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Donalyn Miller

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Brianne Lange

on 26 August 2016

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Transcript of Donalyn Miller

Teacher Plan
of Attack
Reading Log
vs. Status
of the Class

Signs of
a Fake

Reading Time
Here is how to create a book stack for a 6th grade boy who is not reading...
Who is
Donalyn Miller?
Donalyn Miller has worked with a wide variety of upper elementary and middle school students and currently teaches fifth grade at
O.A. Peterson Elementary
in Forth Worth, Texas.
In her popular book,
The Book Whisperer,
Donalyn reflects on
her journey to become
a reading teacher
and describes how
she inspires and motivates
her middle school students
to read 40 or more
books a year.

In her latest book,
Reading in the Wild,
Donalyn collects responses
from 900 adult readers
and uses this information
to teach lifelong
reading habits
to her students.
Donalyn currently facilitates the community blog, The Nerdy Book Club, and co-writes a monthly column for Scholastic’s Principal-to-Principal Newsletter. Her articles about teaching and reading have appeared in publications such as The Reading Teacher, Educational Leadership, and The Washington Post.

The Book Whisperer

Donalyn's conference focused
on learning from lifelong learners,
which comes from her newest book
Reading in the Wild.
Following is a summary
of her conference.
flipping pages
too quickly
seems to have the smallest bladder
in the class
book upside down
different book
each time
you see them
drive-thru readers,
switching books
trying to fake
their way through
a conference
in a book
*looking for
a book during
reading time*
quiet & compliant kids
often don’t
demand attention
they might say
reading is boring
but it's typically just
too difficult for them
10 minute observations,
observe once a minute,
three times a week.
Form includes:
Is student reading? Yes / No
Other behaviors observed: _______
Space for teacher reflection
Space for reader’s reflection (asked by teacher)
Teacher’s plan of attack (books suggestions, strategies, how to create success, per day goals, smaller goals).

The info on this form
gives you observational
data. For even more details, see Donalyn's slideshare.

other action
in the classroom
different book
each time
you see them
The world of reading is huge. A preview stack limits the choice but still gives students a choice. Choose books to set them up for success. Create a stack of books that will work for THAT kid, not just YOUR favorites.
Hatchet - a prolific author, can lead to more reading Paulsen books
Swindle - first in a series, also prolific author
A Boy at War - “in the back pocket,” has worked for many kids like this
Storm Runners - “in the back pocket,” has worked for many kids like this, high adventure
Love That Dog - short, one sitting, creates success for reading
Amulet - short, one sitting, graphic novel offers additional support for comprehension
Shelter Dogs - nonfiction, THIS student likes nonfiction and dogs

Rather than a daily reading log to be completed every night (usually by parents), create a personal Status of the Class.
This form includes:
1. Date
2. Title
3. Page number today
4. I’m at the part where…
Tell students: “I can help you better if this is completed.”

Then, 1, 2, or 3x a week, do this orally and record on class Status of the Class.
1. Student
2. Date
3. Title
4. Page Number
This creates accountability, introduces books to classmates, and helps monitor progress. Use to start the year, then put away as accountability like this is no longer needed.


1. time
2. not knowing the books
3. record keeping, documenting conferences

have a record to show parents, principal, etc.
have a record for yourself to see student progress.
“We cannot throw out the pedagogy because we can’t handle the management of it.” -Donalyn
The best record keeping tool = the one you can manage and maintain all year.
Use pictures - take pictures of reading logs and journal entries and book covers with kids
Remember the Golden Gate Bridge method - just like they paint the bridge - get as far as you can today with as many kids as you can today and start again tomorrow. When you get through them, start again.
Think, “There will be no invisible children in my classroom this year.”
Don’t beat yourself up for NOT conferring with kids.
Don’t make it a math problem
about numbers of conferences or page numbers.

1.) What did I notice?
2.) What is my plan for the reader?
3.) What is my plan for me as a teacher?

There are
3 kinds of
This round of conferences we will talk about ________. Let’s prepare together in advance for successful conferences.
1. Name, date, title, page __of__, genre
2. Why did you choose it?
3. Reading level (easy, hard, just right)
4. Talk about the book so far
5. Read this part to me (negotiate the start/stop with them). Begin where they are in the book. Don’t make them go back.
6. Tell me what you remember about what you just read
7. Let’s discuss your strengths and what you need to work on
8. How long until you finish?

Reading Habits
includes reader, preferences, engagement, record keeping, commitment, selection.
Ask: “When do you read at night?” There’s a huge difference, and it tells a lot, if kids answer “Every night before bed.” and “At the dinner table with the timer set for 30 minutes.”
Do the conference, follow the paper guide, RECORD IT, date it. Done. If needed, fill in the words on the paper/conference guide and then take a picture of that. You can upload images, notes, video, audio, etc. Create a notebook for each student. Uploads are automatically dated.
Take a picture of any form like those required for record keeping, now it’s a digital version
Tips & Tricks
Create seating charts based on genre/book preferences. Create community. (Example: put all the fans of the Warriors series together. Then they don’t annoy their classmates AND they’re happy to talk to one another each day.)
Have experts in the class. Armond was the graphic novel expert. Abby could be the Cliques series expert. Make it known to the class.
Mysteries are great for predicting and adjusting predictions.
Audio books allow kids to improve fluency AND read up grade levels. Now kids can read what all the other kids are reading and be successful. If you buy audio materials, be mindful of the titles you are purchasing. If they will be used for struggling readers, get the books that struggling readers actually read.
Kids are “tech-comfy” but not necessarily “tech-savvy.”
There’s a misconception that if we don’t grade independent reading that kids won’t do it. If we can grade every piece of reading and writing kids do, then kids aren’t doing enough.

Read Alouds
“If independent reading is #1 in improving reading achievement, then read alouds are #2.”
Why don’t read alouds happen?
1. time
2. misconception that students don’t need it since they can already read
3. misconception that older kids won’t like it
4. stigma of it being babyish
5. not viewed as a priority or especially beneficial
6. it gets cut in favor of “real” teaching and lessons

Benefits of
Read alouds
builds community
crosses reading levels - all students can discuss regardless of reading level
the “musicality” of a read aloud - it models fluency
models the craft of writing
expose kids to books, authors, and genres they would otherwise avoid
build capacity to self-select books
sends pleasure messages about reading
build background knowledge
basis for content area instruction


Series HMH Publishing - Scientists in the Field
Siebert Medal - check for nonfiction titles
Who Was… series (the bobblehead series)
Dear America - check the authors and then move to their books outside the series
Time for Kids - archived articles
Library subscriptions - get the digital version for iPad

What do we do with kids who abandon too many books?
hook them with read aloud
give limited
set shorter goals other than book completion


Have all students
keep a reading log/list
for every book
they begin.
Teacher can see ruts, book choice based on star rating, time spent reading

Check online...
Twitter, Facebook, & Goodreads
are great resources
also check with authors via online connections
Ideas for

Use Web 2.0 tool
Padlet (padlet.com)
Using Padlet, create walls. You can have a
book recommendations wall and a books we think Mr./Mrs. So-and-So should buy...

communities challenge you to stretch and to go outside your comfort zone

we can model reading communities - teachers, grade levels
cross communities - have one class leave recommendations for incoming class
Your reading community will inspire you to write more (research shows the more kids read, the more they write.)
Download the free app
Pic Collage
Use Pic Collage to keep a weekly record, student created
(example: “Our Reading Week by Destiny and Kailey”)
be sure to check out
You can choose to receive
a daily or weekly e-mail from Nerdy Book Club, which will continually
give you great ideas!
For additional info on anything found
in this Prezi, check out:
Full transcript