The Book Whisperer - Chapter 2 - Mrs. B's First Grade

The Book Whisperer - Chapter 2

It is Thursday, so that means I am back to talking about The Book Whisperer! This week we are taking a look at Chapter 2 Everybody Is a Reader. {sigh} I just love that title. My friend Jessica over at Pride and Primary is hosting this week. Definitely check out her post for TONS of information!

I loved how Donalynn opened the chapter, "...but I still had a lot to learn about being a responsive teacher. What I thought my students needed each week when I wrote my lesson plans was not as important as how much I responded to their needs when they expressed them to me." (pg 20) She goes into talking about how she creates a "book frenzy" on her first day of school. This resonated with me because I often do not let my first graders even touch our books until we have gone over the directions for how the library works over and over and over and over. Reading what she wrote though made me think of my own students. Each year as they come in my room one of the first things they notice is our library. Then, I tell them they can't touch it until I know they will know how to use it. That isn't fair. I definitely need to change that! (Please tell me I am not the only one...)

She then goes on to talk about three different types of readers - Developing (most commonly known as struggling readers), Dormant (read to pass but do not embrace reading outside of school), and Underground (gifted readers, but see school reading as disconnected from the reading they prefer.) Her descriptions were spot on and I could picture past students that fit exactly in these categories.

The last part of the chapter was devoted to conditions for learning. She writes, "...if my classroom was not a motivational environment for readers, my instruction was doomed to fail." The tips she lists from Australian researcher Brian Cambourne on pages 34 to 36 were great reflection points for myself on my own classroom.

Finally, she includes a "whisper" at the end of the chapter. In this she shares two student reading surveys and talks about how she picks out books that interests them. I finally had a "Yeah! I did that!" moment with this section. Before we began our informational writing unit, I wanted my students to complete a book review on a nonfiction book. I had them write down some areas that interested them and picked out books for them at the library. I LOVED seeing their faces when they saw what books I picked out. There is something special about having your teacher pick you personally out a book...
Do I need to do this more often? YES! I am going to think about how I can fit this more regularly in my schedule. For now, I want to share with you an AWESOME site for you can read about and search for books your students might be interested in. Jen Vincent reads a huge variety of books and writes her invaluable opinion on how you can use each book in your classroom or at home. I would for sure check it out!

Below are my final take-aways from the chapter. I would love to hear what you thought!


  1. Love your review of the chapter! I also need to make a point of personally picking out books for students. I do some already, but could definitely kick it up a notch. They love to show me they are reading books again that I've read aloud, or that they are reading similar books to what I'm using.

    I do have to get over the whole "don't touch the library til we learn how to use it" thing!! I just want my kiddos to know that books are important and need to be treated as such, but I also want them reading as soon as possible!!

    Great post!!

    1. Thanks for your comments, Jessica! My students also love to show me that they are rereading the books that I have read. I think I need to learn what I have in my library better to be able to suggest more. I think it is also tricky because they are not able to read many of the picture books.

      Getting over not touching the library will be tough for me! I definitely see its importance now though. I am trying to think of a way that they can have a book in their hands day one.


  2. I loved reading your thoughts on this chapter!
    Thanks so much for the resource- I can't wait to check it out and use it!!!
    Using interest surveys is definitely something I need to do more of-glad to see I'm not alone!
    Stomping Through First

    1. Thanks for your comment, Kellee! My current interest survey just gets filed and never looked at. I need to fix that! Also glad I am not alone... ;)

  3. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about this chapter. I'm the same way with my library. I had the idea of having kids bring in their favorite books from home to get them started reading their books right away and sharing them with tha class the first couple days of school. I thought it would be especially good for the developing readers who don't quite view themselves as readers, especially at the beginning of first grade.

    I definitely need to do an interest survey. Do you have one you like to use with firsties? Can't wait to hear your thoughts on the next chapters. I have some more reading to do. 😊
    Our Elementary Lives

    1. Awesome idea, Paige! That gets my wheels turning. I may just have to do that too! I do not have a specific survey. I usually find one on TpT right before open house! ;) Maybe I will try to make one that is a lot more geared towards interests that could lead me to book ideas. I will have to add that to my list!


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