I finally received my copy of "The Book Whisperer" by Donalyn Miller yesterday and quickly read the first 4 chapters. I have found a kindred spirit! What I have been doing in my classroom the past 3 years has been validated by her.
As I read authorities on reading and studied for reading courses, I always felt that for a child to succeed as a reader, he or she had to read and read a lot.
Between Miller and the Daily Five, I know what I do is what kids need.
We start the year with 10 minutes of independent reading and by Christmas, my Grade 3 class is usually reading 30 minutes at the beginning of the day. Their only job during this reading time each day is to "read and record". They record their reading each day : Date /Title/ Author/Genre/JR-E-C/No. of stars (their rating up to 5)
I meet with each reader each week for a quick running record if needed and a conference on their reading.
At the end of the year when I have had them fill out a survey, their favourite class activity has always been our independent reading.
Using reader's notebooks is done as well, but never at this time. We read and read and read.
Thank you Donalyn!
At " Thinking of Teaching ", there is a book study on the book and it has been so interesting to see other teachers excited by Miller and what she writes about reading.
I know many of us teachers get so fed up with all the standardized testing, and new jargon and updated curriculum that is foisted on us each year. There is less and less time for reading, for art, for drama and music. Instead we must prepare kids for tests and we are judged as teachers because of test scores.
What I want for each child coming into my class is to love reading and to feel good about themselves. I want them to explore what their strengths and weaknesses are and to try new things.
I am excited about Miller's book and look forward to finishing the book.
I know I will adopt some of her ideas - like the book frenzy, which I do in a modified way. I have never had a genre requirement for the children. I like the idea of setting a guideline for genres as well as the number requirement.
(With Grade 3s, many are still reading picture books well into the school year, so the number might have to be modified.)