Title: The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child
Author: Donalyn Miller
Publication Year: 2009
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Review: When I checked this book out from the library, I thought it would have useful information for parents interested in encouraging their children to read. However, it is fully meant for teachers and most of the advice is not really applicable to parents. As a book for teachers, I think this book is incredible. I would have loved to have been in the author’s class and I completely agree with everything she says. I’m taking a moment to see if I want to qualify that statement, but I don’t.
Her main point is that schools really take the joy out of reading by having the entire class read the same book (regardless of varying interests and reading levels) and then beating the book to death with worksheets and tests. In her class, kids get to pick the books they want to read (totaling about 40 books during the school year) and are started on the path of being life long readers. Unfortunately for anyone who would like to follow in her footsteps, the real strength of her method is her thorough knowledge of books.
While I think what she’s done is admirable, it would take any individual a long time to build up the expertise she has gained over a lifetime of being a prolific reader. Since she’s had so much exposure to books, she’s able to look at each student as an individual and make unique recommendations for each child.
One aspect of this book that I found disappointing was the book list at the end. Given how much the author knows, I would have loved to have seen what she specifically would recommend be included in a personal library. Instead, there is a list of what her students (6th graders) recommend. I can see the value in this. After all, kids know what other kids will find most interesting.
However, since I personally would like to start gradually building a library for my children, I would like to include only the most worthy of books and let them check out from the public library those that have little literary value. That being said, even though this book wasn’t meant for parents, I’m very glad I read it. (Personal Rating: 8/10)
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