The Book Whisperer: Chapter Five

Welcome to Chapter 5 of The Book Whisperer!

Chapter 5, Walking the Walk, was a quick, inspiring read.

The big idea in this chapter is that it’s the teacher’s responsibility to be an awesome reading role model.

Readers are made, not born (p. 108).

And since we can’t assume all students will get the role modelling they need at home, we, as teachers, MUST ensure they receive it at school.

Donalyn spoke briefly about the two different stances teachers take towards reading, which I found very interesting.

First is the efferent stance. This is when teachers see reading as “a way to acquire knowledge”. Obviously this is super important.

But! Is it more important than taking an aesthetic stance? This is where teachers see reading as an “emotional and intellectual journey”.

Donalyn argues that both are needed, but the aesthetic stance is the most important one. I whole heartedly agree with her and so does Ruddell (1995). Ruddell said that teachers with an aesthetic stance do a much better job motivating students to read.

If kids aren’t LOVING reading, then they aren’t going to read. And chances are this will carry right on into adulthood.

Donalyn shared this revealing statistic:

Findings from a 2007 Associated Press poll, reported in the Washington Post, indicate that the average adult American read only four books that entire year. This statistic does not tell the whole story; of the adults who read, their average was seven books, but 25 percent of the respondents did not read a book at all (Fram, 2007). (p. 106)

It gets better! Or scarier, I should say:

Teachers fare no better on surveys of adult reading behaviours than the general population; in the 2004 article “The Peter Effect,” Anthony and Mary Applegate report that of the preservice teachers whom they studied, 54.3 percent were unenthusiastic about reading, leaving little hope that these teachers would be able to inspire students to engage in an activity they themselves did not enjoy.  (p. 107)

WOW! I think that’s crazy. I’m sure the stats would be similar for Canadians, too.

If more than half the teachers aren’t avid readers, how can we pass on a love of reading to our students? Especially to those borderline students?

Donalyn shares her reading plan (so that teachers can “walk the walk”), which includes reasons why adults should read children’s books. Yay! Now I have an excuse for my teen lit weakness:)


I’m an AVID reader. I even have a reading journal. I’m always buying children’s books for my class and I read to them every single day!

But do I share with them my own personal loves for reading? Not directly. They know I love books because of my enthusiastic reading, all the books in my classroom, and all the reading I expect them to do.

But I’m not sure I’ve ever actually said to them, “I LOVE reading. I can’t live without it. Look! Here’s the reading journal I’ve been keeping for the last 10 years.”

So…I’m walking most of the walk, but not the whole kit and caboodle. That will change:)

You can read more thoughts on The Book Whisperer here.

Thanks for stopping by!


6 thoughts on “The Book Whisperer: Chapter Five”

  1. Fun blinkie. Didn't know that you area teen lit junkie. An EA I worked with is a Young Adult author. She has a trilogy in print – the first one based in Victoria. Amber Frost by Suzi Davis. I enjoyed the series and recommend them.


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