The Book Whisperer - Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child

How much do I want to read more? 8/10

The author is humble and obviously a passionate reader who knows how to ignite this same passions to children.
It's a treasure to read, not only if you want to invest some time in books, but for any other topic. It teaches you how someone teaches another human being, in a beautiful way.
Interesting to see how she struggled at first as a teacher. How she missed the heart of her message, trying to copy her "Mentors".
Her epiphany was to focus back on what she truly loved about book, the way they can change lives, educate, transport you.


Have you ever wondered how to get your students to keep a record of their reading? Have you figured out how to encourage students to respond to reading without squeezing every drop of joy out of it? Donalyn has.

-- Jeff Anderson


I do not have a Ph.D. What I am is a reading teacher, just like many of you. My source of credibility is that I am a teacher who inspires my students to read a lot and love reading long after they leave my class.

Anyone who calls herself or himself a reader can tell you that it starts with encountering great book.

Although I have read about and implemented many of these ideas myself, including how to create reading and writing workshops and teach comprehension strategies, The Book Whisperer has something different to offer. Toni Morrison has said, “If there’s a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”
the book that I always wished I could find when I was learning how to teach.
I needed a book that showed me how to connect my love of reading to my teaching of reading.

No matter what kind of reader you are, know that I value you and welcome you here.

CHAPTER 1 - There and Back Again

What we have loved
Others will love
And we will teach them how

—- William Wordsworth

Reading has helped me a lot with writing my book. All of the books I read gave me ideas and thoughts for writing. Without books, I would not be writing a storybook today.

—- Jonathan

My mother was my world, and she brought reading into it. Thinking about how I walked through my childhood with my nose perennially stuck in a book, I sometimes wonder whether she regretted turning me on to reading so early.

I am as much a composite of all of the book characters I have loved as of the people I have met.
I will never climb Mt. Everest, but I have seen its terrifying, majestic summit through the eyes of Jon Krakauer and Peak Marcello.
Going to New York City for the first time, at forty, was like visiting an old friend I knew from E. L. Konigsburg’s From the Mixed-Up Files.
readers lead richer lives, more lives, than those who don’t read.

when I chose teaching as my second career (following my first one as a bookkeeper), I walked into my classroom convinced I would share this passion with my students. No matter what else I had to offer them, I could offer my enthusiasm for books.
It wasn’t that easy.

Wake-Up Call

I spent a month planning a unit for one of my favorite books, The View from Saturday, by E. L. Konigsburg. This story of an emotionally and physically damaged, but inspiring teacher.
I read the book again and, in the margins of my copy, made careful notes of conversational points to discuss.
The unit was a work of art, a culmination of everything I had learned about good teaching, and I was proud of it.
It was a disaster.

Lost in the Wilderness

The fact that I ever taught this way haunts me still.
The students did not connect with the characters to the extent that I had imagined they would.
The children were compliant and did the work, but their hearts were not in it.
I could tell they were not emotionally or intellectually getting much from the book. They were robots.
I could not wrap my head around what was wrong. The book was great. The unit was thoughtfully planned to interest students, but the children were not engaged.

I noticed that the few students who were avid readers already would rush through the unit activities only to ask, “I am done with my work; may I read my book now?” Horrified I remember hurrying through the required books in school so that I could get back to my books, too.
I took my observations to the more experienced teachers: “The children are just lazy. They will do the minimum to get by.” Or “Most of them hate to read. I have to drag my students through every unit.”
There had to be a better way.

Where Am I Going?

It has been said that teachers teach how they were taught. When I was in school, the students all read the same book and did the same activities. This is how I taught reading, too.
I despaired that I would never inspire my students to find the rapturous joy in reading that I did.

On the Path

Looking back on those days now, I see that the answer was right in front of me. On those rare opportunities when I allowed my students to choose their own books, their interest in completing assignments was sparked.
I learned that being the best reader and writer in the room is not about power and control. Instead, I must be a source of knowledge that my students access while learning how to read and write.
Instead of standing on stage each day, dispensing knowledge to my young charges, I should guide them as they approach their own understandings. Meaning from a text should not flow from my perceptions, it should flow from my students’ own understandings, under my guidance.


- Structure: The workshop rests on a structure of routines and procedures that supports students and teachers.

Reading is both a cognitive and an emotional journey. I discovered that it was my job as a teacher to equip the travelers, teach them how to read a map, and show them what to do when they get lost, but ultimately, the journey is theirs alone.

My goal was for students to read and write well independently.
If I never demanded that my students show me what they learned through their authentic words and work, what assurances would I have that they had internalized what I taught them?
As long as my teaching was about my activities and my goals, students would be dependent on me to make decisions and define their learning for them.
students should spend the majority of their time in my class reading and writing independently.
I realized that every lesson, conference, response, and assignment I taught must lead students away from me and toward their autonomy as literate people.

Going Forward, Sort of

Instead of finding my own way, I was now bent on channeling those master teachers.
I kept striving to make my class look like the ones I read about, full of engaged children and exemplary teachers, and when I fell short, I did not know what to do except to try harder.
Making the workshop work became more important than the readiness or interest of my students or me.

Reading changes your life. Reading unlocks worlds unknown or forgotten, taking travelers around the world and through time. Reading helps you escape the confines of school and pursue your own education.
reading shows you how to be a better human being.
as long as I hold on to my love of books and show my students what it really means to live as a reader, I’ll be a lot closer than I once was. Finally, this was my epiphany.

CHAPTER 2 - Everybody Is a Reader

To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.

—- W. Somerset Maugham