Authors: Testing kills love of reading

Testing kills children’s “love of reading,” according to a bunch of children’s authors and illustrators who signed Fair Test‘s open letter to President Obama. Judy Blume, Maya Angelou and Jules Feiffer are the big names.

. . . requirements to evaluate teachers based on student test scores impose more standardized exams and crowd out exploration.

We call on you to support authentic performance assessments, not simply computerized versions of multiple-choice exams. We also urge you to reverse the narrowing of curriculum that has resulted from a fixation on high-stakes testing.

Our public school students spend far too much time preparing for reading tests and too little time curling up with books that fire their imaginations.

If children’s love of reading has declined in recent years, blame multimedia, responds Patrick Riccards in Are you there, God. It’s me, Eduflack.

Do we blame the bubble sheet, or do we blame the multitude of options now competing for a young learner’s attention?

Honestly, I’m getting a little tired of testing being blamed for all that is perceived wrong in our country.  . . . We ignore that testing has been a part of our public schools for as long as we’ve had public schools.  We overlook that testing data can play a meaningful role in improving both teaching and learning.  We avoid the true debate, a discussion about ensuring the value of testing and the use and application of high-quality assessments.

You know what really kills the love of reading? Not being able to read very well.

About Joanne


  1. America: where literally anybody gets to be an expert on education if they want to be.

  2. True dat! All these schedules , budgets, and annual evaluation is killing my interest in work. I wrote to the president but he told me to buzz off.

  3. Roger Sweeny says:

    Testing may well kill children’s “love of reading.” However, this criticism does not go nearly far enough. The act of assigning books, of forcing students to read certain ones and then do various things with them, destroys love of reading.

    Indeed, it hardly seems far-fetched to say that requiring students to go to school destroys children’s love of learning.