Donalyn Miller with Susan Kelley READING IN THE WILD —The Book Whisperer’s Keys to Cultivating Lifelong Reading Habits
Donalyn Miller’s first book The Book Whisper gives us insights to get our students to simply love reading. Her second book Reading in the Wild describes the five characteristics of a “wild” or avid reader. A wild reader dedicates time to read, selects their own reading material, talks and writes about books, makes plans on what to read, and shows preference for genres, authors and topics. Miller believes, “Instilling lifelong reading habits in children should be our primary goal as reading teachers.” Why? The research is clear. Those that read—succeed.
Miller’s book provides an overview of the components of what a “wild” reader’s classroom should look, and more importantly feel like. Haven’t you walked into a classroom where everyone is just thoroughly engaged in reading? There is something magical about these moments and you almost wished you hadn’t disturbed them. Although a true wild reader wouldn’t notice you.
My take a ways from this book are not necessary specific to the strategies, but more on what I can do as a building administrator to support “wild” reading. I came away with ten, but after reading this book I am sure you could come up with more for your own list.
Cultivating Lifelong Reading Habits: To Do List
1. Create time in the building schedule where everyone just reads.
2. Launch summer reading activities on our website before students leave for the summer.
3. Include book recommendations on weekly morning announcements.
4. Create a reading graffiti wall where students could “post” book recommendations for peers.
5. Connect with on-line like colleagues through:
a. Goodreads—what are your friends and coworkers reading recommendations?
b. Facebook—Centurions post book endorsements, opinions, and questions.
c. Twitter—a wealth of knowledge I have yet to truly tap into.
d. TitleTalk—conversations about how to best promote reading to our students.
6. Learn more about Edmodo, where classes connect, collaborate and share on-line.
7. Subscribe to Reading Teacher and share with teachers and instructional support staff.
8. Encourage teachers to increase the type of genres in read-alouds.
9. Learn more about the contents of a “Reading Notebook” versus a “Reading Log”.
10. Nurture my inner “wild” reading and just read.