July 6, 2013

A Review of The Book Whisperer

The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child  is written by Donalyn Miller, a 6th grade language arts and social studies teacher from Texas. 

In this book, Miller explains her theory for teaching children to be life-long readers.  To read and to like reading, one must spend time reading and reading many kinds of books.  The book outlines how she begins her year motivating students to read and gives her expectations in the classroom.  It includes some student opinions and student samples of surveys.

Miller gives us a theoretical background of the reading philosophy and her rationale.  She explains how her classroom library is set up and how it is managed.  Students have a reading notebook and it is explained within the pages of this book.  Even Miller keeps a reading notebook during the year which she tells us about.  In the back of the book are appendices with some surveys and book lists.
For accountability and grading purposes, Miller shares some traditional practices found in reading classrooms ( such as book reports, reading logs, comprehension texts) and offers some alternatives. 

The Book Whisperer will ignite your reading teacher passion! After reading this book, you will be able to start teaching reading Miller's way of reading right away.  However, there will be some administrators that will not like seeing this type of teaching.  They are happier with tangible products of reading.  They want students reading the same books and doing a certain worksheet or project to prove they have read the book or that they understand the book. Additionally, many teachers are required to teach a certain program or with specific materials.  You can still incorporate Miller's ideas - it just may take a little creativity.

Needed if you are to teach like the Book Whisperer:
1. Access to many books --many genres of various reading levels. It is best if they are books that are either yours or can be kept in your room.

2. You need to be a reader yourself - read so you can authentically converse about books and so you can recommend books

3. Time to read - class time , stolen moments, at home

4. A belief that all are readers- be positive and dont put labels on children ( struggling reader, reluctant reader) Find the books that will hook the child in and help them become stronger readers.

If you are a language arts teacher or even if you are not: I recommend this book should be in your stack of professional resource books to read.    Add it to your stack!

The Book Whisperer: Awakeneing the Inner Reader in Every Child.  
             ~ by Donalyn Miller   

Have you read this book?  What other books are in your stack?