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The Book Whisperer Book Study! Chapter 2

I am loving Donalyn Miller's book The Book Whisperer!! So many thoughts and ideas are running through my mind while I am reading.


I am excited to be linking up with Elisabeth from Literacy and Lattes for this book study!! I'm here today to present Chapter 2: Everybody is a Reader.


This chapter has so much good information and made me think! I took so many notes and underlined and starred the margins while I was reading!! I just kept thinking of how it applied directly to me or a student I've taught.

That's how I study: Notes everywhere, papers strewn, highlighters, etc. I'm an outliner with bullet points type of girl. So bear with me as I walk you through my summary!!

First off, I am a first grade teacher so throughout this book I keep trying to picture my littles in Mrs. Miller's classroom. Her room is MUCH different than mine seeing that her students have a bit more experience with school and reading blocks. My kiddos come directly from Kindergarten, some of them this is only their second year of school! They haven't had time to develop any sort of opinion about reading. This makes my job (and any other first grade teacher) immensely important in my eyes. This is the year they can really start to figure out what they like as a reader. I am setting the stage for the future teachers and (hopefully) making the future ELA years easier and more enjoyable.

Second, to the book!! My notes:
- children must select their own books to read to "embrace inner reader"
- students must have opportunities to choose their own books - "empowers and encourages them"
"Readers without power to make their own choices are unmotivated."

Types of Readers:
- Developing readers (aka struggling); difficulty understanding material for a variety of reasons even with intervention and support; amount of actual reading is very little; need more time to sit down and actually read
- Dormant Readers (aka reluctant readers); do their assigned reading, activities, in school but not on weekends or summers; "reading is work, not pleasure"; must be shown that reading is engaging and relatable
- Underground Readers (aka gifted readers); see school assigned reading as disconnected from their outside reading that they prefer; they just want to read what they want to read; usually do extremely well on the required reading for school and testing with or without actually finishing the book (This could also be called "The Carly Reader" because this sums up my child perfectly!)

Mrs. Miller also takes us through some real life examples of some of her students that fit these reader types and how offering them the opportunity to choose their own books empowered them to become better readers to this day.

"Conditions for Learning"
-  no matter how well planned your lessons are, if your classroom isn't a motivating place for readers actual meaningful reading and learning will not occur
- I am reminded of that saying about planning a battle: You can plan the perfect battle on paper but after that first shot is fired, it doesn't matter anymore.

Okay, okay, so I'm not certain what the actual quote is or who said it, but it's something to that effect. That's how I feel about some of my lessons!!

- too many "requirements" for reading (book reports, worksheets, etc) outweigh the actual enjoyment of reading?
- model, model, MODEL!! If you want your kiddos to read, then you have to show them you enjoy reading yourself!! I feel I do A LOT of this!

"Students must believe that they can read and that reading is worth learning how to do well."

Student Surveys
- very important to determine what your students like (books, movies, TV, famous people, etc.)
- could use surveys, journals, observations
- take time to read through the surveys, take your own notes on your students answers
- difficult for me to do because most of my students come to me without much written language skills, have to do over the course of days and weeks one on one

I remember sitting in my Reading Methods class and my professor talking about reading interest surveys. This one immediately popped into my head while reading the Whisper section of this book:

Elementary Reading Attitude Survey aka "The Garfield" I've never actually used this survey, but my littles might do well with it. It asks a series of questions and the students respond by circling one of the Garfields. 
Has anybody used this before? I might have to try it! 
- Mrs. Miller mentions the Reading Interest-A-Lyzer by Sally Reis (and Joseph S. Renzulli) and a general interest survey by Susan Weinbrenner. She has scanned examples - lots of writing by the students
- maybe could use questions and smiley faces, unhappy faces, simple words, etc. ???

Y'all still with me?? I'm all over the place, I know. Welcome to my brain :)

Here are my thoughts on applying this in my classroom:

GREEN doing well; RED needs improvement
- main focus in my classroom is my library. I have close to 2,000 books in my library. I have spent YEARS collecting books and buying books and begging for donations to make my library this rich in books so that children have a variety from which to choose.
- library is organized by genre/type and then labeled according to a scale I created based on AR/DRA/Guided Reading (check out that post HERE)
- develop/find a student interest survey for my first graders that can be easily given so that I can more quickly determine the types of readers my kiddos are developing into (??)
- provide more time for students to actually READ
- allow students to start choosing their own books within the first few days of school (after of course introducing the library and the rules that accompany it!)


I have so many more notes and thoughts but I want you to actually read the book and take notes on your own! What did you think of when you were reading? Did you take notes? What do they look like? Did anything really hit home for you? I do hope you are enjoying the book as much as I am and I will continue to revamp my reading program as I finish this book. 


Please link up with us and join in on the discussion!
Thanks!