The Book Whisperer - Chapter 1 - Mrs. B's First Grade

The Book Whisperer - Chapter 1

This is the summer of professional reading for me. I always have a huge stack of books - and rarely get through them. If I am totally honest, I read A TON but rarely read professional books. I am much more of a fiction story girl. However, I do know the huge value in them. I am so excited that so many of my bloggy friends are wanting to read the same books as I do. I ended school on Wednesday and am already diving deep into a lot of them. This leaves me excited for what I am going to learn to bring back to my classroom! On that note, let's talk about Chapter One from Donalyn Miller's The Book Whisperer!
In Chapter One, Donalyn takes her reader through her beginning journey as a teacher. She writes about her earliest memories of reading and how her identity as a person is entwined with her love of reading and books. She can not separate the two. She assumed that this would be enough to pass on a love of reading to her students, but found out quickly that it was not.

In her first year of teaching she planned elaborate units around novels. She writes that she has several activities to go along with the readings including art and writing projects. She was surprised when her students rushed through their activities and were not fully engaged. Her colleagues told her that the students were "lazy" and just did the minimum to get by. Donalyn was not satisfied with that answer and eventually discovered the workshop method.

One of the most important parts of discovering the workshop effort was her realization that her students needed choice. "On those rare opportunities when I allowed my students to choose their own books, their interest in completing assignments was sparked..." (pg 13) She learned that she needed to put her students in charge of their learning and take a seat back.

She ends the chapter having the workshop structure in place, but still feeling frustrated. She talks about feeling as though she was just copying the step-by-step directions laid out by the master teachers of the reading workshop. She still has work to do.

Below are my thoughts!
Are you reading also? Visit Literacy and Lattes for the graphic and link up! We will be discussing Chapter Two next Thursday, June 18!


  1. I'm so excited to link up for this book study! I loved chapter one and I'm excited to keep digging even deeper. I can't wait to figure out how to relate everything she says on a first grade level!

    1. Yes! I am about to sit down with Chapter 2 now... : )


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