home home meet the teacher classroom shop freebie library

The Book Whisperer: Chapter 7

Letting Go

A bittersweet post today, as I'm on the last of my 7 posts of "The Book Whisperer" by Donalyn Miller.  I'm always sad when I finish any book, and a professional read is no different.  Myself and others have been providing our thoughts on each chapter, week after week.  Today, we're looking at the last chapter "Letting Go".

You can read my previous posts here:

And, as always, links to the posts of others for chapter 7 can be found at the bottom of this one.

Wow.  What a powerful chapter this one was for me.  I got two pages into it and started crying.  Okay, if you know me, you know I cry often, but not usually while reading professional texts!  The story leading me to tears is about students moving on to the next grade and expressing frustration over the way the new teacher teaches.  Now, I have taught, and do teach, with a lot of really great people.  The problem here lies within, for me at least.  I am a control freak.  I have a way.  I like it.  I am clearly open to the ways of others (as proven by me reading this book), but I have strong opinions and it's tough to sway me.  Donalyn wonders what the point of her working so hard to instill a love of reading in her students if it is just going to be crushed in the new classroom.    She says, "I wish I could talk to their teacher, but there is no way that I could question another teacher about what she does in her classroom".

My teacher's union has fought long and hard for our teacher autonomy.  I respect that greatly and am deeply thankful for it.  I can't imagine teaching a certain way because someone told me I had to.  I'm not sure I would be a teacher like that actually.

That being said, I also really believe in consistency.  Consistency in math language, consistency in behaviour expectations, and consistency in skills development.  It's so confusing for a student to learn to write via the 6 Traits one year, master that vocab, and then go into another classroom and hear the exact same stuff, but with different language.  They just don't realize they are building on the skills they already have!

I have felt the way Donalyn feels in that moment.  I don't want to question the way a colleague is teaching.  I trust that they have their reasons for what they do.  I have felt judged during collaboration.  I have felt that people thought they were more than (or less than) me.  I wish we didn't compare to one another.  I wish we could just walk into someone else's classroom and say "hey, this happened to me today.  What do you think?"  The colleagues I feel comfortable doing that with are much less in number.  And why? I don't really know...

But I digress...

This quote is so true.  That really is the goal of teaching reading in school, isn't it?  To foster a love of reading that lasts a lifetime.  For me, this means allowing my students to read many books, to talk about books, to write about books, and to share book recommendations.  Though I may do this in a way that is different from others, I think that if I am enthusiastic about it, my students will be too.

post signature


  1. I agree, Angela. If we let our kids read, read, read, the finer details don't really matter.
    BTW, I'm a control freak, too:)
    Thanks for hosting the linky! I'm so glad I read the book again.

  2. Another vote for let them read, make available lots of good books for them to read, read aloud to them, and then let them read some more. All we can do is give them that gift - and trust that it stays with them.

  3. Forgot to thank you for hosting this book study. So, thanks for keeping us organized and for hosting.