The Book Whisperer

The Book Whisperer : Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child

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Donalyn Miller says she has yet to meet a child she couldn't turn into a reader. No matter how far behind Miller's students might be when they reach her 6th grade classroom, they end up reading an average of 40 to 50 books a year. Miller's unconventional approach dispenses with drills and worksheets that make reading a chore. Instead, she helps students navigate the world of literature and gives them time to read books they pick out themselves. Her love of books and teaching is both infectious and inspiring. The book includes a dynamite list of recommended "kid lit" that helps parents and teachers find the books that students really like to read.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 240 pages
  • 177 x 230 x 18mm | 358g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0470372273
  • 9780470372272
  • 96,989

Back cover copy

". . . a primer of the heart on how to make reading magical again."
--Carol Ann Tomlinson

Donalyn Miller is a dedicated teacher who says she has yet to meet a child she couldn't turn into a reader. In The Book Whisperer, Miller takes us inside her 6th grade classroom to reveal the secrets of her powerful but unusual instructional approach. Rejecting book reports, comprehension worksheets, and other aspects of conventional instruction, Miller embraces giving students an individual choice in what they read combined with a program for independent reading. She also focuses on building a classroom library of high-interest books, and above all on modeling appropriate and authentic reading behaviors. Her zeal for reading is infectious and inspiring, and the results speak for themselves. No matter how far behind Miller's students may be when they start out, they end up reading an average of 40 books per year, achieve high scores on standardized tests, and internalize a love for reading that lasts long after they've left her class.

Travel alongside the author as she leads her students to discover the ample rewards of reading and literature. Brought to life with Miller's passionate voice, The Book Whisperer will help teachers support students of all levels on their path to reading success. It also includes an invaluable list of books that Miller's students most enjoy reading.

"Miller's new book, The Book Whisperer, is a breath of fresh air. Powerful and practical, this book will support you as you change your classroom for the better while helping you to understand how to overcome current classroom cultures where some children learn and many learn to hate reading."
--Richard L. Allington, Ph.D., University of Tennessee

"In The Book Whisperer, Donalyn Miller deftly describes the inherent need children have to engage with books, intellectually and emotionally. The book is a timely and rare gift for teachers."
--Ellin Oliver Keene, author and consultant

"This book reminds anyone--who is lucky enough to have loved a book--what classrooms and kids have lost in our frenzy to 'cover' content and standardize student performance in the name of reading. This is a primer of the heart on how to make reading magical again."
--Carol Ann Tomlinson, William Clay Parish, Jr. Professor of Education, University of Virginia
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Table of contents

Foreword, by Jeff Anderson, author and literacy staff developer ix Introduction 1 CHAPTER 1 There and Back Again 7 CHAPTER 2 Everybody Is a Reader 19 Whisper STUDENT SURVEYS 39 CHAPTER 3 There's a Time and a Place 47 CHAPTER 4 Reading Freedom 69 Whisper READER'S NOTEBOOKS 99 CHAPTER 5 Walking the Walk 103 CHAPTER 6 Cutting the Teacher Strings 119 Whisper END-OF-YEAR EVALUATIONS 153 CHAPTER 7 Letting Go 159 Afterword, by Ron D. Myers, principal 179 Appendix A: The Care and Feeding of a Classroom Library 183 Appendix B: Ultimate Library List 193 Appendix C: Student Forms 201 References 213 Index 217 Acknowledgments 225 About the Author 228 About the Sponsor 228
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Review quote

[ Starred review ] Miller, a sixth-grade language arts and social studies teacher and blogger, has enabled students of many different backgrounds to enjoy reading and to be good at it; her students regularly score high on the Texas standardized tests. Her approach is simple yet provocative: affirm the reader in every student, allow students to choose their own books, carve out extra reading time, model authentic reading behaviors, discard timeworn reading assignments such as book reports and comprehension worksheets, and develop a classroom library filled with high-interest books. Her students regularly read more than 40 books in a school year and leave her classroom with an appreciation and love of books and reading. Miller provides many tips for teachers and parents and includes a useful list of ultimate reading suggestions picked by her students. This outstanding contribution to the literature is highly recommended for teachers, parents, and others serving young students.-Mark Bay, Univ. of the Cumberlands Lib., Williamsburg, KY ( Library Journal , March 15, 2009) "Mrs. Miller's message was powerful, yet simple. She reminded educators of the simplest way to foster a love for reading: let students read for fun without asking for a book report when they are done." ( The Examiner , November 4, 2009)
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About Donalyn Miller

Donalyn Miller teaches 6th grade language arts and social studies at Trinity Meadows Intermediate School in Keller, Texas. She also writes an ongoing blog for The book is published in partnership with Education Week Press (
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