Is it a terrible thing to not only be reading this book while on IBO Librarian training but also to recommend it to other librarians at the same time?
Kelly Gallagher is a classroom teacher in Anaheim, California. He teaches English and reflects about his students' progress as readers, as learners and as thinkers. Not surprisingly he finds that many factors that are turning students off reading are able to be changed by teachers and schools. He ideas are practical and support by excellent research.
I agree with everything I read. I would love to introduce the article of the week idea he writes about in chapter two. I am challenged by the idea of creating relevant summer reading programmes. As a former teacher of English, I also recognise the need to frame the challenging literature our students are invited to read to encourage them to engage with it fully.
I have one question though - why does Kelly Gallagher not enlist the assistance of the school librarian? It seems to me that the most amazing resource Gallagher had at his disposal was his school library. He does mention checking out a book from the library. He then boasts that his classroom library has thousands of books - how redundant. He seems totally unaware of the value of the school library and the skills of a school librarian - story divas (the subject of a future post). This is a real indictment not of Kelly Gallagher but of my profession. We often work so quietly in the background we are overlooked. I think we need to ensure that all our teaching colleagues know the value we can add to their programmes. We can help reverse readicide in our school. We need to be loud and clear and specific in the contribution we make.
This book challenges me as a school librarian. It challenges me to create meaningful collaboration with my teaching colleagues to ensure our school is not engaged in readicide.
This is an important book for teachers and librarians to read and talk about.
For other interviews with Kelly Gallagher
The tempered radical which states that this book raises issues for the whole community.