I’ve previously shared my learning from reading Donalyn Miller’s book Reading in the Wild, but am grateful to have had the opportunity to hear her keynote on her research and practices within this book at the Wisconsin State Reading Association Convention (#WSRA15). I am always inspired by hearing and reading Donalyn’s work and want to go back into my own classroom to inspire students to read, but then I remember I don’t have a classroom. So, as a leader, I just continue to share my learning with our teachers and model myself as a wild reader for our entire school.
Here is the Monday Musings post I’ll be sharing with my teachers:
Over the years I’ve shared my learning with you from Donalyn Miller’s books: The Book Whisperer and Reading in the Wild (previous posts are HERE, HERE, and HERE). I’ve seen many of the practices we’ve learned about from her implemented in your classrooms: reading choice, book talks, stealing reading minutes, sharing your lives as readers, reading goals posted (students and staff), etc.
Even though I have read both of Donayln’s books, I was re-inspired by hearing her speak last week and to hear her story of how she came to research reading habits and write the book, Reading in the Wild. As the well-known Book Whisperer, she always got her students to read voraciously and couldn’t understand what happened in the next grade level up when her students stopped reading, because their classrooms didn’t include the same practices. Instead of blaming other teachers, Donalyn realized that she needed to help her students to truly develop the habits of lifelong readers, not having to depend on her to get connected to their next book to read. How do you do this?
- Instead of requiring reading logs to track minutes (which most students and parents “fudge” anyhow) having students track their book titles read (that’s what adults do!).
- Instead of having required amounts of time to read, having students learn and find times to “steal reading” minutes like most adults do, by always having a book with them.
- Instead of making a specific book recommendation to a student when they finish a book, ask first: “What’s on your to-read list?” (After setting up the structure/habit for students to have a to-read list.)
- Instead of recommending a specific book to students, she started making a preview stack of books that included books she knows the student will like but included different types of genres to expose them to.
- Never give up on having a read-aloud, kids are never too old (that’s why there’s such a large market for audio books!) Use the read-aloud to expose students to different authors/genres/series that they may never try on their own.
- Help students to build their reading community. If you are their only source of book recommendations, then they will be lost without you next year.
- And just for fun: skip the “selfie” and take a “shelfie”: a picture of yourself with a stack of books you want to read (or your favorite books)!
If you want to read more “nuggets” from her keynote presentation, there were many attendees tweeting from it and you can find them all HERE.
Take a moment to reflect on how you share yourself as a reader with your students and how are you promoting the habits of lifelong learners in your classroom?