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Literacy Statistics. “The Alliance for Excellent Education points to 8.7 million secondary students—that is one in four—who are unable to read and comprehend the material in textbooks” “Three thousand students with limited literacy skills drop out of school every day in this country”.

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literacy statistics
Literacy Statistics
  • “The Alliance for Excellent Education points to 8.7 million secondary students—that is one in four—who are unable to read and comprehend the material in textbooks”
  • “Three thousand students with limited literacy skills drop out of school every day in this country”
literacy statistics1
Literacy Statistics
  • “Nearly half of all Americans ages fifteen to twenty-four do not read books for pleasure” (Gallagher 41).
  • “The 2005 ACT College Readiness Benchmark for Reading found that only about half of the students tested were ready for college-level reading, and the 2005 scores were the lowest in the decade” (Gallagher 3).
literacy statistics2
Literacy Statistics
  • “The American Institutes for Research reports that only 13 percent of American adults are capable of performing complex literacy tasks”
  • “USA Today reported that 27 percent of adults in this country did not read a single book in 2007” (Gallagher 3).
literacy statistics3
Literacy Statistics
  • “By the third grade, students who suffer from ‘word poverty’ are often at a million-word reading deficit; by the sixth grade, they are already three grade levels behind their average-performing peers”
literacy statistics4
Literacy Statistics
  • Less than one-third of thirteen-year-olds are daily readers, a 14 percent decline from twenty years earlier.
  • The percentage of thirteen-year-olds who read for fun on a daily basis declined from 35 percent to 30 percent, and for seventeen-year-olds, the decline was from 33 percent to 22 percent.
literacy statistics5
Literacy Statistics
  • Among seventeen-year-olds, the percentage of nonreaders has more than doubled over a twenty year period, from 9 percent in 1984 to 19 percent in 2004.
  • On average, Americans ages fifteen to twenty-four spend almost two hours a day watching television, and only seven minutes of their leisure time on reading.
readicide concerns
Readicide Concerns
  • “By gearing students year in and year out to practice for state-mandated reading exams, we had begun producing high school seniors (students who now had numerous years of testing focus) who had passed their reading tests but were leaving our schools without the cultural literacy needed to be productive citizens in a democratic society” (Gallagher 28-9).
readicide concerns1
Readicide Concerns
  • “…Our students are in desperate need of large doses of authentic reading—the kinds of reading we, as adults, do in newspapers, magazines, blogs, and websites. These doses need to come from a mix of reading experiences, from longer, challenging novels and works of nonfiction to ‘lighter’ recreational reading…. There is a dearth of interesting reading materials in our schools…. Students are not doing enough reading in school” (Gallagher 29).
think it s not rigorous enough
Think it’s not rigorous enough?
  • “In short, reading the cartoon is not a problem. Comprehending the cartoon, however, is another matter…reading consists of two factors: 1) being able to decode the words on the page and 2) being able to connect the words you are reading with the prior knowledge you bring to the page” (Gallagher, 33-34).

"You don't have to burn books to destroy culture.  Just get people to stop reading them."

Ray Bradbury


Essential Question: 

How can we avoid "readicide" and instill a love for reading?


2006 report on adolescent literacy by the National

  • Council of Teachers of English:
    • calamitous, universal falling off of reading occurs around the age of 13
    • secondary school students are reading at a rate significantly below expected levels
    • one in four secondary students are unable to read and comprehend the material in their textbooks.
    • one-half of students are ready for college-level reading

What are the culprits behind the decline in reading?

    • poverty
    • lack of parent education
    • print poor environments
    • second language learners
    • over scheduling of children
    • electronic media competition
    • readicide
read i cide


noun, the systematic killing of the love of reading, often exacerbated by the inane, mind-numbing practices found in schools.


The Four Factors Supporting Readicide

  • The development of test-takers.
  • Overteaching 
  • Limiting authentic reading.
  • Underteaching

The Reading Flow:

Where All Serious Readers Want To Be


Avoiding the Tsunami

Avoid Over-teaching


The Kill-A-Reader Casserole

    • Take one large novel.  Dice into as many pieces as possible.
    • Douse with sticky notes.
    • Remove book from oven every five minutes and insert worksheets.
    • Add more sticky notes.
    • Baste until novel is unrecognizable, far beyond well done.
    • Serve in choppy, bite-size chunks

"You don't have to burn books to destroy culture.  Just get people to stop reading them."

                             Ray Bradbury


AOW - Article of the Week

what are beating the odds schools doing
What are "Beating the Odds" schools doing?
  • Novels/Classics
  • Time to read in class.
  • Enough books.
  • Authentic, real world text.

The Value Found in Second-Draft

(and Third-Draft) Reading

First Read- Survival Mode-struggling to understand the text on a literal level

Richer level of craft -  a level of beauty 

that is usually not discovered 

until students revisit the text

Most students will discover the 

deeper, richer level of comprehension only with the guidance of a teacher.


Mr. Utterson was lovable.

He didn't like to talk.

His actions spoke loudly.

The humanness never found its way into his speech.

He never went to the theater.

A reference is made to the devil.

...on downgoing men.

He did not like to reprove.

He sometimes looked at his defendants "with envy."

Mr. Utterson was cold, dreary.

He was a lawyer.

He spoke quietly.

Something "eminently human beaconed from his eyes."

He enjoyed the theater.

A reference is made to the Bible.

He was a good influence . . .

He liked to help.

He was an upright citizen.


1.  Read with a pencil in hand, and annotate the text.

2. Look for patterns in things you've noticed about the text- repetitions, contradictions, similarities.

3.  Ask questions about the patterns you've noticed - especially "how" and "why." 

           Patricia Kain's,  "How to Do a Close Reading"


Metacognitive Sweet Spot

Student:  I read the chapter last night  but I don't                 get it.

Teacher:  What didn't you get?  

Student:  All of it. 

All of it," is Code:  I don't know how to monitor my comprehension"


Classrooms that Underteach

  •   Strategies
    • given little or no help in understanding what good readers do when the reading gets tough
    • discussion on what text says- little or no attention to how to understand reading
  • Classrooms that Overteach Strategies
    • too much time spent on noticing what you notice 
    • text gets lost in overanalyzing what is done to 

"You don't have to burn books to destroy culture.  Just get people to stop reading them."

Ray Bradbury