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The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child

4.5 of 5 stars 4.50  ·  rating details  ·  7,507 ratings  ·  1,608 reviews
Known for her popular blog, "The Book Whisperer," Donalyn Miller is a dedicated teacher who says she has yet to meet a child she couldn't turn into a reader. Her approach, however, is not conventional. Miller dispenses with the more traditional reading instruction of book reports and comprehension worksheetsin favor of embracingstudents' choices in books and independent re ...more
Paperback, 227 pages
Published March 1st 2009 by Jossey-Bass (first published January 1st 2009)
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The Book Whisperer by Donalyn MillerThe First Days of School by Harry K. WongSavage Inequalities by Jonathan KozolEducating Esmé by Esmé Raji CodellPedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire
books for teachers, educators
1st out of 403 books — 356 voters
Reading in the Wild by Donalyn MillerThe Book Whisperer by Donalyn MillerThe Daily Five by Gail BousheyReadicide by Kelly GallagherI Read It, but I Don't Get It by Cris Tovani
Literacy Go-Tos
2nd out of 58 books — 23 voters

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Sep 20, 2008 Donalyn rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  (Review from the author)
Recommends it for: out of the box reading teachers
OK, I only added this one to my list, so all of my GoodReads friends could see it!I could not believe that the book was already added to the GoodReads site...

The book will be published in March of 2009. I am currently doing the copy edits and the final tweaks on the production design. Still surreal to think that I wrote an entire book.

I think it is pretty good, but I am a bit biased. My husband teased me saying that it only deserved four stars out of five because he prefers books with action in
Almost gave it a five...this woman is my kindred spirit. I love how she talks about how pointless book reports are. Every year, sometime in mid to late September, my students start wondering if we're going to do book reports. Then, we have our parent teacher conferences in early October and the parents ask me about book reports. I'm a little less dramatic with the parents (who are SO relieved to hear the news), but this is what I do for the students. I become silent. I stare at the whole class a ...more
Donalyn Miller gets it. She understands perfectly why many of our kids don't like reading any more, and she has the answer. You'd think Congress would be knocking down her door by now. Let's hope it happens soon.

In the mean time, anyone who considers himself or herself a teacher needs to read THE BOOK WHISPERER. It's a book that gets right to the heart of what makes us readers and how to instill that love of words and stories in our kids. Miller goes right after so-called "tried and true" method
More than 20 years ago I began reading Lucy Calkins. I think the first book of hers I read was Living Between the Lines. From that moment I knew what I wanted my classroom to look like, to sound like, to be like. I knew I wanted to have a reading workshop & a writing workshop and have great conversations with kids around reading and writing. I didn't know, though, how to actually start this. Then I read Ralph Fletcher's very user-friendly Writing Workshop. That got me started, and Lucy's Uni ...more
This is a book I wish I could rate a couple of different ways. Because in some ways it is a 5 star book, and others it deserves a 2. Let me explain.

First why is it so great? I would highly suggest this for any reading/English teacher in America. There is nothing really complex about this book, but it certainly proposes a culture shift in reading education. The basic premise is that the way we are teaching reading is actually what is destroying the love of reading in America. Americans are readin
Many years ago, I took a graduate class with the author, Donalyn Miller. The first day, our professor let everyone in the class know we had a reading celebrity in our midst. Many times, this professor would refer to Donalyn for her opinion. At that time, I decided I should probably read her book at some point. I purchased the book and stuck it on my to-read bookshelf. Like Donalyn, I have a mountain for my to-read list. During the school year, I read two things: professional pedagogy and researc ...more
Jennifer Mangler
The thing I love most about the book is its focus: how to nurture our students to be enthusiastic readers. The stories of the struggles she had to help turn kids onto reading and the examples of things she's tried are incredibly helpful. This book is so practical and so helpful and, most importantly, so HOPEFUL. I really needed that.

I have to say that while I've always known part of my responsibility as a social studies teacher is to help my students learn to read text & images I'd never re
Colby Sharp
If you a teacher of reading, The Book Whisperer is the most important book you will ever read.
Shannon Clark
I read it for the 2nd time-I am taking part in a book study about it. I LOVE THIS BOOK!!! Thank you Donalyn!!!!! Every reading teacher needs to read this book, and read it again, and read it again!! :)

It's now 2013 and I have read this a third time!! It's cemented in my mind- Let them choose!
Akin to Nancie Atwell's In the Middle about reading workshop, Miller's book talks about creating a community of readers and encouraging students to read by giving them time in school to read. She points out that her students score well on their standardized tests, and she attributes this to her expectation that each student will read 40 books during their school year. I think she's right.

My only irritation with this book is that, as a school librarian, I find classroom libraries to be a connundr
Sirpa Grierson
Loved this book. Donalyn Miller is practical and honest in her recounting of the struggles she had in getting her class to read a book. Then with a little "tweak" her students now read dozens of books each year. Her method reminds me of my 6th and 7th grade teacher, Mr. Gibson, a once-in-a-lifetime model of great teaching who somehow came from Glasgow, Scotland to our little provincial Elementary school in White Rock, British Columbia, Canada. Like the author, he allowed us to spend hours readin ...more
Deborah Bobo
This is the best professional book that I have read in quite some time. It is so important to help children find the book that will turn them into lifelong readers. I reflected heavily on my own education and upbringing and came to the conclusion that I am an avid reader because of my mom and a few teachers that really kept me excited about reading. I was able to recall a high school math teacher (I really had a rough time in math) that approached me in the library (that’s what they called it in ...more
“It has been said that teachers teach how they were taught.” ~ P. 13

I think this statement is the crux of my bafflement and let down over The Book Whisperer. I would have been what Donalyn Miller calls an “Underground Reader” had it not been for the fact that I was homeschooled. I read and read growing up, and the line between books for school and for pleasure blurred. Every book was a “whole-class novel study” because I constituted the entire class! I guess I never doubted that I would allow my
DEFINITELY BEYOND 5 STARS...WOW. So Donalyn Miller did for me what no other professional development book ever has - it has made me want to leave administration and actually become a reading/language arts teacher. I have been in education for 25 years and have cringed at teaching language arts, not because I don't adore reading (which I do), but because I hate group reads, anthologies, and worksheets that students spend more time on than actual reading!

Immediately after finishing this book, I s
I borrowed this book because I am an avid reader trying to inspire the same passion within my nephew. The beginning of the book offered some useful information about reader types, etc. Overall, I found the book to be more beneficial for teachers than a parent, guardian, etc. I felt the book was a tad idealistic and didn't really address those young readers who are adamant about not reading, especially if it means getting in the way of other games or activities. I feel that forcing a child to rea ...more
I am green with envy...this is the book I wanted to WRITE, but instead, I'm reading it. Miller gets it! She trusts kids to read, to choose their own books, and to become the best readers they can be. I understand the leap of faith it takes to start a program like this, and to endure the raised eyebrows of colleagues who think we're wasting time reading. We're creating readers. I think my favorite part of the book was the chapter called "Cutting the Teacher Strings," where she ...more
This is meant as a call to teachers to join the revolution of freedom of choice reading for our children, allowing them to awaken their inner reader. As a parent of a 3rd grader who is only reading because he has to, this caught my interest of how i can perhaps help to awaken his desire for reading, if it can't be done at school. I truly feel reading opens up a whole new world to us in all genres. I'm not a college educated parent, and I want more for my son, that I know you can only get from ha ...more
Tenille Shade
This book will probably be the one professional development resource I hang onto for a lifetime. Donalyn Miller wasn’t preaching a new message, but it sure fell fresh on ears that needed to hear it! As I read this book, images of my 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Barnes, flashed through my head continually. She lived and breathed authentic reading in her classroom, and she is the reason I am a voracious reader today. The author explains that teachers should always have a book in their hand and a recomm ...more
I first read this book in the spring of 2011, as I frantically tried to finish up my own graduate studies that semester AND finish a wonderful year of teaching full time. I couldn't put this book down and blasted through it in a few days.

I adore Donalyn Miller and I want to be her when I grow up...that is, if I ever do. ;)

In all seriousness I loves her book. It was inspirational and I enjoyed the narrative woven throughout the text. I agree with letting students choose their own books and plan
This is how I want to teach reading, and in fact, was well on my way to accomplishing this. But AYP concerns stepped in, and our school has been a "school in need of improvement" for too long. Never mind that I had a higher percentage of proficient kids than others, I had to change how I taught reading. We are now a "skills-based" school, and this coming year, we are now all going to be using a pre-packaged commercial curriculum. Miller's way of teaching works. I have seen this with my own eyes. ...more
“The Book Whisperer” by Donalyn Miller was amazing! It is not a teen fiction book, but one of the many “teacher books” I hope to read this summer. Throughout the book I felt affirmed, validated, and (on more than one occasion) guilty. But, as a reading teacher and bibliophile, it was wonderful to find a book that spoke my language!

In “The Book Whisperer” Donalyn Miller, a 6th grade teacher from Texas, shares her experiences and insights related to independent reading-based reading instruction. M
I love Donalyn Miller. Her blog is absolutely fantastic. I really love her approach to teaching "language arts"--to me, it seems completely common sense. Clearly what we're doing now isn't working; the whole worksheet/book report/booklog thing is spiritually/intellectually killing all kids, whether they're the strongest or weakest readers. So her philosophy makes sense (and obviously works). H o w e v e r, I have to say I was a tiny bit disappointed in this book by itself. It's more a sustained ...more
Before I'd even finished my library copy of this book I'd ordered my own. As a reading teacher I am always trying to find ways to ignite a love of reading in the hearts of the students I teach. Donalyn Miller describes her practice of requiring her 6th graders to read 40 books a year in her classroom. In her book Miller describes her classroom library, how she came to this approach to teaching reading, how it impacts state tests, how she shapes her teaching around the independent books, how she ...more
This book told me everything I already knew, but never considered. I felt myself nodding with each page, both as a reader AND as a teacher! I've seen every description of the kids in these pages and did what I could, aside from changing how I approached teaching them. I am sharing this book with my Asst. Principal TOMORROW with a note begging permission to try this!

I picked it up at 11:40 this morning and read it every second of the day until I finished it this evening. Even better, when my cla
Donlayn Miller's book is magic. She understands students like if they were part of her soul. She undrestands that some traditional methods are flawed and new methods must be in process. Books are part of my life as a chance to escape from the stressful world. Without books, I might pass out from boredom. I love this book, and if I will ever teach LA I will use these methods. Great book overall, a real book worth reading to all people.
I really LOVE this book. This book was written for first language reading teachers, but I think second language teachers will gain a lot from reading it.

Many "legacy methods" teachers of second languages provide very little reading for the first few years, with the exception of short, uninteresting paragraphs from the textbook. Often the paragraphs are written to illustrate a grammatical point, which is the dullest reading imaginable.

TPRS teachers, on the other hand, are reading a lot with thei
Joann Crohn
I was all set to start Accelerated Reader this fall, but this book changed my mind. My goal is to create a passion for reading in my students. To do that, I plan to follow some of Donalyn's methods.
Donalyn Miller is a true inspiration. I always give new teachers a copy of Educating Esme and How to Get Your Child to Love Reading. I'll be sure to give them a copy of Donalyn's book, too.
Miller truly has a gift for promoting reading in her classroom. In this book she takes on so many of the time honored traditions teachers have been choking kids with for years. The whole class reading the same book, popcorn reading, pages and pages of worksheets, arts and crafts activities, having mommy sign off on 20 minutes a night of reading, Lit. circles among others are some of the "strategies" Miller offers alternative activities for. She reaffirms what Lucy Calkins has been saying for yea ...more
This is a book about how one marvelous teacher has learned to kindle the love of reading in her 6th grade students. She is a lifelong book lover who has good old-fashioned common sense and a true calling. Thank God she ended up in teaching. How I would have loved to have had even one teacher like her.
What I found most encouraging in her book is how validating it was for me. I homeschool my son who is a (at this moment)9 year old. We have always read alot and I've always taken great pains to f
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Donalyn Miller has worked with a variety of upper elementary and middle school students and currently teaches fifth grade at O.A. Peterson Elementary in Forth Worth, Texas. In her popular book, The Book Whisperer, Donalyn reflects on her journey to become a reading teacher and describes how she inspires and motivates her middle school students to read 40 or more books a year. In her latest book, R ...more
More about Donalyn Miller...
Reading in the Wild: The Book Whisperer's Keys to Cultivating Lifelong Reading Habits Falling in Love with Close Reading: Lessons for Analyzing Texts--And Life Finding Mrs. Warnecke: The Difference Teachers Make

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“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. Through characters – the saints and the sinners, real or imagined – reading shows you how to be a better human being.” 309 likes
“Books are love letters (or apologies) passed between us, adding a layer of conversation beyond our spoken words.” 77 likes
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