Book review: The Book Whisperer

The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every ChildThe Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It is always precious to hear a practitioner’s viewpoint on various aspects of education and in this case, reading.

Mrs Miller’s thoughts on reading and the traditional practices used by teachers in schools made me reflect on the programmes that we have back in my school. We all know children or even adults need time to read. As teachers, we are acutely aware that if the home environment does not support reading, then the school must, all the more, be vigorous in its attempt to provide such an environment and more importantly, the time for students to be engaged with the characters in the stories. We know teachers are role models and they need to be seen and their passion for reading be felt by the students. Reading cannot be seen as an activity mandated by the school, with all the after-reading worksheets to be completed. This kills the joy of reading. The need to show evidence for student’s reading and achievement with the use of reading logs or tests is a chore and you might want to question yourself of their validity and usefulness.

I question myself. Have I shortchanged my students? Have I done justice by seeing reading as one of the many periods in the curriculum and thus having my students go through the motion? Have I imparted the love of reading to them? Have I matched them to their reading level? Have I caused much enthusiasm in them by sharing good books with them? Have I spent more time discussing the stories or am I too concerned with completing the syllabus?

What about the reading programmes in my school? How are they useful to the students? Are they just “unexamined wallpaper”?

I would want my colleagues to have this book and that we evaluate our reading programmes during Learning Circle, based on the pointers that Mrs Miller gave.

I really appreciate Mrs Miller’s honesty in her sharing. This is a must-have in my library.

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