The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller is a helpful book for educators and parents to gain ideas on how to help children embrace and love free reading time.
The emphasis is on letting children choose their books while providing guidance as experts in children’s literature. Our goal is to help our students (or children) recognize what they would enjoy most.
Ms. Miller also talks about how to incorporate learning about literature into reading time. She suggests we let students find examples of literary elements in their own books, rather than through a class book or assigned reading. She does recognize that some of that will always still be required in educational settings, and she mourns the fact that some teachers unintentionally kill the students’ natural love of reading by overdoing it.
As a parent, I found a lot of it to be teacher specific. However, it was still very helpful it helps me to realize that assigning my son to read books he doesn’t want to read is not helping him embrace great literature. Sometimes it may be necessary, but in general, I need to guide him toward good books but still give him options. I even came to recognize that I still need to let him read the books that he enjoys reading, even the ones that take him 20 minutes such as Magic Tree House, which series he has read for the past three years on repeat!
A lot of the book was inspiring, and I liked the student-created list at the end. The Book Whisperer was written for teachers of upper elementary and early middle school. Although my son is still a little bit young, even if he is at that reading level, I almost wish I had ideas incorporating free reading time in the lower elementary grades. I definitely want to read more from Ms. Donalyn Miller. I look forward to reading Reading in the Wild next.