of a focus on the development of lifelong readers, and they saw it in the de-emphasis of recreational reading.”
Now Barile focuses on combating readicide. Read her five suggestions for keeping the joy of reading alive.