This is the PERFECT book to read before going back to school because it made me so excited to start this new (to me and my students) approach! I absolutely loved this book.
I loved The Book Whisperer because I agree with Donalyn Miller’s thoughts on the importance of free choice in reading, but at times, I felt like I wasn’t sure exactly how to change everything and get started with this approach. I read The Book Whisperer then I read everything I could find online, and then I read Penny Kittle’s Book Love. After all that, I felt like I had a pretty good beginning and started to piece together plans for this upcoming year. I decided to order Reading in the Wild a couple of weeks ago and I’m so glad I did. This book of Donalyn’s gives so many ideas (and copies of the forms she uses) to put her ideas into use.
Here are a few (okay, it’s a lot, but I loved so much!) of the things I loved and want to use with my classes from Reading in the Wild:
- time for reading daily and conferring with students about their reading (also in The Book Whisperer)
- starting a discussion with students about reading outside of school and how to find small chunks of time in a busy schedule to read outside of school
- observation forms for students avoiding reading during class reading time and how to approach them about it
- student goal setting for reading (will be very different for each student)
- reading notebooks to keep track of books finished, abandoned, books to read next, genres read, goals, etc.
- reading responses of some kind–either letters in their notebooks or possibly using something like Edmodo
- Status of the Class–this is an accountability tool Donalyn uses temporarily at the beginning of the year and after breaks to encourage students to do their reading–I love this!
- read alouds daily–books, poems, short stories, articles, excerpts–it doesn’t have to be a whole novel that we are reading-it could just be a chapter then the book is up for check out by students who enjoyed it
- Text We’ve Shared list posted in the classroom
- voting for a favorite read aloud at the end of the year
- book drawings if we get a new book everyone is excited about
- preview stacks for students who need help choosing books
- a “Reading Graffiti” Wall where students add any quotes they love from books they’re reading
- book commercials
- lots of reflecting on their personal reading lives: how they choose books, who influences book choices, reading ability, etc.
- planning for reading over school breaks and ensuring students check out books and then reflecting on how their individual goals for the breaks went
- encouraging personal book challenges
- possibly a class blog for reviewing books
- formal conferences with students once per grading period to fully reflect over their reading lives
I absolutely recommend this book to any ELA or reading teachers!