I am so excited to be able to host the final chapter of The Book Whisperer book study!
I first read this fabulous book last summer and fell in LOVE with the philosophy behind
Donalyn's Miller view of reading.
My name is Lynda and you can usually find me over at my little blog, Curls and a Smile.
I have taught both first and second grades for 14 years and am very excited to be teaching fourth grade this coming school year.
When I reviewed this book again this summer, I saw it with a whole new perspective. The readers that I will be working with will have more experience and know themselves better as readers. Unlike my little ones in the past, I won't be as focused on the "how to read" but more on the "why we read"and this will enrich our paths as we look at becoming life long readers.
I know this and there will be some growing pains. It is not a simple transition and I am the first to admit that I am a work in progress but I am committed to making sure that the joy of reading is first and foremost in my classroom.
As Ms. Miller suggests, I believe in giving my students as much book time as possible. They keep books as their desks, they have access to any and every book in my classroom (including the books I have read to them in class) and I have a classroom library available to them. I work to give them a variety of reading materials including several genres and access to electronic books and audio books to use alongside their written books.
I read in front of them. Oh yes! I read all the time and I share my reasons and purposes for reading whatever book may be in my hand. Whether it be a professional book to a magazine to the latest book in a brand new series, I talk to my students and engage them in conversation. I explain that what intrigues me to read certain books and even tell them about the times that I just couldn't get into a book and had to put it to the side. Some may wonder why....others understand that for my students to develop their ability to understand themselves as readers, they have to have a model. For some students, we are the only models they have and that is critical. Our students need our ENTHUSIASTIC ENCOURAGEMENT to discover themselves as readers.
Reading for enjoyment and interest are encouraged in my classroom and choice for their independent read is theirs alone. I lend my assistance to my students to encourage reading different types of books and make recommendation to them based on what I know from about each student. I take every opportunity I can to make connections to books they might ignite that fire to read.
One of the most striking sections of this chapter is when Ms. Miller discusses connecting with her students through books. She discusses how reading and book recommendations can be implemented as a way of building relationships with her students. I love the thought of reading becoming entwined with deep understanding of each child in her class and not only feeding them academically but emotionally as well. Building trust with her students. When you connect with your students, you give value to their opinion, their thinking and their understanding of the world around them. Providing a safe environment will nurture life long learners and readers.
I, like some of you, have struggled with the transition of grading and assignments and I completely understand that integral piece of this conversation. We must each figure out how best to work these teaching practices into out daily routines, classroom lessons and learning environment to help foster and grow life long readers. Finding, building and valuing a love of reading is what we want for all our students.
Throughout the journey with Ms. Miller and her students, we have experienced them grow and develop into true and sincere readers but the question remains...what happens when they leave our classrooms?
We will question ourselves because of the culture of teacher centered instruction and standardized tests and we know that there is a chance that the next teacher may not have the same environment to continue to foster our students reading in the same way.
But as we learned from Ms. Miller, we have to find ways to give joy to reading and know that when we let them go, we have opened their eyes to the beauty of being a reader. Her students returned, looking for her to discuss, share and talk about books.
Once the fire was lit, the flame could not be put out.
Ms. Miller's The Book Whisperer is an amazing read and challenges each and every one of us to awaken the reader that is in every student that enters our classroom.
Thank you so much for reading along with me and all the teachers here at
We Read, We Teach, We Blog.
It has been my absolute pleasure to be part of this fabulous book study!
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Come by and visit me!