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Tools of the Trade: Reading Response Journal—Doing Away with the Study Guide in an Attempt to Avoid Readicide

By Kelly Virgin

Recently, while reading Kelly Gallagher’s Readicide for the Strategies for Teaching Literature course, one of the participants posed the following question: “How can we tell if we are over-planning and overteaching a text; how can we better self-monitor?” Another participant very wisely answered, “If we know every question we want to ask and every discussion we want to have before we even pick up the book with our students, then chances are we are over-planning and in danger of overteaching.” Kelly Gallagher argues that the overteaching of books leads to readicide because “…the overanalysis of books:

  • prevents our students from experiencing the place where all serious readers want to be—the reading flow.
  • creates instruction that values the trivial at the expense of the meaningful.
  • spills over and damages our students’ chances of developing recreational reading habits.” (60)

When I think back to my first years of teaching, I know I was guilty of committing readicide time and time again. As a new teacher I felt panicky if I didn’t know exactly where I wanted to go with every page of every novel. Read more