Keeping Kids Reading in the Summer

Known for her popular blog, The Book Whisperer, on, Donalyn Miller is an experienced and passionate teacher who has been creating lifelong readers in her classroom for years.  

In her new book, The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child (Jossey-Bass and Education Week Press, paper $22.95), Miller rejects more traditional reading instruction, like book reports and comprehension worksheets, in favor of providing hours of independent classroom reading time and giving students agency to choose their own books. Her enthusiasm for reading is infectious, and no matter what level they start from, her students read an average of 40 books a year; achieve high scores on standardized tests; and most importantly, internalize a love for books and reading.

In 2007, an Associated Press poll reported that on average adults in the U.S. read four books per year.  With the number of books Americans are reading in sharp decline, how can we convince our young people that reading is fundamental?  Miller offers a path to upending this growing and frightening trend, explaining, “My class starts every day with independent reading time. The more my students read and grow into a community of readers, the more they want to read.”

Miller imparts her secrets for achieving classroom success by demonstrating how to:

  • Replace book reports with book commercials and book reviews
  • Rethink the whole-class novel
  • Approach “test reading” as a genre
  • Create Readers’ Notebooks
  • Feed a Classroom Library (Miller’s own boasts 2,000 books)

The Book Whisperer is filled with practical strategies for the classroom, anecdotes from students on their emerging zeal for reading, and Miller’s thoughts on her own profound relationship with books and reading. Assembled by Miller’s students, the Ultimate Library List of more than 100 books will be a helpful resource for teachers and parents. The Book Whisperer also includes “Whispers”--a window into Miller’s unique dialogue about reading with her students.

About the Author

Donalyn Miller is a 6th grade language arts and social studies teacher in Texas who can turn even a dormant reader into a student who can't put books down.  Known as “The Book Whisperer” for her ability to help students find their inner reader, her blog on has won a wide and devoted following.


This content requires the latest Adobe Flash Player and a browser with JavaScript enabled. Click here for a free download of the latest Adobe Flash Player.