Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Book Whisperer

My friend, Sarah, introduced me to the book The Book Whisperer over the summer.  On her recommendation, I downloaded it onto my iPad and read.  The author, Donalyn Miller, is a sixth grade teacher (read her blog here) who uses independent reading as the center of her reading program.  Her students are expected to read at least 40 books throughout the year!  This comes as a shock to many students - and my students are no different - because most go through an entire year only reading two.    How is this possible?  Today, students don't get a choice in the books they read in class.  As teachers, we instruct mainly out of a reading anthology with passages of full length novels.  While I do see the benefit in our anthology, I also know that it doesn't promote the love of reading.

When I was in elementary school, I remember being hooked on The Babysitter's Club series.  I would get so involved in one of the books, that I would hold the novel on my lap and read under the desk while my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Safford, instructed at the front of the room.  Due to their only being ten other students in my class, my teacher caught me pretty often.  However, I remember that anticipation of not knowing how the plot will turn and this strong wish that Mrs. Safford would stop talking and let me get back to my book.

I want that for my students.

I want them to become so engrossed in a book that they forget they're in a classroom.  I want them to haul that book around everywhere.  I want them to run into walls because they were walking while reading (I've done it).   Because while I am responsible for teaching the reading skills needed for fifth grade, I also want to give my students a more lasting gift.  I want them to be able to call themselves "readers."

Five stars for The Book Whisperer.  Reading it made me want to get back into the classroom immediately.


  1. Sounds like a great book! Reminds me of when I was in third grade, we could go to the back of the room and read if we finished our work, but were expected to re-join the class when the teacher started up again. More than once, I was so engrossed in my book that I didn't know the teacher had moved on and I just kept reading and reading. I loved it!

  2. Thank you for your remarks about my book, The Book Whisperer. I am glad that you found it meaningful. I hope you have a wonderful year with your young readers.