Book Review: The Book Whisperer
The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller
In his autobiography, Ben Franklin talks about teaching himself to write by reading good writers and then emulating their style as well as the quality of their thought.
Franklin's words resonated with me when I read the Book Whisperer, in which sixth-grade language arts teacher Donalyn Miller talks about bringing her students into the pleasure of reading by allowing young readers to choose the books that they want and then jumping in.
Allowing readers to choose books means knowing those readers well enough to know what they might like and then providing the options that they might enjoy. It's that simple: know your students. Let them be. Let them read. And they will, and they will do well and if you are a language arts teacher, they will write, and they will write well.
The Book Whisperer had me thinking of Franklin and how he built his life on the books he read. They led him to the company he kept, and up he went through the various social circles of people who created this nation.
Read well, be well, and do good. That's everything.
Everything starts with knowing just a little and connecting through text. There begins the world.I liked this book for the good, practical insights that Miller offers on teaching reading to middle school kids. Basically, good teaching comes down to knowing your students and helping them find the books that will speak to them. We who love to read know this. We who love kids know that letting the kids know you love them and respect them as capable human beings is 90 percent of teaching. When this attitude comes naturally to a teacher, it's almost like getting paid to show up.
I gained a lot from this book, and I'm looking forward to trying some of Miller's strategies in the classroom and using the resources she recommends.