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Chapter 6: The Book Whisperer

The Book Whisperer.png

Chapter 6 ~ Cutting the Teacher Strings ~ was a very compelling read.  I'm laughing at myself here because if you've read this chapter then you'll recognize my lame joke:)

But seriously it was immensely thought-provoking, the gist of it being that teachers need to take a long hard look at the traditional and so called tried and true practices around reading instruction.

Just because it's the norm, doesn't mean it's worthwhile. In particular, Donalyn slams whole class novels, reading logs, incentive programs (think accelerated reader and the like), book reports, round robin reading, popcorn reading, and teaching to the test.

She even goes as far as shunning book talks, instead preferring book commercials and book reviews.

Donalyn offers well thought-out reasons for these choices and gives many viable alternatives.

"Any activity that substantially replaces reading, writing, and discourse in the classroom needs to be better than the activity it replaces, and nothing, not even test prep, is better for student's reading ability than just plain reading, day after day."


I think this quote is brilliant and couldn't agree more!








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5 comments

  1. I couldn't agree with you or Donalyn more. Reading this chapter I remembered how in high school I barely skimmed some whole class novels because they weren't interesting to me. We use AR at my school and it's highly valued by many. I don't object to it, if it motivates kids to read, but after reading this book i can no longer make kids stick to a certain reading level. Last week I told one boy in my class that when he reads alone it might be better to choose an easier book than the one he had for AR. But that if he wants to read harder things, I'll help him with the tough words. He's the type that remembers the word once you've helped him with it. Last year he spent at least a week working through a Fly Guy book, way above his AR level! But he'd ask me what a word was and sit and read and re-read till he finished the book. I'm trying so hard to make all my kiddos reading experiences as genuine and interesting to them as possible after reading this book.
    Chrissy

    First Grade Found Me

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    1. It sounds like you're doing all the right things given that your school uses AR. I'm lucky I don't have to deal with that. My kids read levelled books with me during guided reading, but after that it's all their choice. It's cool how the little guy in your class is willing to persevere. Excellent character trait:)

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  2. A very "compelling" reflection on chapter 6. I have to admit - I was one of the parents who signed their kids' reading logs the morning before it needed to be handed in to the teacher. And I was passionate about my kids developing a love of reading and books.

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    1. Yup! Me, too, Sandi. Especially in high school in the days when emails from teachers or the school weren't the norm. I only saw the info my kids wanted me to see:)

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  3. Yes, brilliant. I like how she talks about "unexamined wallpaper." She's not about doing something just because it's always been done. I'd like to be more like her.

    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

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