Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller

I think all homeschool families should read this. While, yes, this is written for the classroom, we are applying it to the homeschool world as well.

Let me explain a little about this book, first. Well, we all know how important reading is. Miller says, "I know from personal experience that readers lead richer lives, more lives, than those who don't read."
She divides readers into three categories:

  1. Dormant Readers: These are the readers who, well, don't read. They have no desire to. Perhaps they would rather just watch the movie or read the cliff notes version. "The man who does not read great books i no better than the man who can't." - Mark Twain
  2. Developing Readers; These are the ones who are not reading at grade level.
  3. Underground Readers: These are the readers who just want to read and would prefer for the teacher to just get out of the way and let them read what they want to read.
She encourages the students to have choices. The students should not be told exactly what to read but give them options. "Learners who lose the ability to make choices become dis-empowered." - Brian Cambourne
Another awesome thing is she encourages fewer tests. I hate tests so I love this idea! She says, "... no single literacy activity has a more positive effect on students comprehension, vocabulary knowledge, spelling, writing ability, and overall academic achievement than free voluntary reading."

So, what am I doing with my children. We have made a reader's notebook. We are going to start doing genre units. We'll start off each 6 week session with a discussion on a certain genre. What is unique to that genre? How do we know the genre? Then, they read at least one book from that genre during those 6 weeks. So, there are pages in the notebook for the genre notes.
Another page in the notebook will be a running list of the books they read during the year. I'm encouraging my kids to try to read about 30 books in a year. 
There are a few more pages for a book wishlist. Any time they hear of a book they are interested in, they'll write it there so they can check it out later. This notebook will be really easy to take with them to the library or book store as well.
Finally, there will be a section for the kids to write back and forth to me. Each week, they write a message to me about their thoughts on what they're reading and I'll reply back. 

Finally, the students will write a review or record a commercial and post it onto a blog. I would love for many people to be posting to the blog so the students can look at it and get other ideas. It would be completely child friendly. If you're interested then please email me smithlinda60 AT hotmail DOT com. You can check out the blog here:

Basically, I'm a total fan! :) 

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