I’ve been reading parts of some reading books for teachers and librarians that I think have value in what we do and how we interact with kids, and promote reading!
“The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child” is by Donalyn Miller, 2009.
Ok, I’ve had this book checked out for over a month. I’ve started it about 6 times. (maybe have had 2 months??) Today, at lunch thought would give one last chance before returning it (because have had about 2 months) and opened in the middle. I’m in the middle of chapter “Cutting the Teacher Strings” and finally the book has awakened me. I guess I needed to cut to the chase and see her examples rather than read the first 1/3 with the philosophy. A sixth grade teacher, she “requires” her students to read 40 books a year. And explains what happens during that road, and she reacts and respects and gives kids the chance to be turned onto reading. Practical examples with snippets of advice in between (I still haven’t read the first half btw). And an exemplary bibliography of all the books she has in her classroom at the end. If you’ve listened to Nancy Pearl’s thoughts on creating readers and respect in book advising, this is Pearl in action in a school. (I’ve got a 9th and a 5th grader, and hearing the stories of teachers in her book really resonates.) I’m returning it so someone else can take a turn! (oh and she has a blog: http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/book_whisperer/ The June 22 entry has a great entry on summer reading.
You ask why I’m reading these books on the right book for the right reader for the right times? Because it’s summer, and I’ve been setting up online summer reading programs for our members, and every year at this time I start thinking about prizes for reading and what works and requirements and the purpose of the program to begin with and how to make it easy and fun for kids to participate and find the books that they REALLY would like to read and enjoy, no matter their level. I’m also trying to discover ways that will keep the kids coming into the library to get books, and teachers do have a captive audience during the school year!
Then, I discovered Teri S. Lesesne. I interlibrary loaned from the Sage College Library her “Naked Reading: Uncovering What Tweens Need to Become Lifelong Readers” from 2006 and read it, (since obviously didn’t have the ability to renew it for 2 months!). Of course, being a skinny book helped! Again, this book is from the captive school professional perspective, but it does have lots of great lists and tidbits of information. (Both Miller and Lesesne are proponents of actually asking kids what and why they read (and don’t read) certain books, and respecting their answers.) By tidbits of information, she lists post reading activities, facts, and the every important least favorite post reading activities. And there’s a fantastic booklist at the end, for tweens/middle school students.
Again, fascinating reading. I have a better understanding of kids’ reading, and how to approach them in a public library setting. Or the friends of my kids that I keep shoving books onto. My next chore is to figure out how to suggest them to teachers for their summer reading. Any ideas? Let me know how you do it!!