National Writing Project

“Book Whisperer” Discusses How to Encourage Young Readers

Date: October 9, 2009

Summary: Donalyn Miller, teacher-consultant with the North Star of Texas Writing Project and author of the recently published The Book Whisperer, lends insight into her work in this interview with NWP.


Developing, Dormant, and Underground Readers

Miller sat down with the National Writing Project to discuss her book, the impact that her writing project experience has had on her teaching and writing, and her thoughts about moving students in her classroom toward the goal of becoming lifelong readers.

In thinking about readers and the types of readers that come into my classroom at the beginning of the year, I see three different trends: developing readers, dormant readers, and underground readers. Well, I developed those terms because I didn't like the negative terminology that we often use to describe kids who are not as far down the road as we would like them to be.

We use terms like struggling and reluctant reader. And to me, it sets up expectations for teachers to think less of those children. And by that I mean they're not capable of doing as much because they're "struggling" or they're "reluctant." And so I tried to think of more positive terminology.

Featured Book on the English Companion Ning

During October, The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child, will appear as the English Companion Ning's featured book club title . Join the discussion to talk about the classroom conditions that foster independent reading, share favorite books and authors, and investigate the need for reading role models both in and out of school.

Television Appearance by Donalyn Miller

During a recent tour to promote her newly published book, The Book Whisperer, Miller took time out for a television interview, below, in which she offers tips on inspiring children to read.

Related Resource Topics

© 2023 National Writing Project