The Book Whisperer: chapter 5

It's two weeks before Halloween.

I know that this statement does not seem to have a lot to do with The Book Whisperer. But it does.

Two week before Halloween I get out the Halloween "stuff".  

Including the Halloween books.  

I am not crazy about the ghoulishness and blood and gore of Halloween.  I definitely am not a fan of kids having Halloween candy for breakfast  and then coming to school -- and then a crapload more if of it in their lunches.

But Halloween books.  There are so many wonderful Halloween books.  Today we will be reading The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything.  A wonderful book for retelling.  Pumpkin Pumpkin is a lovely, gentle story about the life cycle of pumpkins (and all plants).  The Big Pumpkin is also great for retelling and is an adaptation of a folk tale (thinking book genres from chapter 4).  I love reading The Runaway Pumpkin aloud for its rollicking rhythm.  And there are so many others?  What are some of your favourites?

Chapter 5 of Donalyn Miller's The Book Whisperer, Walking the Walk, is all about sharing enthusiasm for reading with students. 

Kids need reading role models.  

Sadly, polls show that reading role models are declining.  In 2007 a poll by Associated Press showed that the average American adult read 4 books during the year.  But averages can skew reality:  the average number of books read by reading adults was 7.  25% of those polled had not read any books.  Teachers did not do better than the "average adult"  

But that was 2007.  I am going to be a glass half full kind of girl.  Hopefully those numbers have changed in the last 7 years.

I cannot guarantee that my kindergarten students will walk in my door with a deep love of books.  I do not know if they have had lots of lap time with a loving adult exploring books.  

But I am in responsible for what goes on in my classroom.  I am responsible for creating a book enjoying classroom community.  I can do my best to help "make" readers. 

In order for my kids to become life long readers, they need role models.  This year, in school, that is me.  

I need to make sure that the classroom is stocked with shelves of books that my kids want to read.  I need to make sure that they are displayed in an inviting manner.

The kids need to see and hear me reading.  

They need to know that I am excited about books.  

They need to wonder why I have so many "favourite" books.  (We have a bin of books title Ms Sandi's Favourites - my favourites that don't fit into any other categories. 

And, I can't really fake it.  Kids can tell.  I need to make sharing a book together sound like chocolate not medicine.

Chapter 5 thoughts from these lovely bloggers...

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  1. Hi Ms. Sandi.

    I am in Dr. Strange's EDM310 class at the University of South Alabama.I was doing a little looking around on your blog and I thought this would be the post I wanted to comment on. I LOVE halloween. I LOVE dressing crazy and handing out candy and laughing about ghosts and pumpkins and everything smelling like "pumpkin spice" this that and the other haha. But I never knew how many good halloween books there were. I really love how you explain you want the children to love reading and for it to be more of a fun task than a chore..something they will want to do. I think a great way to incorporate reading into the class is to use special reading assignments and holiday reading is the best time to inspire a love of books! It looks like I have a lot more poking around on your site to do because this is just the beginning of my education journey and if there's education blogs like yours all along the way, I really think I'll be able to understand it more.

    Thank you!
    Jennifer Flowers

  2. What great reminders! I started a read-aloud the other day with the phrase "this is one of my all-time favorites" and my student said "Miss Trayers, you always say that!". :) I do have a lot of favorites! I cherish those moments of sharing a story with my kiddos-you could have heard a pin drop during Where The Wild Things Are last week-and I loved every minute of it! Those statistics are a bit frightening. I agree we are their role models-they should hear us excited about reading-I think it makes a big difference.

    Not Just Child's Play

    1. I love the magic that happens when we are all lost in a book together. Where the Wild Things Are is one of those books that is magical.

  3. Hey! My name is Taylor Parker. I am a secondary education student at the University of South Alabama. I really loved this blog post. I love everything about this time of the year around Halloween. The weather, going to the fair, football, and all the Halloween festivities. I completely agree that reading Halloween stories to children is a great way to celebrate the holiday. Children should be encouraged to read constantly. When I was younger reading was my absolute favorite thing to do. I was lucky enough to have teachers who made reading fun. I find it important that we teach children reading is fun.

    Thank you!
    Taylor Parker

  4. Hi Ms. Sandi,

    My name is Emily Rodrick and I am student at the University of South Alabama. I am currently taking a class called EDM 310. You can check out our class blog at EDM 310 Class Blog. You can also check out my personal class blog at Emily Rodrick's Class Blog.

    As a kid growing up, I definitely remember having a passion for reading. It stemmed from the excitement that I experienced in the classroom. Reading was a way to explore my imagination and create my own worlds. I agree that students should have reading role models especially when books are so portable now. I was interested in your list of Halloween books. I'll have to keep those titles in mind for when I am building my classroom book collection. They all seem like fun reads and I'm sure my students will enjoy them. Hopefully, in my classroom and others around the world, students will start to see reading as chocolate instead of medicine.

    Happy Belated Thanksgiving!

    Emily Rodrick

    1. I'm sorry. My blog link seems to be broken. The correct link is Emily Rodrick's Class Blog

  5. Ms. Sandi,

    Hello! My name is Kathryn Ortmann and I am also a student in Dr. Strange's EDM310 class at the University of South Alabama. I absolutely love your choice of Halloween books! My mom is a second grade teacher so she tries out all of her books out on me and my brother before she puts them in her classroom. My personal favorites are "Room on the Broom" and "Tucker's Spooky Halloween". My major is secondary English education, so I am going to be relying on fantastic teachers like yourself to inspire students to read before they get to the level I will be teaching. I, myself, love to read. So I am hoping I can keep up the love of reading for students, at least make it enjoyable. Thank you so much for what you do, and keep up the good work!

    Also, Happy Thanksgiving. Sorry its a little belated. :)

    Kathryn Ortmann
    EDM310 Blog

  6. Ms, Sandi,

    My name is Andrea Fust and I am a student in EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama. I was interested in the poll you found from Associated Press. My mother was a kindergarten teacher, and so I know how important being a role model for your students is. I really enjoyed your book list for your students. The Berenstain Bears series had a couple different Halloween books, and those were always my favorite.

    Andrea Fust
    My Blog

  7. Hello, I am also a student in Dr. Strange's EDM310 class. I am on my way to earning a degree in secondary English education. I think it's great that you keep reading an important part of your classroom. I love reading and it's because teachers exposed me to stories such as you have listed. So, I think that what you are doing is fantastic! If more students had teachers that pushed reading as being enjoyable and educational, many students would not struggle to read in the secondary schools.
    Happy Thanksgiving!
    Erica Mixon
    Erica Mixon's EDM310 Blog

  8. Hello Mrs. Sandi. My name is Justin Thomas and I am a student in Dr. Strange's EDM 310 class. I enjoyed reading your blog about making students lifelong readers. I agree students do need reading roll models to help cultivate a love for reading. The statistics were saddening that you mentioned in your blog post. However, I believe that with your enthusiasm and more teachers following in your footsteps we can change those numbers for the better. As a future educator I will join you in the cause of promoting a love for reading within my students. In addition, Happy belated Thanksgiving.
    Justin Thomas

  9. Hi! My name is Shira Bell and I'm a student in EDM310. I think that you brought some awesome points about reading in your post. I'm like you when it comes to Halloween because I'm not really big on the gory parts either. Also, I don't believe in all the candy because it rots the children's teeth. As far as reading, that's the most important part of a child's life. Reading is all that I did when I was a child and I would do it, literally, from sun up until sun down. I believe every child need to be read to every day. I hope that your polls have went up since the last time you checked also. I'm sure that you’re making a huge impact on your students’ lives by reading and having so many books available in your favorite book bin. I remember the person that peeked my interest in reading was my mother. She made the time to read to me every night. That has made a huge difference in my life. I did have a favorite author when I was a child and his name was R. L. Stine. He wrote somewhat scary books and I loved to read them. When you were a child did you have a favorite author? Also, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! You can view my class blog if you would like at Shira Bell's class blog.

  10. Hi!! My name is Amber Swindle and I am a student at the University of South Alabama in Dr. Strange's EDM310 class. I really enjoyed reading your article. I too find it very sad that reading in the classroom has declined so much over the years. I always remembered it being a very fun and exciting way of learning when I was in Elementary school. I especially like how you choose books based on upcoming events or holidays. This is a great way to keep students engaged with what they are learning because they are reading about things that are going on around them. I plan to incorporate reading into my classroom one day. It is a special and exciting way of learning in my opinion. Great article! And Happy belated Thanksgiving!

  11. I found those 2007 stats quite shocking!
    Love the Mem Fox quote.

  12. Hello, My name is Justin Thompson and I am a student at the University of South Alabama in Dr. Strange EDM310 class. It is alarming how reading is declining over the years. It is important for teachers to read in their classroom in order to change this. I remember as a young student teachers reading to us. This truly made reading important in my life, and because of this I read everyday.

  13. I love that you have a Ms. Sandi's Favourites bin. I need to add that to my room! Thanks for the great idea.


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