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The Book Whisperer: Chapter 2

Everybody is a Reader

Welcome to week two of a seven week book study!  There are 6 ladies (myself included) sharing our thoughts each Monday from now until mid-November about "The Book Whisperer" by Donalyn Miller.   You can get to the other ladies posts at the end of this one.  You might even see a few freebies along the way!

You can read my Chapter 1 post by clicking here.

I love the story at the beginning of Chapter Two.  Donalyn describes the first day of school, going over rules and procedures.  A boy raises his hand and asks, "When will we be allowed to check out books?"  Startled, she answers with, "now" and they head over to the book bins.  There they sit, Donalyn giving her book recommendations, and even more powerful, students giving theirs.   What a beautiful scene it must have been.  

A sentence I love:

Miller says she has noticed three trends in reader types.  At first, I thought she was wrong - and missing some.  Surely there is more than 3 types of readers!  But, after reading her excellent descriptions and student examples, I agree.  I love that she is acknowledging reading as a continuum of learning.  She refuses to call the lower end readers as "struggling".  Rather, she refers to them as "developing".  According to her,  the types of readers are:

The fact is, every year you get a classroom full of varying readers.  They aren't going to all love it.  They aren't going to all be able to do it at the same level.  So how do you accommodate them all?

In my classroom, I don't put my entire class library out all at once.  I only put out about half at a time.  This is for a few reasons.  The first is that I like to keep it fresh.  I honestly have so many books!  It's a bit overwhelming if they are all out at once.  Also, many of my novels are too big at the beginning of grade 4.  My students are usually not ready to read a novel of that length.  I do have some longer books out, but I save many of them for later on.  I still have a huge variety of topics out there to choose from.

Finally, Donalyn gives examples of a student survey.  She is wanting to learn more about their interests, so she can make more accurate book recommendations to each child.  How great is that?

I've done a reading survey with my class before, but it's always been focused on their attitude toward reading.  Her survey has one question about books and the rest is all about other aspects of their lives.  I'm loving it.  At the back of the book, she shares a black line for a different survey, referred to as the "Reading Interest-a-Lyzer".  It's more like the traditional survey I have given before. 

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  1. Great survey, Angela! You're going to get lots of interesting info from that:)

  2. Bey you will learn so much about your students from the survey.