#45 Just Keep Reading! Just Keep Reading!

I decided to reread The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller over the weekend and finished it in one sitting. The book is 10 years old, browned at the edges, but its content is as delightful as ever.

One of my favorite parts of the book is when the author discusses reading freedom with her students. She asks her new sixth grade students how they choose books for themselves. This is in the beginning where her students have yet to develop the love for reading. Their reading choices and honesty will drive everything that they do. She helps them verbalize their selection so they do not just attempt to tell her what they think she wants to hear, but also articulate their own thoughts. As the discussion progresses and the wall comes down, the floodgates open. They soon launch into a discussion of what to do when a book gets boring. On page 74,

Readers choose what to read and when to stop reading a book that doesn't live up to its potential. I never want my students to feel they are roped into a book just because they have started reading it. Getting a feel for the genres and reading level that is the best fit requires reading several books, including some false start. "Hey, there is always another book waiting. If you are reading a book that is too hard or too boring to keep going, abandon it, and get another one. The important thing is not to let a bad book choice slow down your momentum for reading. Readers do this all of the time. Don't feel that you have to stick with a book just because you started it."

How reassuring it is to hear that! Mrs. Miller, as her students like to call her, lets them know that their preferences are as important as hers. Having established the foundation with her students, she also shares with them "The Rights of the Reader," by French author Daniel Pennac. The list is beautifully illustrated by Quentin Blake and the poster can be downloaded here.

I wish I had a Mrs. Miller when I was a sixth grader in school. I'm fortunate to have developed my own love for reading! As a declaration of my book love, I penned this haiku by the time I finished reading The Book Whisperer:

Appreciate books;
wear your reading love proudly.
Read. Just keep reading!

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