Sunday, June 23, 2013

Chapter two - The Book Whisperer

      This chapter is so full of ideas and comments, it makes my head spin!  Ms. Miller divides students into three categories - developing, dormant and underground readers.  the developing readers are our "struggling or reluctant" readers.  As a (newly formed) reading room teacher this will be the majority of my students.  I will see students in grades 2 - 5 who probably fall into this category.  My goal is to help them understand reading can be fun, is something they can do, and how to use those isolated skills in real world reading. 
      The dormant readers are those students who are passing our state tests, do well on report cards and assignments, but the moment they walk out of our door reading is not something they desire to do.  This, according to Miller, makes up the majority of our students.  How sad!  We are not showing them what a wonderful journey reading can be.  I feel in my third grade classroom last year, a large number of my kiddos left this category.  We became excited about books.  We had "book talks" at lunch, in the hall, and on our way out to recess.  I hope they will continue on this path. 
     The underground readers are the gifted ones.  The ones who read well and read all the time.  But they don't make a connection to what they are required to do in the classroom to what they love doing.  This can be overcome to a great deal by giving them the power of choice.
     One of my "take to heart" lessons from this chapter was when she talks about how reading must: have personal value, allow students to see themselves as capable, be free from anxiety, and be modeled by someone they like, respect and trust.  Amen.  Now my job for next year is to make this happen.  I am confident I can win their respect and trust.  The other three . . . remember, I am getting the children who already have their mind made up reading is anxiety filled, they are not capable and furthermore, why should something I struggle with have any value for me?!
      A few of my favorite quotes:

                     "No matter how much instruction students receive in how to decode vocabulary, improve comprehension, or increase fluency, if they seldom apply what they have learned in the context of real reading experiences, they will fail to improve as much as they could."
                     "Students must believe that they can read and that reading is worth learning how to do well.  We have to build a community that embraces every student and provides acceptance and encouragement no matter where students are on the reading curve."

      Just chapter two and look at all the information!  Whew!  I need to take a break and draw some. :)  That will allow me some time to process some of this.  Thanks for dropping by and if you work with children in the area of reading, I strongly recommend the book -  The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller.  Also check out the fantastic book study over at We Read We Blog We Teach.  I would love to hear your comments!

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