Reading & Literacy

A Plea for Protecting the Passion to Read

By Catherine Gewertz — April 07, 2011 1 min read

An interview with reading guru Kelly Gallagher is getting a lot of traffic on our website.

In this interview with Teacher magazine, he doesn’t just blame kids’ poor reading habits on the huge role electronic communication now plays in their lives. He points out many dynamics that contribute to the decline in students’ reading: growing up in print-poor environments, living “hurried” lives that don’t lend themselves to curling up with a book, and a test-heavy school culture, among other things.

He describes a vicious cycle in which young people read less, so they develop less background knowledge, which is key to helping them understand and enjoy what they read. (You might recall that this stuff is pivotal to the content-versus-skills debate.) He makes a passionate argument for protecting “recreational” reading as a way to restore the pure joy of reading. And he doesn’t think that this is impossible in a test-driven environment. Take a look.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.