Social media like Facebook enable you to become reacquainted with people you haven't seen or heard from in years. That was the case with Joy Rancatore, who I first knew when she was a young girl growing up in South Carolina. We connected a few years ago and I discovered that she's now a mother of two little ones, a writer, photographer, and homeschool mother.
She recently posted this review on Goodreads and gave me permission to share it with you.
May I just say I would LOVE to meet Donalyn Miller, hang out with her at a local coffee shop and enjoy letting a latte grow cold as we discuss our love of books and share recommendations back and forth. Her conversational tone in The Book Whisperer made me feel as though I was having a discussion with a best friend. Many of her memories of growing up with her nose in a book conjured up flashbacks of my own childhood and brought smiles to my face and an occasional laugh.
If all teachers were like Donalyn Miller, I would stop homeschooling my children today! She encourages other teachers and administrators to allow children to read--freely and a lot--in order to make them book readers for life and, as an added bonus, do better on required standardized testing. Why is her opinion not more widely adopted as truth when, clearly, her methods work? I have known for years the road to success for everyone--whether they are a "natural" reader or not--is paved with hardcovers, paperbacks and e-books. In order to understand life, learn about the world around us and gather facts and skills necessary to everyday life, we MUST read! And, as Miller says, reading shouldn't be a school thing; it should be a life thing. I lost my passion for reading in high school and college amidst all the required reading and class-shared novels. It took me several years to rediscover the joys of reading for pleasure and purpose and, often, both at once!
While I am an advocate for the great need of better training in grammar and punctuation in schools, I agree with Miller that simply reading good literature serves as invaluable examples. I would love to find out more about how she approaches teaching these things or if that falls into another teacher’s block.
I jotted down several wonderful quotes from this book. Here is my favorite: "Reading changes your life. Reading unlocks worlds unknown or forgotten, taking travelers around the world and through time. Reading helps you escape the confines of school and pursue your own education. Through characters--the saints and sinners, real or imagined--reading shows you how to be a better human being." 18
I do have to include my opinion on the book as a whole. I thought Miller's content was outstanding and well-presented; however, I was disappointed to discover grammar and punctuation errors throughout the book. Also, the placement of some of the pull out materials and the references to them were confusing.
The Book Whisperer is a must-read for teachers, parents, school administrators and readers.
|Joy grew up with a book in one hand and a pen in the other. |
She presently lives in Slidell, La.