The Book Whisperer- Ch 7

Miller has convinced me of the benefits of implementing a free-reading classroom- “allowing students to choose their own books and control most of their own decisions about their reading, writing, and thinking (which prepares) students for literate lives” better than traditional instruction.  I agree that “actual reading is the most valuable classroom activity.  No matter what intervention strategies you employ to support developing readers or what enrichment projects you provide to your most gifted ones, none of it is going to affect the reading achievement…the way hours of time spent reading will..”  Are you convinced?

Even though it is hard or scary to give up the control, I’m ready to let go.  By doing this Miller has not only inspired all of her students to love reading but she has developed such special relationships with them.  Even years after leaving her room, students return to talk books.  Priceless.

Yet it is sad as one student stated, “No on promotes reading like you.”  Miller writes, “There needs to be more of us, and we need to get a lot louder about telling our administrators, colleagues, and parents what we believe…Students will read if we give them the books, the time and the enthusiastic encouragement to do so.”

Who else is ready to join Miller and to get loud?

I hope as you implement her approach in your classrooms that you will take time to share the books that you and your students are reading.  Please feel free to leave a book recommendation so we can continue to chat about books.



Filed under The Book Whisperer Discussion

9 responses to “The Book Whisperer- Ch 7

  1. Katie

    I’m definitely going to recommend this book to everyone I know who is a teacher! The anecdotes of these children were just priceless.

  2. Scarlett Perry

    I have enjoyed this book so much. On pages 172-173, I was amazed re: Miller’s description of how readers bond with their students just by simple free-reading time. Her insight is so true; my hope is that my students can connect with me by such a simple method–reading (what a great key to their futures).

  3. I know this is going to be a struggle at my school but I am going to find a way to make it happen!!

  4. I am very interested in hearing about your progress as you implement this approach. Perhaps as we share, we will be able to help each other. I think the key will be when others begin to see the results. If you can get one other person to get on board then you have a partner in crime. Good luck and keep us posted.

  5. Mollie

    I understand what Renee means. I think it would be difficult for our staff to change all aspects of our reading instruction. I think there are components of her approach that could be implemented over time. I think even if we did just a few of her ideas and stopped doing some of the traditional practices, that we could make a big difference. I was touched by how much her students cared about her and she them. That is what teaching is all about; Making the connections with the students, showing them we care about them as people, not a number or a test score. I would like to see more of how she structured the writing component. But I guess that is another book. I really enjoyed this book. It was reader friendly. I felt like I was listening to a friend. I am inspired!

  6. Cynthia Lewis-Jessup

    I am a librarian at a K-5 school. I read this book in August and loved it…I found so much of what she had experienced to be what I have seen in school with students and also with my own children!!

    Currently at the school where I work, I get grades 3-5 for an hour per week. Has any Librarian tried implementing the Book Whisperer approach in a library class setting…can this be done ;)? I would very much like to hear about anyone’s experience with that…

    Thank you,

    Cynthia Lewis-Jessup

    • Hi Cynthia,
      Thank you for your comment. I am enjoying my second year as librarian at an elementary school. I, too, have been trying to think of how to implement her program. I have been disappointed, hoping more people at my school would fall in love with this book. I thought that in the beginning of the school year to put checkered table clothes on the tables with stacks of various books for a book tasting as I present the challenge. But I felt like I needed to get more teachers on board. Another idea I hope to implement is using the bulletin board in the hallway for students to post book recommendations. I’ve also thought about helping with our tutoring program. I could do a 15 minute lesson, have 30 minutes to just read, and then 15 minutes for book chat. So far, these are just ideas. Let me know if you are able to implement her approach in your setting.

      • Cynthia Lewis-Jessup

        Hi Esther,

        I will let you know what happens…I am meeting with my principal this morning to get her thoughts/feedback on “switching” to this model. My main concern is that the book is written from the perspective of someone who meets with the kids every day (??) or several times a week for a large chunk of time, and most librarians have classes just once a week or twice a week for half an hour…so…that leaves us in a different situation. How often do you have your classes for the upper grades and for how long?


  7. I am sorry I didn’t reply sooner. My schedule is a modified open/flexible schedule. I have scheduled classes for PK-3 on a 2 week rotation. Most days I have 2 or 3 scheduled classes and the rest of the time is for open checkout or time available for teachers, especially grades 4 & 5 to schedule time needed in the library or to plan & collaborate with me on lessons or projects. Right now I only know of 2 teachers in the 4th grade who are trying to implement her program in small ways. They make sure students have 30 min. a day to read and they use a journal. My role and schedule allows me to encourage and support teachers with the program. It makes me sad.

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