The Book Whisperer {Chapter 7}


Well, friends.  It’s the last week for The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller.  I have loved reading this book and seeing how others are planning to put Donalyn’s ideas into practice.  It will certainly take some adjustment for primary, but I feel inspired to do the work and make reading more than just a content area for my students.

In Chapter 7 Donalyn tells us that we must do more.  We must take initiative and make a difference for our students.  She quotes several eighth grade students who tell her she is the only teacher they ever had who was passionate about reading.  What a sad thought.

Donalyn Miller Quote

So, to recap my plans for this year and the changes I’m going to make to implement more of The Book Whisperer into my classroom…

  • I am reorganizing my classroom library to make it more child friendly and adding text levels to the books so students can better select books for independent reading. (I was going to have this done in June…I go back to school in two weeks and it’s barely started….I’m working on it!)
  • I am adding more student selected reading time to my literacy centers with a couple new options for reading seating.
  • I am implementing Reader’s Notebooks with some type of book tracker (Mrs. B. First Grade has a perfect primary one here) and keep a notebook for myself.
  • I will post what I am currently reading in my classroom.
  • I will use a survey to learn more about my students’ preferences at the beginning of the year and an end of the year survey to reflect on my practice and their habits.

Lastly, I will talk with teachers about my plans.  We need to work together to see any real change in practice and student outcomes.  Just last week a wonderful teacher friend of mine posted on Facebook that she thought testing was driving out a love of reading in our students.  She is probably right.

If you haven’t read The Book Whisperer yet, RUN for your copy now and I hope you love it as much as I did.

If you’re reading along, or have already read The Book Whisperer, I’d love for you to link up!

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3 Responses to The Book Whisperer {Chapter 7}

  1. Mrs.S says:

    Hello! I’m looking for Book Whisperer ideas for 1st grade, and I came across your blog. Curious how your year went and what advice you might have for becoming a 1st Grade Whisperer. Is it possible?


    • Elisabeth says:

      Hi! Thanks for stopping by!
      I do think it’s possible to make a first grade classroom Book Whisperer-ish. It certainly looks different than in an upper elementary or middle school classroom because our kiddos can’t necessarily read yet, but I my biggest take away as I worked through the year was to make sure I have giving my students the freedom to make reading choices and talking to them about my own reading. We built independent reading stamina and offered tons of book choices, choices about where to sit and who to read with, even choices of electronic books (EPIC was my favorite!). I also really tried to focus on authentic practice during centers. I still included games in centers, but much less of the drill type practice and much more looking for sightwords or spelling patterns in text with browsing boxes or classroom library books. It was honestly amazing how much just talking to my class about what I was reading did for our reading community, too. I posted what I was currently reading – professional books, books for my enjoyment and chapter books with my 5 year old daughter – in the classroom behind my reading table and two of my reading groups got so into seeing when my books changed and what I was reading next, especially what I was reading with my daughter! I also read less traditional chapter books (at least for first grade) aloud – The Wizard of Oz, Pippi Longstocking, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Mouse and the Motorcycle – and it gave me the chance to share some of my favorite books, series and authors with my class. We even had a huge Charlie and the Chocolate Factory party which was super fun!
      I think, overall, my biggest take away to ask myself “how does this lesson/standard apply to life long readers?” and to make sure I was providing a variety of materials for students to have plenty of choice in their reading.
      Hope that helps! Good luck!


      • Mrs.S says:

        Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my question! Our school year is off and running, and I’m using your ideas!


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