Hi all! As many of you know, I'm very excited about the new book by Donalyn Miller called The Book Whisperer! It really is an ENJOYABLE read and I would LOVE to get some discussions going on it. I'm only about 1/3 way through (been too busy to even THINK lately!), but I already have one question for you all.

What about your whole class novel units? Sounds like Donalyn is saying to abandon them.

Hmmm... I'm not quite sure I'm ready to do that. BUT I do mine a little different--no reading outside of class. We LISTEN to the audio book on my iPod while following along with it (every kid has own copy) in class. They STILL get time to read their own books, then, too. I will keep reading, but I really think that the way I handle this whole class novel works well for me. I don't think I'm willing to give it up just yet.

Thoughts?

Tags: book, discussion, donalyn, education, miller, novel, reading, teacher, unit, whisperer

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I just finished The Book Whisperer. I loved it and it made me rethink a lot! I do whole class novels all year. What I think I will try this year is to do a unit for about 2 weeks, then reader's workshop for about 2 weeks, then keep alternating. After this year I can reevaluate and see what works.
Actually rec'd an email from Donalyn herself on this and I agree with her take on it. The way I do my novel unit is "shared" reading. Then the kiddos still get to read their own independent books. So it's different than giving up their own choice books to be forced to read the class novel and I don't utilize all of the endless comprehension and vocab worksheets. I DO use a few though: kids record their thinking about each main character (open ended thinking--not specific questions--just add a paragraph or two to a character after a class discussion), answer just 5-10 end of the chapter questions on SMARTboard/Senteo clicker quiz, and record 5-10 vocab terms each day in notebooks with two vocab quizzes throughout the unit. But the biggest difference between this and other novel units is still that choice to read their own books during independent reading time.
I have one whole group novel I am required by the district to do every year. I begin the semester with it and use it to establish the silent reading time in the classroom. I use it to teach context clues, some comprehension and establish an informal bookclub. I have also required students read their own books whenever time allows. I am looking forward to implementing more of Donalyn’s strategies. The book “Guiding Readers and Writers Grades 3-6” by Irene C. Fountas was recommended by Donalyn in her book. I checked it out and it has offered me a lot of guidance.
FYI: The book Readicide that Miller talks about in her book and on her blog is also great! It's a quick read and chocked full of information; mine is highlighted and full of post-its. Both books really made me re-evaluate my reading class structure.

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