We are almost to the end of The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller and there is just so much in this book that makes me want to get right back into my classroom!
Don’t we all have things we do because “We’ve always done it that way” or “That’s how my building does it”?
These are things we say, but they’re not real reasons to make instruction decisions. Donalyn calls them “Wallpaper” and gives some alternatives to make common practices more meaningful to our students.
Since I teach first grade, many of the practices addressed in this chapter are not part of my classroom.
BUT there are some great ideas here.
My personal favorite is Donalyn’s suggestion for replacing book reports and book talks with Book Commercials. She gives her students a few minutes on Fridays to simply share book recommendations which she calls “impromptu testimonials from students about the books that they have read and enjoyed.”
I’m going to designate an iPad in my classroom as the “Book Commercial Channel.” My plan is to put the iPad in a bin with several books that I have recorded commercials for at the beginning of the year. The students can watch my commercials and pick a book from the bin. After a bit, once my students have had some time to learn how to make recommendations, I’ll open it up to them to add to the book bin and commercial channel.
The other thing Donalyn talks about is rewards for reading. I actually mentioned Book It in my post last week…it’s one of those things that’s “wallpaper” at my school, but it’s also something that I LOVED as an elementary school student!
Her point is that we should teach students reading itself is a reward. I don’t want to give up Book It, really because of my own personal memories of that big Book It pin that I loved putting stickers on! So, here’s what I’m thinking, rather than relying on reading logs (which we all know don’t really tell us if kids are reading or not) I’m going to give out coupons for participating in our “Reading Community” in the classroom. As long as kids are working, reading and participating at school, they should be rewarded.
In the whisper about End of Year Surveys Donalyn reminds us that if we get students excited to read at school, they are more likely to read at home!
I’ve updated my Student Interest Surveys to include an End of Year Survey, too. You can get it free by clicking the image below.
I’d love to hear what you think about The Book Whisperer! 🙂