Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller

Happy Summer!  Please accept my apology for not posting sooner.  Donalyn will soon be speaking to us at the Nov. CRA PDI in Visalia and I can't wait.  Hope to see you there!

Let's get busy reading and blogging to prepare for PDI & our new school year!
Lynn Gurnee,
Past CRA President

Chapter 3:  “There’s a Time and a Place”
Donalyn tells her students reading is not an add-on but the cornerstone of her class time.  She says, “How can we not make time for reading?  Your thoughts?  Here’s some how-to tips:
  •      When you are interrupted by the phone or visitor dropping into class, train kids to get out independent reading books. Also at picture day & in library!  Set goals for library use for when you line up to go and when you get there to make best use of time.  Her kids try to steal time to read & suggested a Ziploc bag for reading during showering!  Ha! That’s a keeper for “kids say darnedest things, eh?”
  •       Students read when work’s finished- if they rush so they can read- great says Donalyn…what do you say?
  •        In her section on creating a place for reading – make it comfortable!  Wish I had Donalyn for a teacher growing up… what about you?
  •       In her section on quiet please except teacher who can be softly conferring.  Your thoughts?

Chapter 4:  Reading Freedom
What do you think about Pennac’s “10 Rights of the Reader?”  (2006)  The right to…  not read, skip pages, not finish, reread, read anything, escapism, read anywhere, browse, read out loud, and not defend your tastes.

Did you enjoy student Jon’s comment. “I think the requirements (40 books) are understandable because if we didn’t have a requirement. Then people like me would read one book for the whole year?” 

Student Rachel liked the variety of books required:  5 poetry, 5 lit., 5 realistic fiction, 2 historical fiction, 4 fantasy, 2 sci. fic., 2 mystery at the request of students, 4 informational, 2 biog, auto-biog., or memoir, and 9 chpt. Books of students’ choice and Alex learned he likes realistic fiction as he used to only read fantasy. And Molly, a picky reader, said she can’t force herself to read a wide variety and liked having the wide selection.  Did these kids convince you to think about these requirements?

Donalyn concentrates on supporting reading, not requirements by…
  •             validating choices:  Who cares if Captain Underpants is a favorite if it encourages reading more, would you agree? (favorites on p. 88 for gr. 4-6)
  •        introducing authors through read alouds
  •        building BG for genres
  •        conferring and meeting students where they are
  •        encouraging notes for genres in Readers’ Notebooks ( based on Fountas/ Pinnell Guiding Readers and Writers Gr. 3-6) with these sections:

Tally & Reading Lists, Books to read Lists, and Response Entries like a letter to author or a letter to a classmate or to teacher.  Are you familiar with Fountas/ Pinnell  book?

Chapter 5:  Walking the Walk
Oh man, wasn’t Parker’s comment priceless…”I feel bad about all those good books out there waiting for me to read them?”  Donalyn writes about the need for reading role models and how to lead the way with modeling and practice.  Her self-reflection activity on p. 111 helps…check it out!
  •      What were your childhood reading experiences?  Positive or negative?
  •       Do you see yourself as a reader now?  How do you share these with students?
  •       Who do you identify with?  (underground, dormant or developing readers)?
  •            Who has been your reading role models?
  •            List last 5 books you read and how long it took to read them?
  •       What was read for professional reasons and what for pleasure?

Did you find Donalyn’s plan helpful?  (Fake it ‘til you make it).
  •      Choose interesting books
  •            Read more children’s books
  •      Take recommendations from students
  •             Investigate recommendations from industry resources like
  •       Reflect on what you’re reading & share
  •             Inspiring others happens when you’re inspired

Chapter 6:  Cutting the Teacher Strings
Donalyn talks about rethinking the class novel and teaching readers, not books.  Your thoughts on these ideas on how to do this?
  • Select a theme, concept or standard children are expected to know & gather wide range of text for book groups
  • Use short stories, excerpts or poems to teach literary elements or reading skills & ask students to apply their understanding to independent books
  • Teach test prep as a reading skill
  • Teach reading as a genre

    What do you think about Donalyn’s idea of ditching book reports & formal book talks for book commercials & reviews?  Simple to check off who shared on class roster & more fun for you & the kids, would you agree?
  •       Do you have anything to add to the book review criteria of quotes from book & reviewers, cliffhanger questions, personal reactions, awards author has won, age level, other books by the author, & comparisons with other books?
  •       Do you use reading logs?  Did you like Donalyn’s alternative to round robin practice of oral reading of giving students a preview & practice time, paired reading, and tapes?
  •       What do you think about Donalyn’s whisper about E-O-Y Evaluation survey asking if they met their genre requirements and to explain?  Is this sufficient accountability?

Chapter 7:  Letting Go
  • Kids mimic what Donalyn teaches them with each other when they browse for books, but then the following year they can’t enjoy this style of teaching and have to be underground readers.  What do you think about this?
  • Can we ask peers to teach students to adopt attitudes and behaviors of best readers? 
  • Can we mimic their connection with books as they sat in their parents lap?
  • Donalyn wonders if you agree to keep students reading, we have to let them do it? 

What did you find helpful in the appendixes?  Do you have more needs than these?
Appendix A  The Care and Feeding of a Classroom Library
Appendix B  Ultimate Library List
Appendix C  Student Forms