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 spent a considerable time texting with my academic coach in which I recommended she read it pronto. She and I are of the same belief and I know she'll embrace the concept as much as I do. Then, how can we implement the concept at our site????
What Donalyn does, though, is remarkable. She speaks to the simplicity of her "allowing students to read" concept, but downplays some very critical points - 1) She is a dedicated teacher who obviously spends multiple hours not only pouring over the plethora of books her students might read, but to review and comment in their notebooks and to make suggestions? That takes serious time beyond the normal life of even a great teacher. Add to that the time spent finding books and preparing them for library use. 2) She is a gifted person herself. You cannot make these recommendations lightly - these are students. She knows her literature and is a true expert in her field. We need more teachers like her that are truly gifted. I know of a handful that might be right there with her, and they'll be the first that I recommend this book to. 3) She has the ultimate and complete support of her family. It takes this support to not only spend every spare cent on school supplies/books (as I know all teachers do), but to invest the time engrossed in a book is a culture that her family supports and, I'm sure, participates in themselves. I can only imagine the "book club" types of discussions that go on at the dinner table.
Mrs. Miller - I commend you and give you my highest rating, including being on my favorites shelf. Well done.