The Book Whisperer - Chapter 3

Where has the first half of my summer gone?! I have been so busy the first 3 weeks of summer.. any only 3 more left to go! :(

I have been doing a book study along with some other fabulous ladies this summer. If you haven't heard of the The Book Whisperer then you are in luck! You get to hear all about it this summer with us! I have been blown away thus far by Donalyn Miller's accounts of turning her students into readers. If you get the chance, I would grab a copy of this book immediately. I've already got some good ideas for next year!

Haven't we all felt that stress? The stress of somehow finding time to fit in our love of reading with our students? I know I have. So many times during my first 2 years of teaching I've WANTED to fit in free reading in my classroom and so WANTED my students to love it as much as I do. However, that is much easier said than done. During the first two chapters of the book, Donalyn went into great detail of how she made mistakes which led her to figuring out how to instill a love of reading in her students. If you haven't read the first two blog posts in this book study series, you can find those on Diana's Blog and on Jessica's Blog.

In Chapter 3, Donalyn talks about finding a time and a place for reading. While I was reading this I thought to myself... DUH! It really is THAT simple. Often times, I think we make "fitting in" that reading time much more difficult than it is actually meant to be. Donalyn gave some awesome ideas of when to fit in reading during your week. 

1. Classroom Interruptions

We teachers know these all to well. The drop in of a colleague. Call from the office. Parent on the phone. Student getting sick. There are so many things that interrupt our class time on a daily basis! I know I had always known that it would be best if my students knew exactly what to do during these times, but I never really put it into practice. Donalyn's classroom looks very different from mine. She has middle school students while I have elementary students. I know my students could master this but it would take some definite prompting and modeling from me. 

PLUS, wouldn't it be nice not to worry about watching the students and dealing with the interruption?! I know it would be for me!

2. Bell Ringers and Warm-Ups

Oh yes, we've all done it. Printed out mass copies of "morning work" (or busy work) to get our students going the minute they walk into our classroom. Now, don't get me wrong. There are definitely times when I need to do that to help my students practice a skill. But more often than not, I don't use the morning work for anything other than getting their brains going. Reading a book in the morning would be a great solution for me. Again, it would take some modeling with my new 2nd graders but could be so beneficial. 

3. When Students Are Done

We've all got those dreaded early finishers! I have never figured out what exactly is the most productive thing to do with those students. Many people have charts that explain what to do when you're done or folders for students to practice skills already learned. However, I feel almost like I'm punishing my students for finishing early. Donalyn explained she felt the same way and began to notice students who typically finished early would take more time so they didn't have to do extra work. I love the idea of my students grabbing their book and finishing up some reading rather than doing more busy work.

PLUS, who wants to put together an extra pack of work for students on top of the regular planning?! Not this girl!

4. Picture Day

If you teach a middle school grade, this might be more of an issue for you. However, my entire class goes at one time to get their pictures made. It typically doesn't take us that long to get through the process and get back to class. But, if your students are going to be sitting while waiting for others to get done, reading a book would be a fabulous option! 

5. Library Time

Again, this isn't really an issue for me. Our library time is put into our encore or specials schedule. If you are in a school where you have a scheduled time to take your students to the library then this would be a great opportunity to let your students read a book or help them choose a book!

Now to move on to the second part of this chapter, A Place to Read. As a 2nd grade teacher it is really important to me that I create an atmosphere for reading. I want my students to have that one place in the room where they feel comfortable and want to relax and read. I have tried my best to create that reading nook the past 2 years (not to much avail). I see all these amazing classrooms and think why isn't my classroom the same?! 
Donalyn explains that its not so much the area as it is the atmosphere. It was so helpful for me to read that. If I set the example for my students that reading can take place ANYWHERE at ANY TIME they will be more apt to read a book anywhere in my classroom. Although I am still going to try to perfect my nook, I know that that isn't what it's all about. 

This book study has been so much fun for me. Donalyn has taught me so much about creating readers, improving readers and letting them read! I am finally feeling like my love of reading can come across to my students and that is something to be excited about! 

Thanks for reading my summary to Chapter 3 of The Book Whisperer! Be sure to link up and go read everyone else's blog post! 


  1. Hi Brogan, just found your blog from Sarah at Mrs. B's First Grade. I'm also reading the book and I had similar notes to you. I think it is so important to create an atmosphere where reading is on everyone's mind constantly. I also like the idea of teaching kids to pick up books during interruptions and I'm going to try to talk to my kids more about where they can steal some reading time at home. I'm your newest follow of all things. :o) Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
    Our Elementary Lives

  2. I agree that we make it more complicated than it needs to be. Last year, I would always plan to give students reading time. Then other things would take longer than planned, and that time would shrink. I'm going to try to do better about having students steal time during the day this year!!

  3. I agree about teaching my kiddos to grab a book during interruptions! What an easy way to sneek in a a few extra reading minutes...and probably keep they quiet(er) during that time, too!

  4. I agree about teaching my kiddos to grab a book during interruptions! What an easy way to sneek in a a few extra reading minutes...and probably keep they quiet(er) during that time, too!


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