Readicide Blog Hop - Week Two

Do you hear that?  It's the sound of light bulbs being flicked on!


All of them.

Welcome to week 2 of the Readicide blog hop!!  This week is a doozy!!

This week's study focusses on chapter two - Endangered Minds.

I have three takeaways from this chapter.

1.  "Kids without prior knowledge are at a disadvantage, regardless of reading ability"

This quote can be found in the book - and according to kindle 310 people had highlighted it at the time that I read it.  There are so many times that we assume that kids will understand what a book is about just by reading it.  I mean seriously, we've read through it, checked the reading age level, figured out how many sight words the kids will need to know, and even done due diligence and written questions to ask the kids as we go.
But we don't check to see what the kids are coming to the book with.  Will they understand the context of the book?  Will they understand the different characters and their roles in the book?  Will they understand the vocabulary in the text?
These are the things that sometimes we don't check - And yet these are the things that make it possible to make inferences.

2.  "Reading consist of two factors: (1) being able to decode words on the page and (2) being able to connect the words you are reading with the prior knowledge you bring to the page."

Another quote - 340 highlights.  Not that that really means anything right?  WRONG!  It means everything!  Hmmm sorry, I'm rewatching How I met your mother, and I just want to yell out "Lawyered" after finding facts.

Right back on track - We all know that reading is a two pronged process.  We learn to read, and then we read to learn.  (And then eventually just for enjoyment).  It comes back to that prior knowledge.  The first knowledge we have to have is the knowledge about how books work - and the more experience we have with that the more easily they will pick up the reading process.

3.  "People who are undernourished need good food.  Readers who are undernourished need good books."

The quote goes on to talk about how we do exactly the opposite with these undernourished readers.  I'm guilty of it myself!  We put these students in remedial situations and limit their access to quality books, when what we SHOULD be doing is immersing them print rich environments and plying them  with good quality literature.  Also this involves getting our kids exposed to as many experiences as possible so that they have real life understanding about what they are reading about.

So after this chapter I'm going to work at improving the print quality in my class.  I'll be pushing books at my kids and giving them as much exposure to quality literature as I can.  We'll be working at improving our vocabularies by being involved in as many experiences as possible.

What else would you recommend? - Share your ideas below, and then head to Melissa's Teacher Mall to find out what she took away from this week's hop!


  1. My take away was how incredibly important it is for students to "just" read. Whether it be a novel, picture book, magazine or newspaper, the benefits are incredible. I know I am going to be hitting the yard sales and book fairs this summer to try and get more quality books into my classroom.

    Quinnessential Lessons

  2. I also loved the quote Gallagher makes about readers being undernourished. I liked that one of his solutions was bringing the library to the students, rather than bringing the students to the library. I am running through ideas of how to do this in my classroom for next year. We already do book shares where students will give an informal talks about what they are reading...but I am thinking of stretching this idea further next year.

    The Organized Plan Book

  3. It's sometimes hard finding the high quality books though isn't it? Sometimes I want to write my own books because I know what kids really like! :) Just think if all the teachers started writing all the books... ahhhh the world would be so awesome!

    I struggle with bringing prior knowledge to my English Language Learners. They are so sweet yet sour on reading usually... I just try to read my favorite books to them and hope that my passion is contagious. Great blog, looking forward to next week!!

    The Whimsical Teacher

  4. Background knowledge is a much bigger deal than most teachers realize, probably because most of us come from homes where we go see stuff and read. (We were just up at Monticello yesterday, simply because it's one of the few historical places we haven't already dragged A.J. to see.) In Title I schools, it's a huge deal and a difficult hurdle.

    When I last taught inner-city, my boss was big on having overnight field trips and to stay in /visit nice places (Sometimes, with very interesting results....) because 'They cannot aspire to what they do not know exists." Many of the kids had never stayed at a hotel and a few had never eaten in a sit-down restaurant. Going places just to go was a totally foreign concept.

    I've been begging the counselor at our school (not Title I, but with a decent-sized ELL population) to start a club for our population to just get out and experience what around our city, in order to get their vocabularies jump-started and broaden horizons a little. One of these days, it'll happen.


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