Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Book Whisperer: You HAVE to read this book!

The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller is, by far, the BEST professional book I've read in a long time. Here are some highlights that Crystal and I decided were "we HAVE to implement this ASAP!"-or next year-whichever comes first!!

-Organize your books by GENRES-not by LEVELS: This was a huge wake up call to me because I have always organized my classroom library by authors, then levels, award winning books, science, etc. But if we want our students to think about GENRES, we have to organize our books in that way as well. I absolutely HATE AR testing. Students get so wrapped up in whether they should read a book based off of how many points they can get, rather than if they are truly interested in the book! What are we doing to our kiddos???
So, NO MORE LEVELS for my classroom library!! My students will check out books because they are interested in reading the book, NOT because they can earn 2 AR points for it!

-Children should be reading at LEAST 20-30 minutes a day without interruptions!

-Students should be allowed to choose THEIR OWN books! How would you like it if someone was always telling you what to read? We teach them how to self-select. A life-long skill.

-It's OKAY for students to abandon a book! That's REAL LIFE! If they aren't interested, they won't read it! It's my job to help them find books they will fall in love with!

-Students should not be worried about what they CAN'T do, but thinking about what they CAN do! We set a goal of however many books we want our students to read. If they reach that goal, GREAT! If they try as hard as they can, but fall short...that's GREAT, too!

-Children should be able to find a comfy place to read. They shouldn't be confined to their desk. That's not what REAL LIFE readers do. When we're at home reading, we're usually laying in the bed or curled up on the couch. Shouldn't we allow our students to be as comfortable during classtime reading?

-We DON'T focus on state assessments *gasp*! If we are allowing our students to read, read, read...they will be successful.


-intervention should NOT be happening during classtime. "Students who are pulled for intervention from the general ed. classroom are reading 75% LESS than other students"(Miller, 2009) -How is that helpful?

I hope you've like my highlights! If you'd like to read more, PLEASE buy the book! We can change lives, one student at a time! The Book Whisper by Donalyn Miller



Kelly Hall

I am a big fan of the changed my whole philosophy of reading this year! Good Luck!


I love the book, too! For me, a lot of it was the back up I needed for what I really wanted to do in my classroom and believed was good common-sense teaching. Finally, here was someone else (someone important) that saw things the way I do!


I love this book! Completely changed the way I teach reading.

Sarah McMurrough

I teach fourth grade writing, and I love the way you've set up your students' writing notebooks. I want to do a lot of similar things, but with a spiral notebook. I will continue to follow your blog for more great ideas! I've nominated you for "The Versatile Blogger" Award! Please stop by my blog to pick it up! :)

- Sarah

FourthGrade Flipper

I loved reading your notes about "The Book Whisperer". I teach 4th grade and have really been transforming my way of thinking about how I teach ELA too. I am looking forward to following your journey!
Fourth Grade Flipper

Layla Wiedrick Henry

You have so many great ideas! I am your newest follower and a fellow 4th grade teacher! I found you one Teaching Blog Addict. Come check out my blog:
Fancy Free in Fourth


I read this book, and agree with many of it's ideas. However, how do you get reading grades for the report cards each quarter?

BJ Gates

So sorry it's taking me so long to get back to you! I actually do have some ways to take grades. I just unpacked my classroom, (moved school districts), and will post those sheets as soon as I get back into my classroom tomorrow and dig them out of the tub! Please keep checking back!

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