Monday, July 18, 2011

The Book Whisperer: Reader's Notebooks

Today I read about the Reader's Notebooks in The Book Whisperer.  This past nine weeks, I used a reading log for students to complete center work in but I see the difference between that and the reader's notebook.  My students used their reading logs to answer teacher created questions, complete graphic organizers, and do other skill based work.  A reader's notebook is a place for students to record their progress as a reader such as genre requirements and book lists. I would love to have a reader's notebook this year to allow my students and I to communicate about their reading.  I am having a hard time wrapping my brain around how to set them up and use them.  My system uses a basal program and I have certain non-negotiables that I have to complete in centers each week.  I have looked into reader's notebooks available on Teachers Pay Teachers (Lesson Plan SOS has one I really want!).  This is something I am going to have to do some serious planning and thinking about.  Does anyone out there use reader's notebooks with a basal program? I would love some suggestions!


  1. I plan on using Reader's Notebooks this year with my basal program (Treasures). Students will tab them with sections like reading log, comprehension strategies, vocabulary, reflection letters and fluency. They will bring them to the rug during the 15 minute mini-lesson to occasionally take notes when a new skill is being taught. Then they will mostly use them during independent reading time to note vocabulary and thinking while reading. I am still really working out my plan but so far it is Monday- mini-lesson with read aloud introducing theme and skill (anchor chart). Tuesday- short story in basal to teach vocabulary in context. Wednesday- short story again to teach comprehension strategy. Thursday & Friday students will listen using audio cd to the longer basal story applying comprehension skill or using leveled readers in groups (still thinking about this?). Then during Reader's workshop time they will independently read their choice of books from the class library unless they are in a guided reading group in which I will use the leveled readers to assess fluency and comprehension. Any thoughts? How do you break up your basal?

  2. I haven't read The Book Whisperer yet, so perhaps I am envisioning a reader's notebook slightly differently than what you are thinking, but... I would think you could use a reader's notebook with any text that evokes good thinking and/or discussion. When I think about the basal I had in school and look at what is in my classroom today, quality has certainty improved. :)

    I use a composition notebook for my reader's notebook. Students add their post-its, responded in letters and drawings, make lists, and sometimes wrote to a prompt. I always had my reading goals, book lists, and genre study elsewhere (reading folder). Not quite sure how I am going to put it all together this year. I may have students tab off parts of their notebook and glue those extra sheets or I may scrap the comp notebook all together and try Beth Newingham's approach with the binder or I may just stick to folder & notebook. Ha! Please share if you solve this problem. :)

    One book I found particularly helpful in this area was Notebook Connections: Strategies for a Reader's Notebook by Aimee Buckner. She approaches the readers notebook like a writer's notebook. She teaches her students particular strategies to extend their thinking of the text and reflect on their learning. She also provides examples of student work and her rubric for how she uses the readers notebook for a grade. Highly recommend!

    Best of luck!

  3. I have read Donalyn Miller's The Book Whisperer, and I teach high school! I implemented many of the strategies suggested in the book at the end of the school year; however, I did not use the reader's notebook. I will be using it this school year and am very excited about how it is going to give the students ownership of their reading.

    I also had the opportunity to attend a professional development session in the DFW area in which Donalyn presented many book titles for read alouds and mini-lessons on reading and writing strategies.

    I highly recommend this book as classroom reference. I bought a copy for my Nook and asked the librarian to buy a copy for our professional library at school. She did!