June 24, 2011

The Book Whisperer Part 1

I recently began reading The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller. I know I am supposed to wait to read it with everyone else. But I just could not help myself. So I succumbed and read the first two chapters. Here are some of my favorite ideas and some of the things I want to remember.

In 2000, the National Reading Panel left independent reading off of their recommendations for improving reading instruction, stating, "The Panel was unable to find a positive relationship between programs and instruction that encourage large amounts of independent reading and improvements in reading achievement." - Found in the foreword of The Book Whisperer   Ick!

Lessons should lead to more child autonomy.
Don't teach books, teach strategies and elements.
You must teach children that reading changes your life.

Types of Readers
Developing Readers - those who struggle reading on level just need more time independently reading and instruction on reading strategies.
Dormant Readers - those who read to jump through the hoops we set just need to learn that reading is enjoyable.
Underground Readers - those who prefer to read without teacher interference.

Brian Cambourne's Reading Environment
   Immersion - surrounded by books and discussion of books
   Demonstrations - structure and features of texts, skills necessary to find information
   Expectations - set them high
   Responsibility - choice (Pick a genre, but let them pick the book.)
   Employment - let them practice in real situations
   Approximation - let them make mistakes. Let them read at their current level and then celebrate their          successes.
   Response - conferences, letters on book, encourage, guide, and validate.
   Engagement - personal value, capable, anxiety free, modeled

What is an Interest-a-lyzer? I am intrigued. When I find an example I will let you know. (p. 202) Until then, here is a typed of version of the survey Miller has in the book. I modified it a little to suit my needs, but I think it should be good for anyone. It is FREE. If you download it, I would love that you rate it. Thank you!
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After reading Thinking of Teaching's Prompts I thought I would add to this post a little. Her questions:
Have you used surveys in the past? What information did you hope to get from them?
What is your plan for student surveys after reading this "whisper?"
I have used surveys in the past, but I have never used them to generate book suggestions before. I love the idea and can't wait to use them with my new class.

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