The Book Whisperer

IMG_2444In 4th & 5th grade literature, the school year began inspired by Donalyn Miller’s The Book Whisperer and her 40 Book Challenge.  Miller’s goal is to foster a love of reading that will translate into strong foundations in literacy. She challenges students to read 40 books across genres throughout the school year. While it is not necessary to complete all 40 books, it is necessary to try to read more than you have before. Miller’s methods have been successful in many schools across the country and we are excited to adapt them here at Bixby.

When I joined the Bixby Team this year, our Literature classes had already begun an exploration of Poetry, a more challenging genre in terms of student interest. In order to reignite the class interest level I decided to take a poll that would determine our next genre. These class votes lead to choosing Mystery as our next genre exploration. Meanwhile, when we were between genres I offered our students the chance to finish a class book that was being read prior to Poetry. During this time I determined that while the first Read-Aloud book of the year was a presented as Realistic Fiction, it leaned heavily into the genres of Mystery and Fantasy.  I presented our students with the option of continuing this book, The League of the Beastly Dreadfuls, as a way to explore Mystery and they eagerly agreed.

Having finished The Beastly Dreadfuls this week, we are now taking more time to delve into the mercurial vocabulary that is splendiferously written, by local author Holly Grant. Our next steps will lead to more discussions about both the genre of mystery and predications of The League of the Beastly Dreadfuls Book 2: The Dastardly Deed, coming out in February 2016.

Following Miller’s inspiring methods to foster wild readers is our main goal in 4th & 5th grade literature. Since many of our students are voracious readers already, our goal is to propel them even further, while equally caring for our readers that fit somewhere in the middle, and our readers that haven’t found their love of reading yet. By engaging all of our students interests through choice reading, genre reading, and Read-Aloud we are able to accommodate interest, excitement, and nudge the exploration of genres as we go.

It has been such a pleasure to join Bixby as the new Literature teacher this year and I look forward to seeing all of our students thrive and find their literary wings.

All the best,
Melodie