In our Teacher Leaders Network Forum community, we’re celebrating the publication of TLNF’er Donalyn Miller’s first book with our virtual whistles, cheers and confetti. Inspired in part by her many posts about adolescent reading at her Teacher Magazine blog, The Book Whisperer, Donalyn’s fresh-off-the-press title of the same name is already drawing rave comments from Amazon’s “Vine” reviewers.
The book’s subtitle is a variation on Donalyn’s oft-repeated mantra: You can awaken the inner reader in every child. In her first years of teaching, writes Donalyn in the book’s introduction, “I despaired that I would never inspire my students to find the rapturous joy in reading that I did.”
Looking back on those days now, I see that the answer was right in front of me. On those rare opportunities when I allowed my students to choose their own books, their interest in completing assignments was sparked; I just failed to make the connection. Letting students choose their own books for every assignment was not done in any classroom I had ever been in, and I did not know how to design instruction that would accomplish the goals of my curriculum and still allow students to make choices.
Donalyn knows how now. And she’s willing to whisper what she’s learned into the ears of other teachers eager to share their love of books with their students.
You’ll find all the details about The Book Whisperer at the Jossey-Bass website, where you can also download the table of contents and a sample chapter, “There and Back Again,” in PDF format. The publisher’s blurb points out that the book includes a “dynamite list” of recommended kid-lit. You’ll have to buy the book to get to that!