The Book Whisperer: Chapter 4

I am excited to be hosting our book study this week on The Book Whisperer  by Donalyn Miller.  I have really enjoyed reading this book and have made a lot of connections as I move through the chapters.

This week we are covering Chapter 4: Reading Freedom

Simply put, Donalyn begins the chapter by stressing the importance of CHOICE.  Give your students the freedom of choosing their own books.  As she begins to create a chart with her students on how to pick a book one student blurts out, "Books are Boring!"

Instead of ignoring this comment, or scolding the boy, Donalyn embraces this teachable moment to give her students permission to abandon a book.  I must say as I read these pages I started to get flashbacks to my first year of teaching in 3rd grade.  It was my first year, first classroom, first experience being in charge of the room.  As we started the year and began to talk about books I gave my kiddos permission to abandon books when they were not interested in them. What do you think happened?!

The handful of boys who preferred not to read constantly abandoned their books and used their reading time to browse our classroom library. 

I reflected a lot that year and really tried to wrap my head around how to reteach abandoning a book, but once I put those words out there, there was no going back.  I definitely think that abandoning books should be an option.  I do not think that students should be required to finish a book just because they started it, however I do feel when I teach this concept I need to put more guidelines into place that help to keep the focus on the most important part: reading, reading, reading!

As I continued to read the chapter a few Dos and Dont's stuck out in my head.  

DO: Teach your students to make a plan for their reading.  Model to students how you write down book recommendations and keep track of the books you want to read.

 DON'T: require your class to read a certain amount of books or a particular genre throughout the year. The students who do not like to read are just going to pick short books.  It looses sight of the real meaning. 
DO: celebrate all milestones!  This is especially important for students who do not read a lot.  Encourage and praise the small successes!  

DO: Take interest in what your student's are reading.  Even if it is a book you would never dream of reading, pick up a copy and read it.  Your students will feel validated and want to read more!

Do: Expose students to different authors during read-alouds.  It gives your students a chance to listen to an author they might never try on their own, but would actually like.

Donalyn finishes the chapter by talking about reading notebooks.  Since all of her students are reading their own book this is her way of keeping track of what the students are reading and their progress.  I love this idea.  I think this could even be done in kindergarten.  This would be a great differentiation tool to use with my kiddos who are working on comprehension skills.  

Here are my thoughts and "ah-ha" moments during this chapter:

Thanks for stopping by.  Be sure to check out the other posts to learn more about Chapter 4: Reading Freedom from the other fabulous bloggers who are participating in this book study!

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