"The Book Whisperer"/Implementing in the classroom - ProTeacher Community





kelsie44 kelsie44 is offline
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"The Book Whisperer"/Implementing in the classroom
Old 03-10-2012, 07:25 PM
 
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Okay, so I just finished reading "The Book Whisperer" by Donalyn Miller and I liked her ideas, but I'm not sure how to implement them into my 7th and 8th grade Language Arts classroom. Has anyone read and used any of the strategies suggested in this book? I only have a 50 minute block of time so it's impractical to devote 30 minutes of it to independent reading time. Any advice?


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Shhhhhhh
Old 03-20-2012, 07:34 PM
 
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What is the "book whisperer? sounds exciting? I'm teaching 8/9 language arts but they are low. Could I use it? They love to read!
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Good concept but....
Old 03-21-2012, 07:45 PM
 
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I liked the overall concept in the book which is kids become stronger readers by actually reading books (amazing isn't it). The author advocates students picking out their own books in a certain number of generas. She requires all of her students to read 40 books by the end of the school year. Out of the 40 books students must read a certain number of books in each genera. Unfortunately, the book is not specific in HOW you go about assessing student learning or comprehension. I'm rather literal and need a clear cut plan on what to do. Also, she has a ninety minute block of time to work within. Out of that ninety minutes she uses thirty of it for independent reading time. Which is great if you have ninety minutes, but not so much when you only have 50 minutes.
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Book Whisperer
Old 04-02-2012, 11:03 AM
 
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I read it, but it didn't whisper to me. ha ha

I agree with the previous poster that it is impractical. I agree with the overall philosophy to get kids to read more and love books, but I've already done that in my class.

I did take a couple of things away from it though. One was to have kids read a certain number of books and present evidence of their reading in a variety of ways. I liked her idea of book commercials. It really is a quick and cool way to get kids to talk about books they read. It does get others excited. I frequently hear, "Can I go down and check out that book now, since he/she finished it?"

I also liked how she defined the different genres. I have always had kids do one book project per quarter. I introduce a different genre and the project is based on the genre and various reading standards. Now I included a definition sheet for each genre as we introduce them. It has made me really think about varying the genres in my read alouds, too.
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Book Whisperer and Reading Workshop in 8th
Old 05-08-2012, 10:48 AM
 
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I am a HUGE fan of Miller's concepts, but I agree with previous posters. The Book Whisperer is more of an inspirational book than a practical "how-to" guide, but don't give up!

I did further research into the 4 books she mentions that served as her workshop guides. I have looked at Nancie Atwell for the majority of my guidance. I even went to Maine and did a week internship at her school. It was fascinating to see how it all works.

I have structured my class so that students read 10-15 minutes at the beginning of each 50 minute class. I do this instead of a bell ringer. Fridays I dedicate as "reading workshop" days. That is the only day I have them read 30 minutes. I don't do whole class novels so instead we talk about literary elements in the context of their own books. They write a "literary letter-essay" about their personal reading book about once a month(ish). We also have round table discussions about once every 4-6 weeks. So far we have done "Types of Narrative Leads", "Theme", "What is Literature", and "Plot Development". I also use short stories if I want a shared literary experience. I also assign 30 minutes of reading a night. Atwell says this translates to about 20 pages a night. I am very bad about daily logging of reading, but most of them do it.

This is my first year doing it, but so far I really like what I'm seeing. I have seen such a love of reading develop in our school. Students that have been in intensive reading for the two years I have known them have probably read 15-20 books this year. Now, they aren't reading Jane Austen quite yet, but it's still amazing to see them want to read every book an author has written.

I will say that it is a tough switch to make mentally. I think assessment is the toughest part. It requires a little more anecdotal evidence. The comprehension check has to happen in individual conversations. That is my weakest thing write now.

I am thinking about changes for next year. I would like to have a literary topic for each week (e.g. protagonist vs. antagonist, dynamic characters, plot development, descriptive writing, point of view etc.) and have them post to a discussion board each week. I am also toying with the idea of using the social media site Goodreads to have them track their reading progress.

I realize this was a ton of random stuff to throw at you, but it can be done in middle school. It's not easy, but worth it!! Feel free to message me if you have questions. I don't have all the answers, but I'm working through it.

** Oh, also! I initially tried to do the genre requirements, but quickly abandoned that in favor of getting kids to find books they loved. Some of my lower readers got too caught up in reading the "right" books which defeated the purpose. I do a genre study though of the different characteristics and then we have a round table about what types of books they are reading and their opinions on different genres.



Last edited by Ms. Katie; 05-08-2012 at 10:50 AM.. Reason: added stuff
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Old 04-14-2013, 11:00 AM
 
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Ms Katie - I've plan on implementing the ideas of The Book Whisperer and have been searching online for how to apply them, your post was by far the most helpful thing I've found. Do you have any more tips or ideas?
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More Ideas for Implementing Book Whisperer?
Old 09-22-2013, 04:57 PM
 
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Hi, thanks for the ideas. I just started reading this book yesterday. Wow. I know that for a middle school teacher with 234 (and more probably) students, I will have to adapt a way to implement this. Just like Kelsie44, I was wondering if you have any additional strategies that you have been using?

Thanks!
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