Jan 12, 2012

Friday Focus - January 6

 "Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him." ~Richard McKenna

Over Christmas break I discovered a book that is a MUST read...The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller.  I think it should go hand-in-hand with The Daily Five. Miller's passion for reading and motivating students to read was inspiring and practical throughout the entire book.  Miller is a 6th grade Language Arts teacher, but I think there is still a lot to be gained for even our kindergarten teachers to read.  If you're interested in checking it out, there are 5 copies in the professional section of the media center (I also have a copy I'd be happy to loan out).

Miller shares her initial enthusiasm followed by the ultimate failure of her early reading units where she used strategies such as using whole-class novels, comprehension worksheets, and key vocabulary terms. She takes you through her journey to now having her students read 40+ books a year...books by their choice and never finding a student she couldn't "reach" with reading (even struggling readers).

I'd love to give you my summary or key points, but I'm afraid I wouldn't give the book the justice it deserves, so instead, I'd like to just share  a self-reflection activity that she shares with teachers.  In the chapter on "Walking the Walk," Miller writes about how important it is for teachers to lead the way with motivation for reading by sharing with your students things about you as a reader.  Here are some questions she gives for teachers to reflect on to "find your inner reader" so you can better share your reading experiences with your students:
  • What were your reading experiences as a child?
  • Were these positive or negative experiences for you?
  • Do you see yourself as a reader now?
  • How do you share your reading experiences--both current experiences and those from the past--with your students?
  • With which group of readers in your classroom do you most identify?
  • Who have been your role models for reading?
  • List the last five books you have read.
  • How long did it take for you to read these books?
  • Which books were read for a job or for a school-related purpose?
  • Which books were read for pleasure?
Since reading her book, I have begun reading much more than I did in the past.  I also gained the idea of encouraging 4/5th graders to bring their books to the lunch line to "steal reading minutes" and enjoy that my lunch conversations with students are on the books they are reading...they've actually added to my "to read" pile (or maybe I should call it a mountain).  I only wish I could go back in time to teach my former students to inspire them the way Miller does.

If you read her book, I'd love to hear about it.  Also, you can find her blog here and know that she's working on a 2nd book (I have already chatted with her on twitter in response to her book and to ask that question!)

 "No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance." ~Atwood H. Townsend

No comments:

Post a Comment