I am currently reading Donalyn Miller’s book, Reading in the Wild as part of this summer’s #cyberPD book study co-hosted over at the Literacy Zone blog. The idea is to read two chapters at a time and write a blog post that is then linked back to one of the participating blogs for this book study.
Reading in the Wild is a follow-up to Donalyn’s first book, The Book Whisperer, which promoted “free voluntary reading” in the classroom as a way to develop a love of reading in students. In this second book, Donalyn takes these ideas a step further by describing the kind of attitudes and behaviours commonly exhibited by “wild readers”, or readers who love to read so much they always have a book in their hand, no matter where they go. The attitudes and behaviours of wild readers, as identified in this book, are the following: dedicating time to read; self-selecting reading material; sharing books and reading with other readers; having reading plans; and showing preferences for genres, authors and topics p. xxiii – xxiv). How teachers can foster these behaviours in the classroom is the general topic of this book.
The theme that is continuously woven through the first two chapters is that of developing independent readers. I am sure this theme will be present in small and big ways in the rest of the book. Independence is an important teaching concept for me, not just in teaching reading but in all aspects of classroom life. Since I teach students to be independent from the first day of school, I found immediate affinity with the ideas presented in Donalyn’s book. Of course, the road to independence isn’t about letting kids loose to figure it out on their own. On the contrary, it’s about taking advantage of opportunities, both planned and unplanned, to teach students how to become independent through one-on-one conferences, and small and whole group lessons. The primary goal that Donalyn Miller, with Susan Kelley, has set out to demonstrate in Reading in the Wild is that the independent behaviours of wild readers can and should be taught to students.
I am looking forward to continuing to read this book and to implement the ideas presented here in my new assignment as a classroom teacher.
Cross posted to Reflect and Refine.