The Book Whisperer: chapter 7

Halloween has come and gone for another year.  I love it (so many wonderful books to read!) - but I am exhausted.  So grateful that Halloween landed on a Friday this year.  
I will 'fess up that I did not not dress up as a character from a book.  Thought about it.  Thought that it might be fun to be Captain Underpants.  But my K students would not have "got" it - and would just wonder why on earth I was wearing a towel like a diaper and a cape (yes, unlike the real Captain Underpants, I would be wearing a shirt too).  And the parents might quietly ask each other if it was okay to leave their kids with me every day.  Maybe if I taught grade 2 or 3 ....

But this year, I wanted to wear a tutu. 

And that led, naturally, to being Starry Night (in a tutu).  

Now you know too much about my rather random and haphazard thought processes...

Donalyn Miller, closes her book with her thoughts about assessment. And her students moving on from the community that they have built together through their mutual excitement about and love for reading and books.

The final chapter of Donalyn Miller's book The Book Whisperer is titled:  Letting Go

To me, the book has come full circle.

We started off by needing to let go of our beautifully manicured lesson plans that offer students wonderful extension activities to the class book that is being read (likely popcorn style) by the entire class.

Teachers need to let go of our tightly held control of what is read in the classroom.  And how it is read. And what work/activity is required as a response to reading it.

Instead, we need to coax, nurture, fan the flames - whatever it takes - of a love of reading. 

We need to see our students as voracious readers - even if they don't - until they grow into that expectation.

We need to delight in books and reading ourselves. So much so that it is contagious.  We need to be reading role models for our students. 

How does this look in kindergarten since we are still learning to read... 

It is my responsibility to nurture a love of story, of curiosity what we can learn from books, a delight in the surprises and gifts that a new book can bring - so that every one of my students sees themselves as a reader of pictures, a reteller of stories and a just-about reader of the words.  

I need to nurture to a community who revels in the mystery and joy and soul expanding-ness of reading.

And once we have shared that joy and mystery with our students, we have to trust that it will stay with them.  We can hope that they have future teachers who will grow it again. But we have to trust that the community build with our students will stay with all of us, even if we don't get to spend every day together.

We have to 
let them go, let them go
we can't hold onto them any more

yes, we did have a few Elsa's at school on Halloween

more thoughts ...

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  1. I laughed at your Elsa comment. We had many an Elsa too. Letting go is tricky, but that Elsa is on to something.

    1. I don't like letting go, but it is part of the bigger picture.

  2. I think most teachers, myself included :) , probably have control issues to varying degrees. It's hard to let that control go ... luckily Donalyn is an excellent motivator!

    1. I guess we have to plant whatever seeds we can, and then trust the universe that they will be watered.


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