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The Book Whisperer - not a fan
Old 07-25-2013, 02:43 PM
 
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I just finished The Book Whisperer, and I have to say that I didn't enjoy this book. I read it because I have seen it mentioned here on PT over the last year or so, many times.

I can't put my finger on why I didn't like it. My approach to reading is similar to how she teaches in her class - not in every way, but same general philosophy. So why didn't I like it? Maybe I felt a tone in her book like she thought she was the best thing since sliced bread? I don't know. I wanted to like it! I wanted to walk away with something. Instead, I feel disappointed.

Please tell me what I might have missed? Why did you love it - or not love it?



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I read it this summer also.
Old 07-25-2013, 02:57 PM
 
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Partly because of all I'd heard on PT and partly because some at my school were talking about it. For me it was simply okay. I felt like she was trying to make this amazing thing out of something similar to what we've been doing in our school corp for years.

So for me: not good, not bad.
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Like it
Old 07-25-2013, 03:19 PM
 
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I got a lot of great ideas and inspiration from the book, but I also was annoyed with her tone throughout the book. She does seem a little inflated at times. Overall, I liked the book, though.
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Old 07-25-2013, 03:23 PM
 
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One of the other things that I. Was thinking is her 40 book Challenge. How would that be encouraging to a child who hates to read? I'd imagine all they'd feel is pressure, even if they are allowed to choose their own books. I could see my brother being one of these kids, when he was younger.

With that said, I am going to try the challenge - with a smaller number - and see how/if it works.
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Old 07-25-2013, 04:10 PM
 
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I also felt the tone was a bit off, but I loved the message and the 40 book challenge has made a huge impact on my students. I needed to heat this message to give me a kick in the pants to say screw it, abandon state adopted curriculum Nd take liberties. I teach special ed and many kids hate reading but I make sure they feel success and are excited about working towards 40 books.


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Old 07-25-2013, 04:19 PM
 
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I read it this summer, as well. Thank God it was at the library, because I didn't like it either. Since I teach primary, I think I really didn't get much out of it. I never thought about the tone, but you're right! Maybe, that's why I had such a dislike of the book. I am glad you said something, because I keep reading what a great book it is and I thought that there was something wrong with me.
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Old 07-25-2013, 04:29 PM
 
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The tone is off-putting, it's a little too saccharine. But I really liked the ideas.

It's probably not filled with ground breaking or earth shattering ideas for the experienced reading teacher, but it was definitely a new way of looking at teaching reading for me.

Quote:
One of the other things that I. Was thinking is her 40 book Challenge. How would that be encouraging to a child who hates to read? I'd imagine all they'd feel is pressure
I've had "hate to read" kids who were changed, not dramatically but changed, by the 40 Book Challenge. It's all in how you present it. It's not a requirement; it's a challenge.

One of my hate to read kids read 6 books all year. But you know what? That's 5 more than he read the previous year. It took him literally 3 months to read one of his choices, but he worked and worked and worked at it. Another student initially refused to read anything but Justin Bieber biographies. But she eventually had to move on to something else, and she ended up finding another genre that she enjoyed. Neither read 40 books, but both were successful and knew it.
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Old 07-25-2013, 04:39 PM
 
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That's a good point that it's a challenge, not a requirement.

I did agree with her on the points about novel units, book projects, and reading responses. But I think that's something that comes with experience, when you feel more comfortable branching away from traditional ideas.

Maybe I'll return to the book again, in a month or two, and read it again - knowing how the book is written. Maybe I'll be more open and will find some new practices!
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Old 07-25-2013, 04:52 PM
 
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Yes, I'd read it again knowing that the tone is odd or off-putting to you.

Also, just a note. I've done the 40 book challenge for 4 years. I've only had about 8 students reach 40 books (a couple others probably reached 40 but refused to write the titles down in the chart at the front of their reading journal, and I refused to go through their reading journals and count titles for them).

The average is 30, but I strongly suspect that if I made it a 30 book challenge, the average would be 20.
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Book Whisperer
Old 07-26-2013, 02:40 AM
 
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Gosh, this discussion prompted me to dig my copy out and skim it a bit. I actually don't get the "tone" that many of you mentioned. I see it as a popular source that reinvorgates my teaching and supports what I believe should happen in a good reading classroom.

And in 4th grade, we do a 30 Book Challenge. I do like the idea of calling it challenge-that word is meaningful for kids

I've done it for 2 years. Not all kids complete it-actually some of the higher readers don't because they choose lengthy books (Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Chronicles..) and are happy just reading! Which is really what one of the the goals are.


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3rd Grade 30 Book Challenge
Old 07-26-2013, 04:08 AM
 
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30 in 3rd seemed like a good theme. It worked very well and over half the class completed all the genres. Since it was our first attempt, I learned that I need to do a bit more hype at the start and keep up the enthusiasm periodically as a reminder. I will definitely continue this year.
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Tone
Old 07-26-2013, 05:32 AM
 
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I agree that the tone was a little off putting, but I did like that her enjoyment of reading was passed on to her students. I had some third graders who told me they still hated reading at the end of the year and it made me so sad. I like the 30 books for 3rd graders and will try it. I also wanted to try recommendation piece. I thought I would start with index cards they can fill out when they want to recommend a book and work toward posting their recommendations on the class website.

Looking at the genres it make me see that besides some series books on Star Wars and Animorphs, I didn't have science fiction books, especially for girls and lower readers, so I went shopping at scholastic so there are books for everyone. I am trying to read all the books in my class library, too, but there are so many!
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Old 07-26-2013, 06:01 AM
 
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Taffy, I need to read more kids chapter books as well. I feel like my knowledge of kids chapter books has gotten away from me over the last few years. My goal is to read books from my library this year too. I was going to keep a notebook for myself for the 40 Book Challenge, but I'm thinking of making mine a posterso kids can see how fast or slow I read a book.

As far as recommendations, I made a poster for my room. The kids will be able to write the title of the book, author, genre, their name. Then kids can go to that specific person if they want to know more about the book before deciding to read it.
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I think
Old 07-26-2013, 07:01 AM
 
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this book just validated the way I teach. I love the fact that the students have options and my class was very successful with the challenge.

When I first did the challenge and introduced it at open house, I had many parents tell me their child would not do it. We were all pleasantly surprised at the vast number of students that did achieve the goal. I did bribe them throughout the year. Every 10 books they got a cool pencil, eraser, bookmark, etc...

The competitive side really came out in some of them!
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Incentive
Old 07-26-2013, 02:26 PM
 
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At the beginning of the year I did not offer an incentive for the 30 books ~ just the challenge idea. The students really bought into it and were excited. As a surprise at the end, those who succeeded received a certificate and a ribbon with a medal that said "Readers are Leaders." I found them very inexpensive on a website on the internet. The challenge will definitely be part of my curriculum again this year!
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