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The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child
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The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child

4.51  ·  Rating details ·  15,489 ratings  ·  2,696 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 worksheets in favor of embracing students' choices in books and independent ...more
Paperback, 227 pages
Published March 1st 2009 by Jossey-Bass (first published January 1st 2009)
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Kimberly She did teach 6th graders and it is predominantly about her experience with them. However, her philosophy of building life long readers is good for an…moreShe did teach 6th graders and it is predominantly about her experience with them. However, her philosophy of building life long readers is good for any age group.(less)
Amy A few on my teaching team have tried the free choice with students whom we know have a support system at home to help them navigate. For those with le…moreA few on my teaching team have tried the free choice with students whom we know have a support system at home to help them navigate. For those with less support, we encourage choosing from a range. We have wheeled book racks in the hallway outside of every class that are labeled by Running Record level. We point out where they can choose from & we teach how to choose good fit books, and the three ways to read a book.(less)

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Sep 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  (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
Mar 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 05, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: nf, education
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
Apr 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
“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
Sylvia Ward
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
I'm a high school English teacher and plan to incorporate this philosophy into my classroom this year. Most of Miller's experience is with middle school students, but the ideas can be adjusted to work in a high school classroom as well. My goal is to end the year with half of my students reading books for pleasure and enjoying it as much as I do.
Nov 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 Units o ...more
Mar 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: professional
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
Colby Sharp
May 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
If you a teacher of reading, The Book Whisperer is the most important book you will ever read.
Jennifer Mangler
Sep 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: profdev
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 really
Oct 25, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Shannon Clark
Jul 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: not-reviewed-yet
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!
Mary Pettit
Aug 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I can't wait to start my school year because of this book
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
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am so glad I discovered this book and based on the first 2 chapters decided to assign it for my fall reading course for my Education Grad students. Miller describes how she gets her 6th grade kids to read - even those who don't like to read. She waits until the last two chapters to debunk many current practices including book talks, book logs, entire classes reading the same book and more. You name a current practice, and she pretty much dismisses them as ineffective. The one practice that she ...more
Hope Martin
Jan 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow! What an inspiration. I plan on utilizing a ton of these strategies in my classroom. Here's to always growing and helping kids unlock their love for reading.
Corey Wozniak
May 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Donalyn Miller is a soldier in the fight to make reading pleasurable again. Schools have hijacked reading, but "Reading ultimately belongs to readers, not schools, and not schoolteachers." Miller argues that thoughtful teachers should tear down the walls erected between students and books (book reports, worksheets, whole-class novels, incentive programs, Accelerated Reader, book logs, comprehension tests, and other miscellaneous drudgery) and instead reacquaint students with the joys of reading ...more
Sirpa Grierson
Aug 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Miller dispenses with the more traditional reading instruction of book reports and comprehension worksheets in favor of embracing students' choices in books and independent reading. Her zeal for reading is infectious and inspiring --and the results are remarkable. No matter how far behind Miller's students may be when they enter her 6th grade classroom, her students read an average of 40 books a year, achieve high scores on standardized tests, and internalize a love for books and reading that l ...more
Aug 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Full stop: I loved this book. From the beginning, Miller's writing and explanation of her classroom philosophy in reading drew me in. I recognized that she, like me, just wants students to love reading. And she's figured out how!

In her classroom. In her school. In the state of Texas. And that's where my love of this book can only go so far. I agree with her philosophy 150%, 200 even, but I know that this would be difficult to pull off in a classroom where I teach. And that's not her fault! And
Jan 05, 2009 marked it as to-read
My teacher wrote that!!!!
Joanna Jennings
Sep 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2020
This was written for other public school teachers, but still her experiences and perspectives were interesting and motivating. Stop micromanaging kids’ reading, and instead cultivate and nurture their desire to read what interests them. Reading for pleasure sets me up for reading for improvement, and the same will be true for kids.
Oct 31, 2012 rated it liked it
OK, very mixed feelings about this book. I came in expecting to love it since I had made some positive changes to my class just from attending the workshop of another teacher who had read it. Helping kids love to read is a goal right up my alley. But I ended up loving much of the goal, but not the inaccurate comparisons and denunciations of other teachers.

The positive: I totally agree with the author's basic premise of trying to help kids awaken their inner curiosity and become autonomous reader
Carrie G
Jul 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
“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
Tenille Shade
Jun 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
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
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Play Book Tag: (Poll Ballot) The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller 1 10 Feb 25, 2020 05:40PM  
STS Reads: Inspired! 1 1 Jul 19, 2017 09:15AM  
Kendall- Children...: Types of Readers 24 26 Jan 24, 2017 10:07AM  
Kendall- Children...: What about you? 24 26 Jan 24, 2017 09:57AM  
Kendall- Children...: Key Ideas 24 26 Jan 24, 2017 09:36AM  

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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

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