Reading in the Wild: The Book Whisperer's Keys to Cultivating Lifelong Reading Habits
November 2013, Jossey-Bass
In Reading in the Wild, reading expert Donalyn Miller continues the conversation that began in her bestselling book, The Book Whisperer. While The Book Whisperer revealed the secrets of getting students to love reading, Reading in the Wild, written with reading teacher Susan Kelley, describes how to truly instill lifelong "wild" reading habits in our students.
Based, in part, on survey responses from adult readers as well as students, Reading in the Wild offers solid advice and strategies on how to develop, encourage, and assess five key reading habits that cultivate a lifelong love of reading. Also included are strategies, lesson plans, management tools, and comprehensive lists of recommended books. Copublished with Editorial Projects in Education, publisher of Education Week and Teacher magazine, Reading in the Wild is packed with ideas for helping students build capacity for a lifetime of "wild" reading.
"When the thrill of choice reading starts to fade, it's time to
grab Reading in the Wild. This treasure trove of resources
and management techniques will enhance and improve existing
classroom systems and structures."
—Cris Tovani, secondary teacher, Cherry Creek School District, Colorado, consultant, and author of Do I Really Have to Teach Reading?
"With Reading in the Wild, Donalyn Miller gives educators
another important book. She reminds us that creating lifelong
readers goes far beyond the first step of putting good books into
—Franki Sibberson, third-grade teacher, Dublin City Schools, Dublin, Ohio, and author of Beyond Leveled Books
"Reading in the Wild, along with the now legendary The
Book Whisperer, constitutes the complete guide to creating a
stimulating literature program that also gets students excited
about pleasure reading, the kind of reading that best prepares
students for understanding demanding academic texts. In other
words, Donalyn Miller has solved one of the central problems in
—Stephen Krashen, professor emeritus, University of Southern California
Foreword, by Teri S. Lesesne xi
LIFE, THE UNIVERSE, AND EVERYTHING 1
CHAPTER 1 Wild Readers Dedicate Time to Read 5
CREATING A WORKSHOP SCHEDULE THAT WORKS FOR YOU 37
CHAPTER 2 Wild Readers Self-Select Reading Material 42
CURATING A CLASSROOM LIBRARY 79
CHAPTER 3 Wild Readers Share Books and Reading with Other Readers 87
CONFERRING: WHAT’S THE POINT? 129
CHAPTER 4 Wild Readers Have Reading Plans 135
BUILDING A PERSONAL CANON 158
CHAPTER 5 Wild Readers Show Preferences 162
Appendix A: Reader’s Notebook Sheets 198
GENRE REQUIREMENTS GRAPH 199
MY READING LIST 200
BOOKS TO READ LIST 206
STATUS OF THE CLASS 207
Appendix B: Reading Habits Reflections 208
MY READING ITINERARY 209
MY SELECTION REFLECTION 214
MY READING INFLUENCES 217
Appendix C: Reading Habits Assessments 219
Appendix D: Reading Habits Surveys 222
WILD READER SURVEY 223
END-OF-YEAR READING HABITS SURVEY 227
END-OF-YEAR READING PREFERENCES SURVEY 231
Appendix E: Students’ Favorite Titles and Series 234
About the Authors 258
About the Sponsor 259
Donalyn Miller, known as "The Book Whisperer" for her insightful advice on what students like to read and how to foster independent reading, teaches language arts and social studies at Peterson Elementary in Fort Worth, Texas.
Susan Kelley has taught reading for over thirty years and currently teaches language arts and social studies at Trinity Meadows Intermediate in Keller, Texas.
“…extended information here that applies to today’s Common Core Standards-based classroom environment,…this work is jam-packed with highly useful information that is adaptable for various grade levels and teaching styles….essential for the practitioner or preparing practitioner looking for verified approaches to reading that will engage all students.”—Library Journal, December 2013
American kids don’t read—at least not voluntarily. Any teacher who struggles to instill a love of reading in their students can tell you that. So can their worried parents. Today’s young people seem increasingly reluctant to read any printed text that’s longer than 140 characters. That’s a problem, because children who love reading are most successful in school. Later in life, readers tend to have better job prospects, enjoy more professional success, and even be more socially and civically involved in their communities.
Yes, it’s past time to change the role of reading, as well as how it’s taught in classrooms too often overly constrained by strict curriculums and standardized test performance goals. And fortunately, educators who want to help kids learn to love reading are about to receive a powerful new tool: READING IN THE WILD: THE BOOK WHISPERER’S KEYS TO CULTIVATING LIFELONG READING HABITS (Jossey-Bass, a Wiley brand; November 2013; $22.95; Paper; ISBN: 9780470900307), a new book by Donalyn Miler with Susan Kelly.
In READING IN THE WILD, Miller, whose Texas middle-school students read forty or more books a year and regularly score high on the state’s standardized tests, shares a multitude of granular strategies teachers can use in their classrooms to get children hooked on reading. In the pages of READING IN THE WILD (which, incidentally, you won’t want to stop turning) Miller discusses:
• The “anatomy” of the wild reader, and how to foster these traits in students
• Why instilling lifelong reading habits in children should be a primary educational goal
• Strategies to help teachers fit “wild reading” into class schedules
• How to build and maintain an inviting classroom library
• Tactics to help students select books they’ll enjoy and keep track of their reading habits
• The importance of plugging students into “reading communities”
• Strategies to involve parents in helping busy students squeeze in some reading—especially during the “edge” times that bracket their daily commitments
• …and much more
Reading is a valuable and timeless skill, but helping children learn to love it in a digital society requires new tactics. READING IN THE WILD steps into that void by giving teachers the tools they’ll need to navigate the important task of drawing out and affirming the reader in each child.