June 20, 2012

The Book Whisperer

I have finished The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller!  What a fast read!  Donalyn's thoughts and experiences flow together so smoothly that it only took me two days of reading to get through the book.  Not that this was a book to rush through - I have lots of underlining and post-it notes marking thoughts I appreciated or pages I want to revisit. 
I love that Donalyn's classroom is set up for reading because she knows that learning happens through reading.  So many of us get caught up trying to find the best classroom set-up for learning to happen and delegate a corner of the room or a bulletin board to 'reading' when really our focus should be flipped.  If the classroom is organized as an environment for reading, learning will be occurring!

Although I will have to tweak the ideas I have gathered from the pages of this book to meet the needs of my classroom and students, I am really thinking now about my classroom library set-up and the format I use for reading journals.  My 4th graders had reading journals last year that included their reading logs and space for them to write responses to me, but those journals, as sorry as I am to admit it, were one thing that just did not work during my first year of teaching.  My kids were not connected to their journals and I had a hard time keeping up with 23-27 response letters each week and then even every 2 weeks.  I'm hoping some of the ideas I have gathered from Donalyn combined with the book studies I will be doing yet this summer will help me develop a better strategy for Reading Journals.  Believe me, I know they are an important tool to help students track their reading and share their thinking - I know!  It broke my heart that they didn't work with my class last year and I am set on making improvements to that practice this coming school year.

I would recommend picking up Donalyn's book sometime this summer - it may just change your thinking about reading instruction in the classroom or provide a thought to help tweak a program that is already soaring.
The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child [Book]

"The reality is that you cannot inspire others to do what you are not inspired to do yourself." - Donalyn Miller in The Book Whisperer

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