The Book Whisperer

Discussion in 'General Education' started by otterpop, May 27, 2016.

  1. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    May 27, 2016

    This book came up in another thread and I want to read it.

    Has anyone read the second one, Reading in the Wild? If so, which is better, and do they need to be read in order?

    Thanks. :)

    Any other must-have books to add to my summer teacher reading list (or just for fun list)?
     
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  3. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    I can tell you in about a week and a half or so at this rate :p I can't put The Book Whisperer down, and then will move onto Reading in the Wild...ha
     
  4. otterpop

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    Haha just trying to set realistic goals for my summer reading. I always start out so ambitious...
     
  5. phillyteacher

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    I love The Book Whisperer. Haven't read the other one.
     
  6. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Same here. Funny enough though, as I've started reading the book, I'm finding myself realizing that I need to stay ambitious and start reading like I will expect my kids to read next year. I may or may not have had the book out and reading it while I was getting out of the shower and getting dressed today :p
     
  7. heatherberm

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    The Book Whisperer is *wonderful* although I haven't read the second one. I was just scrolling through the PD-y books on my Goodreads list, trying to decide what to focus on this summer too. I'd happily take any suggestions related to teaching science, especially in middle school. But in general would work too.
     
  8. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I'll probably read 25 books (at least) this summer; closer to 50 if I include picture books. Professional books always take longer, but I usually blast through novels in a couple of days at most.
     
  9. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    I realized that I haven't read books outside of PD books (and a couple of the recent dystopian trilogies) in the past decade or more...so I'm going to try to commit to reading at least 10-20 of the books in my classroom library, so I can better implement the ideas in this book at the beginning of next year.
     
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  10. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    A lot of what I read is recommended by my students or are books that I end up recommending to them. I read a lot of YA (along with crime fiction and thrillers!).
     
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  11. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    May 27, 2016

    I've been thinking the same thing! We tell our kids to read, read, read, but then I notice that I'm on my computer or watching TV more than I'm actually reading myself. So, I get the struggle, when kids say they don't have time to read. For me, it sometimes means putting myself in a room with no electronics, and then I'll get totally into what I'm reading and read for hours after I've started. Any cellphone, tablet, or laptop around me, and I invariably get off track.
     
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  12. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    I think we have an invaluable opportunity to connect with our students in this regard. They have the same strings pulling at them, and if they see that we are willing to jump into the same boat with them, brainstorming together ways to avoid these distractions / get lost in a good book / find engaging books for ourselves, they'd buy in even more.
     
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  13. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Just read this research on AR's effectiveness, following up with some comments I just read in The Book Whisperer:
    http://www.readingmatrix.com/articles/johnson_howard/article.pdf

    Currently our grade (and 3rd/5th, too) use AR, and I'm thinking about whether to keep using it, use it but just here and there, or to just completely abandon it (so long as I get the OK), and so of course, I'm reading about the effectiveness. That research conclusion is outrageously flawed though, regardless of belief: those who use AR the most grow the most? Well, yes, those who read the most will grow the most as a reader...*sigh*
     
  14. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    I ordered the book. :) Maybe we could have another thread for book discussion.
     
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  15. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Favorite book in the world! The Book Whisperer totally transformed my teaching. I have read Reading in the Wild, too, but I need to reread both. I plan to this summer. My principal has a book study for staff and other area teachers going on this summer via Voxer.

    I definitely have been trying to read more of what my kids read. It's so valuable. I'm able to have rich discussions with them when we are reading the same books.

    This is the AR post by Donalyn Miller my principal always cites: http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/book_whisperer/2010/09/reading_rewarded_part_ii.html

    Otterpop - I'd love to participate in book discussion on here! :) I'm going to start the book soon - probably after school's out (June 10th!)
     
  16. Backroads

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    I had the opportunity to advance read the first book back in the day and loved it and recommended it to everyone before it was even officially published. I read "Reading in the Wild" last summer and loved it. I think I shall reread both this year.
     
  17. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Mine arrived today but I don't dare open it until school is done at the end of June!
     
  18. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Yeah...it's sort of addicting. I spent Saturday finishing it up instead of grading :)
     
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  19. Pashtun

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    I am considering getting this book after hearing so many positive remarks. Can anyone give me an idea of what is so intriguing about this book?
     
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  20. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    A few reasons, at least for me (though I'm sure it's slightly different for each person):
    1.) It goes against the grain, what's usually seen. That is, she suggests no reading logs (our school uses them across all grades), no nightly reading requirement, no formal tests...
    2.) It reminds of the importance of connecting with the students as a reader, and not just as a teacher. Again, many teachers might already do this really well, but I'm sure many of us don't read nearly as much as we did as a kid.
    3.) It gives many useful, specific tools that you can use to drive success in the classroom (especially the second book).

    Summarized briefly though, it just makes me think about teaching literacy (reading and writing about reading) in a completely different fashion than I've become accustomed to hearing in the district, and it's written by a teacher for a teacher, so it speaks perfectly to who we are.
     
  21. heatherberm

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    This is slightly off-topic from The Book Whisperer, but I was wondering if anyone has something they'd recommend about working with ENL students? I got hired *right* before the school year this year and wasn't really prepared for the fact that I'd have the group of ENL students and while I think we did okay, I'd love to be more prepared next year. I'd love something that's more about non-reading and writing content areas. (I teach science.) That stuff is obviously important and helpful, but it's not necessarily the focus of my content. I'd be particularly interested in maybe vocabulary strategies, maybe?
     
  22. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    This was my first year with ELLs (same thing - English Language Learners), and so I also wasn't the best, but through collaboration with our ELL teacher, I learned a few tools/strategies/tips:
    • Pre-defining words or somehow having those words defined or with a picture separate of the text for those kids (if you have any online texts and you might be unsure, achievethecore.org actually has a place where you can put in text and it'll pop out some of those higher tier words that would be difficult for those and even perhaps other kiddos)
    • Giving them the opportunity to pre-read the text at home, have it available so they can take it home, and/or have other texts that might provide additional background knowledge on the content or vocabulary that might assist with it.
    • Be more explicit about making sure that words you're using when doing instruction are either pre-defined, or you explain what it means while teaching. I'll often give a "vocab word, (quick aside from the text giving an alternate word or quick definition), back to the text" kind of structure when reading aloud text (or even doing read alouds), so that not only can those kiddos have a better chance of understanding the content regardless of understanding the vocab word perfectly, but they start to connect the vocab word with the synonym / quick definition, which will help them learn it.
    • Work with the kids to make sure they have a way and are willing to let you know when there's a word they don't understand...they'll often sit back and not speak up!

    I'm still learning, and wasn't even close to the best, but this helped. And, really, connecting back to The Book Whisperer, the best way for them to gain vocabulary, along with all the strategies we can employ, is to read, read, read! Connect with their reading teacher / ELL teacher, and make sure they're as supported as possible in that regard, too, as that'll help a ton. One of my students new to the country just a week before school has read among the most in my class this year, and thus has grown to at or almost at-level with her ELA skills in just this first year!
     
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  23. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    It's been a bit of an...unusual...summer, but I finally got around to reading this. This is the first professional book I have read in one sitting; I am inspired! So much of what I have believed for a long time was addressed and validated. I'm jumping in with both feet when we're back in September!
     
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  24. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    I felt the same way when I read it for the first time. Just finished it with our book club recently, and I'm so excited. I've started Reading in the Wild and am hoping to finish that before we go back. :)
     
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  25. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Just ordered that one. Next up for pro reading is Jo Boaler's Mathematical Mindsets.
     
  26. mathmagic

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    I want to read this before school starts, but might not read it all. Certainly am hoping to get as much as possible, though! Love all of Jo Boaler's work.

    So much to do in 3 weeks...ack!
     
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  27. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    While it's just data, and there are plenty of other variables, an interesting note so far:

    1.2 million words read by my class so far in our 13 days of September (adjusted down 12.5% from the actual total to account for a larger class), compared to 1.1 million words read by my class last year through all 30 days of September. Plus, one of my kiddos has been on vacation all last week (not reading during it, sadly).

    I'm also loving my shift in how I'm talking about the independent reading with students and how I'm working with those who might not be reading much yet. I know others might already have this part down, but the shift was important for me, and it got me away from a lot of our "if you're at this number of AR points" or "if you have read at least 1 book", you get to participate in our choice time that we were doing as a team.

    The beginning of the year has been so packed and tough though that I haven't got to regular conferring or doing any book reviews / letters to me...but my hope is to get that going later in the month (maybe next week, if I'm lucky :))

    (Plus, I've made it through 2 books, and am into a 3rd now...which is 2 and a fraction more than I've read of non-professional books during the school year before :p )
     
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  28. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    I promised my kids reading time, and I think they'd love it, but I'm having a hard time fitting it into our short reading period along with our curriculum. I let them have independent reading time during social studies today and they were so happy.
     
  29. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Are you having kids take AR quizzes and tracking words read through that program?
     
  30. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Same here. I haven't really found any opportunities to fit it in. That being said, it's a great feeling when everyone lunges for their books when the phone rings. Seriously. 27 "yes"es and 27 books in hand before I can get to the phone :p
    I may just do it once or twice a week, and make sure those times are when all the kiddos are in the room.
    Yep. Others are using it and requiring a certain number of points, plus at least one F and one NF each month (at least one by mid-month), but I've crafted it all this year around it just being a tool to track our progress (along with the reading notebooks). I absolutely love the word count feature!
     
  31. otterpop

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    Do you mean when someone calls the room phone? Is that what you have them do? If so, I like that idea!
     
  32. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    I've read a middle school teacher's blog who gives 10 minutes of independent reading in a 45 minute period. I just went to a workshop led by a high school teacher who gives 15 minutes in her 60 minute blocks. I think it's doable, it just has to be prioritized. I know it's hard to fit everything in, though! I've really shifted my perspective this year so that independent reading IS the priority. I'll drop my lesson before I'll drop that. I just started conferences last Thursday, and I am just loving it so far! I love the reading community we're building so far. :)
     
  33. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Most days, I have a 100 minute literacy block. I give them at least 20 minutes independent reading time; it is a priority. Conferencing starts today!
     
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  34. otterpop

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    The issue with that is that we have a weekly test that students need to take, and it's quite challenging. So they really need to be reading the textbook stories too, since they're aligned to the strategies of the week. They really struggle on the tests if they're not using the textbooks. I do think as we fall into a routine we'll have more time open for choice reading, because it is a priority for me. Our reading period is less than an hour. :confused:
     
  35. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Yep! During the first week, each day we talked about something different: how to "steal" reading time, how to select books, when we abandon books, etc... and created a anchor chart for each. I told them that they had my permission to steal some reading time if I'm on the phone (in the middle of a lesson, not while they're doing independent work they could continue) or needing to talk to a teacher that stops by. It drives that love of reading that little bit more! Most also tote their books to the library, and I've heard stories of them reading in some crazy places at home! Even though there are other variables, I think the lack of needing to fill out a reading log w/times, and focusing on reading mindsets has opened it up for most of them, and the rest, I need to get through conferring more with.

    Our schedule is even tighter usually, and with having added in both these reading mindset, and math mindset (Week of Inspirational Math) activities, which the rest of my team do not do, I'm having to play a bit of catch-up. The other tricky part is that I want to have that IR time during a time where I have all students here, and not when kids are out for a reading IEP or ELL especially, because those are the kiddos that need it the most. Since we have band/orchestra in the mornings where kids end up arriving about 10-15 minutes into the day now, I might start utilizing the morning times for that, and try to keep myself from putting in "morning work" (i.e. review sheets, whatnot) as much as possible. It's a tricky balance!
    Yeah, at most, we probably have an hour a day for reading when everything is said-and-done, and probably even less some days with the tricky schedule and transitions. I agree that the routine will help; some work has taken forever because of getting into the routine, and I've had to hand-guide them quite a bit. Later, when they can become more independent, I hope that I'll be able to utilize that time for conferences (right now, I'm just trying to finish up fluency assessments...and we're on day 11!). I find IR to be a priority too, but also need to make sure I am at least coming close to following the rest of the team.

    It's also tough, because some kids take forever to finish work compared to others, so often those kids who are done get IR time, but trying to balance having those other kids finish the work that they haven't yet, and getting IR time (which they are commonly ones that need it)...is tricky. I'd love any suggestions/thoughts!
     
  36. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I teach 9th grade this year, and many of my students came to high school with VERY negative attitudes about reading. They have had teachers have them read books that they did not like or understand, and many came from middle schools without or with poor libraries with old books. I'm working so hard to get them interested in reading! I am required to do AR with my kids. I let them have input in their monthly goals, and give alternate assignments if they want to read a book that doesn't have an AR test. We are just really working to help them find anything they enjoy reading!
     
  37. Pashtun

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    AR is not the culprit, teachers framing how and why they are reading are.
     
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  38. Backroads

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    I teach 2nd grade. I do Daily 5, which naturally makes time for read-to-self. But I also, most days when possible, have a chunk of time at the end of the day that is devoted only to silent reading.
     
  39. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Little makes me happier than having my grade 7 students sprawled out all over the room reading books of their choosing.
     
  40. otterpop

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    It's such a happy time right? :)
     
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  41. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Sep 30, 2016

    Sorry for the multiple posts, but with the end of the month came a bit more statistic comparison (I love numbers...) and also a tremendous moment today.
    This Year: 3.3 million words (9/6-9/30) & about double the number of kids who've read 20K+ words (which would pace out to about what I've seen as an approximate goal for fourth grade)
    Last Year: 1.1 million words (9/1-9/30)

    Here's the fun moment from today:
    (I'm copying/pasting from something I wrote to a colleague, to save time ;) This idea came from The Book Whisperer, and I'm glad I did it this way instead of simply quickly naming them and putting them in the library.)
    I got 35 new books for our classroom library from Scholastic today, and decided to try something new out. It led to almost every single book being checked out by a student, and the most amazing excitement around a wide variety of books (from Kwame Alexander's poetic novel, to more fantasies such as the Book Thief series, to books that highlight the Indian (India) culture, to graphic novels like The Misadventures of Max Crumbly and Roller Girl).

    I took about 20 minutes and shared a bit about each book - either a quick description or reading the blurb, sometimes including my own excitement for it. They added any books they were interested in to their "Want to Read" section of their reading notebooks. They then put their name on little pieces of paper and placed one on any book they wanted to read...and then I "raffled" them off, reminding them the names of those that also wanted to read it. I'm excited to see how much is read this weekend alone!

    We may not have had time to work with the Wonders texts, but this certainly felt far more valuable. :)
     

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