Monday, July 1, 2013
The Book Whisperer - Share Your Thoughts!
As I know it has with other teachers, this book has caused me to question some of my teaching practices. I currently have required home reading logs in my classroom and have an incentive program based on the Accelerated Reading (AR) quizzes my students take. (This program is used school-wide and is strongly promoted.) Here are a few quotes from Donalyn Miller that are resonating with me:
"Programs like Accerlerated Reader or Scholastic Reading performance counts, in which books are assigned a point value and students must complete a multiple-choice test after reading them, are the worst distortion of reading I can think of."
"After all, how many adult readers would choose to read if they had to take a multiple-choice test for every book they finished?"
"The bottom line: this log is about you, not your students. Logs don't give an accurate account of how much students are reading, and maintaining them does not motivate them to read more, either."
"The log is a reward for students who have strong home support for reading, but a punishment for those who don't. Thus, it never serves the students it's supposed to."
"The only way you will know that your students read every day is to watch them read right in front of you."
"Unfortunately, the only purpose these programs serve is to convince students there is no innate value in reading and that it is only worth doing if there is a prize attached."
What are your thoughts on reading logs and incentive programs?
This book is definitely worth the read! I'm curious to hear what others have taken away from it. You may not agree with every point the author is making, but I think it does encourage us to reflect on our teaching practices and to not lose sight of what is most important for our students as readers!