Thanks for joining me for a review of The Book Whisperer, Chapter 4.
When I read this chapter, Reading Freedom, it made me think of summer time reading on the deck, cool drink in hand, not a care in the world; a book in my lap, iPad off to the side, the whole day in front of me, and the freedom to read whatever I like!
Donalyn encourages (actually, she insists) that her students read whatever they like, as long as they’re reading. How wonderful is that? It’s just like my summer time reading.
There are some guidelines though: The students must read 40 books during the year and they need to sample from a variety of genres, but that’s basically it.
A dream-come-true for a committed reader, but quite possibly a nightmare for a book-phobe! But Donalyn stands her ground, gives LOTS of encouragement and support, and never gives up on those reluctant readers. She admits that not all kids meet her 40 book requirement, but hey, if a child who read only one book the previous year manages to read 20 books in her class, that’s nothing but a reason to celebrate!
I LOVE this woman’s attitude.
Donalyn also requires her kids to keep a reader’s notebook. After all, as teachers, we certainly need some accountability from our students. The notebook includes a tally list, a reading list, a books-to-read list and response entries.
I started keeping my own reader’s notebook 10 years ago. It’s nothing fancy, as you can see below. I added some tabs so I could easily find each year.
And I colour-coded my entries, but that’s about it. I can’t believe how incredibly satisfying it is to look back in my notebook and see all the reading I’ve done. It’s also great for checking which books I’ve already read when it’s time for a new purchase.
You can read more thoughts on The Book Whisperer here.