All the Feels: Creating a Classroom Community of Readers by Rachel Weidenhammer

Nerdy Book Club

Two summers ago, I read and fell in love with Donalyn Miller’s books, The Book Whisperer and Reading in the Wild. I felt passionate and invigorated to help build a love of reading in my 5th grade students. After reading incessantly, creating Donor’s Choose projects for more high interest books, adding in reading time to my student’s school day and getting high-interest good quality diverse books into the hands of my students, I left last year with a room full of almost middle schoolers who love reading and talking about books.

As I start a new school year, I thought I’d recap some of the routines and traditions that have become engrained in my classroom community that have helped to establish the Weidenhammer Wild Readers that currently reside in my room and those who have moved on to middle school. I by no means have everything figured out and I…

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Driving Our Children to Life Long Reading by Meg Leventhal

Nerdy Book Club

As part of our district’s reading workshop program, my fifth grade students are required to read a self-chosen book for thirty minutes each night for homework.  As a teacher, I know how vital this reading is to each student’s journey to the place where reading becomes like breathing.  As a parent, however, with two children of my own who have this same homework requirement, I know how easy it is to let nightly independent reading fall through the cracks.

Allowing our children to skip independent reading homework is easy, mostly because nobody will know that we skipped it.  It’s not like we’re skipping it because we don’t value reading or because we don’t care about our kids.  We skip it because we’re busy feeding them, keeping them clean, taking them to soccer practice, watching The Voice with them, and making them empty the dishwasher.  It’s because life goes a mile…

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On the Level by Donalyn Miller

Nerdy Book Club

While I was visiting an elementary school library in Chicago last spring, a group of third graders came into the library to return and check out books. The children wore index cards clipped to their shirts. On one side of the card was the child’s name. On the back, layers of sticky labels with the top label indicating the child’s current Lexile reading level. The poor librarian was required to check the reading level on the cards against the books the children wanted to check out. If a child picked a book that wasn’t on their level, she had to take it from them and tell them to get another one. Imagine what it feels like to hear you can’t read a book you want to read and must choose another one. Imagine your entire class witnesses this exchange. How do you feel about reading? How do you see yourself…

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Celebrating the Wonder of Wonder by Sherry Gick

Love this!

Nerdy Book Club

Sharing the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio with students is certainly not a new idea…most of us have been sharing Wonder with anyone who would listen since the beginning of 2012!  Even so, there’s something so amazingly wonder-ful about this book and how it touches readers’ lives.  I will never tire of seeing and hearing the reactions of others to this story.
This is exactly the reason why I persuaded our 6th grade Reading teachers to begin the school year by using Wonder as a whole class read aloud. We had already “test-driven” the novel as a read aloud with one 6th grade class in the spring of 2012. I had the privilege of beginning the book with them and finishing up their experience with a Skype session with R.J. Palacio on our last day of school. The interest level, immersion, and reactions from the students was amazing to see…

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The Book Whisperer {Chapter 1}

Starting the book study. Thanks for the info.

Literacy And Lattes


I am a reading teacher.  I teach first grade readers all day: one-on-one intervention with our most at risk readers in the morning and then literacy block in a classroom in the afternoon.

I am also a reader.  Ok…so I used to be more of a reader before I had two small kids, but in my heart I am a reader.  I love books.  I have always loved books.

Donalyn Miller speaks to my heart.  She is a teacher who loves books and wants her students to love them, too.

I love teaching readers…but I’m going to be honest and admit something to you…I do not love literacy centers.  I try really hard to love them.  I want to love this time.  I love teaching guided reading groups and know that the other kiddos need to be engaged in something to make those groups possible, so I’ve survived 10 years…

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