This is the first blog of the series talking and discussing the book The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller. Follow the links at the bottom to read more about Chapter 1 from some amazing bloggers and teachers!
I was really excited when I saw a lovely blogger asking if anyone wanted to do a book study on the book The Book Whisperer. I had never read the book, nor had I ever heard of it, but I absolutely love reading, and this book was full of promise!
Immediately, Donalyn grabs me by touting that she's no researching, expert or have her Ph. D. She is a reading teacher who inspires her students to read a lot and to love reading. Isn't that what all teachers aspire to do in some way or another? We can have all the letters behind our name, that doesn't mean anything. What does are the results in our classroom, how we inspire students, whether through reading, writing, math or even science.
The second thing she says that really grabs my attention is When you take a forklift and shovel off the programs, underneath it all is a child reading a book. Ha. We work so hard in our classroom, and the magic key is there all along. A child reading a book. I am really into this book now! I love reading, and frankly, strongly believe that reading is the key to success in all other subject matters (well, that and a few other things). But if you can't read, life's going to be a little tough!
The last thing she said in the introduction that really had me thinking was I needed a book that showed me how to connect my love of reading to my teaching of reading and how to use what I already knew about being a lifelong reader to encourage my students to read... This is me, to a tee. I love reading, but I'm not sure how to transfer my love of reading to my teaching of reading. I've been trying for 7 years, some years are more successful than others, but I'm still searching for that magic wand!
There and Back Again - Chapter 1
Think of the way you teach. Is it anything like the way you were taught as a child? I know my first year, that's exactly what I did. I taught the way I knew how, the way I was taught. Teaching Reading was done with the whole class reading a book (that I chose, of course), having a few questions every chapter or so and then a test at the end. We sometimes read out loud in class, I sometimes assigned it as homework. Sometimes, I threw in "fun" activities like vocabulary crosswords or a fun book report along the way. Exactly the way it was done when I was young.
In her book, Donnalynn talks about how this system fails our students. Becoming independent readers and writers is a journey that is theirs alone, and although you can teach them how to read, it's a cognitive and emotional journey that is theirs alone. Your job is to equip them with everything they need, but let them figure it out.
What does this mean? It means you give the students the proper tools to read, but you let them pick how they are going to learn. First step to do this? Let them pick their own book!
I'm excited to be diving into the next few chapters of this book to find out more about her reading workshops and how she sets them up to inspire her students to read and read and read.
To go along with the book, I have created a product that will help your students determine just what it is that makes them love a book! Critical Analysis at its best! It's free for the next 6 weeks only, and then they get bundled into one larger file, so get it now while you can (and it's always nice to leave feedback!) Click here (or the image) to download the file.
Read Chapter 2