Sunday, August 26, 2012

Do books whisper to you?

This blog will serve as my Research Journal for SLIS J705 - Introduction to Research in Library and Information Science.  In the interest of space, and in keeping with the library field's love of acronyms and abbreviations, I will refer to the course as 705.  Dr. Solomon has asked us to develop a research proposal.  My initial thought is to focus on the impact of restricting students' reading choices on their reading skills and future reading for pleasure.  I will freely admit that I am influenced by Donalyn Miller, author of The Book Whisperer.  Miller's Book Whisperer blog can be found at the Education Week website.


  1. I have always felt very strong about restricting the reading of young people based on their present reading skills. I am sure that, if I had been held to this measurement, I would not have developed the lifelong love of reading that I have. I would not have lived so many lives in so many other times and places, travelled so far and been acquainted so many different places.

    When I was a child and dipped into books that were probably way above by my reading skills, not that I couldn't read or at least puzzle out the words, but t many of the concepts, ideas and descriptions were too long to keep my interest, I learned to read "for the story." Somehow I managed to find the story in OLIVER TWIST, and other books by Dickens, while skipping over a lot of the book that was above my thinking level. I read many classics because that was what was on the bookshelves on many older relatives. I know that many teachers would have been horrified at the way I read, but one advantage was that I remembered these books as good and, when I was older, I reread them and enjoyed finding so much I had skipped over when I was younger.

    I will close in saying I am in favor of a classroom having a variety of books available for the students to dip into . Interesting books, old books, books about animals, and fantasy, and science books that can inspire. When I was in elementary school, we had a classroom library. Whenever we fin1shed our assigned work, we were free to go choose any book we wanted and read. (By the way, we were also free to get out our crayons and draw). I discovered THE SECRET GARDEN this way and a few years later there was one of the original TARZAN books . So much joy has been added to my life by the classroom library and free reading time.


  2. Like Linda, I firmly support students being able to choose books freely. I find the concept of "lexile levels" a bit disheartening, actually. One of the most painful volunteer assignments I had in an elementary school was sorting, at the teacher's request, books into baskets with lexile level labels on them. How I wish I had had some research to which I could point and say, "Research shows children will...." if freely allowed to choose their pleasure reading material. I look forward to seeing the results of your research.

    Thank you also for the link to the Book Whisperer blog. I had never seen that blog before, and I have now bookmarked it. I also checked one of the books mentioned on the blog (Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper) out of the public library, and my nine-year-old daughter is very much enjoying reading the book. Thanks!

  3. Nice to have contributions; great beginning!

  4. Thank you all for your comments and observations. Let's keep the conversation going as I continue to explore the topic of reading programs.