Educational tweeters and bloggers across the Internet are sharing this impassioned post from Sandra Stiles, a middle school English teacher. Dismayed by a new reading program implemented in her district, which limits the books students can read and marginalizes "pleasure reading" to an at-home activity, Sandra has taken a stand. "I decided to become a teacher to teach students. Not to teach them to hate reading. I will do as usual. Against the district I will modify my program and teach them about good books and put good books in their hands and if they keep those books then I ...


I enjoyed a wonderful summer. Traveling around the country promoting The Book Whisperer and teaching staff development, I appeared in eight cities, gave ten interviews, stopped in thirteen airports, rode in twenty-two airplanes, and read sixty books (lots of reading time on those planes!). Talking about books and reading with hundreds of teachers and zealous readers from Pennsylvania to Chicago to Portland, let me assure you that the book is not dead, enthusiastic reading role models exist in our schools and homes, and many children and adults love to read. I met some great characters, both inside and outside of ...


When I was five years old, my mother banned me from reading in bed with my flashlight because I burned my ear one night falling asleep with the bulb against my cheek. Two weeks later, Mom discovered me asleep in the dry bathtub, clutching my pillow and my book. Undaunted by the flashlight ban and driven by my desire to read, I crept into the bathroom and read with the door closed. My mother, recognizing how much reading meant to me, bought me a reading lamp and a stack of books to go with it. I trace my reading personality ...


On this Independence Day, I am grateful for my freedom to read what I want. My fundamental right to write or read any book, blog, news article, or Twitter feed—no matter how controversial, thoughtful, or ridiculous—is not commonplace for all citizens around the world. When we choose our own reading material and encourage children to do the same—we exercise our rights as Americans. Celebrate your reading freedom today! I have exercised my right to read this summer. With the extra time the vacation brings, I set the ambitious goal to read a book each day. Perhaps, I ...


Editor's Note: Donalyn Miller will be appearing live from San Francisco on ABC's "View from the Bay" on Thursday, July 2 at 3PM PST. To watch the program, check out this link: http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/channel?section=view_from_the_bay&id=5755208...


Reading Kate Messner's passionate post In Defense of Summer Reading Freedom reminds me of my similar post last summer, The Tale of Two Tables. What are your thoughts on required summer reading?...


After reading, last summer, Pamela Ehrenberg’s first novel, Ethan Suspended, which explores themes of prejudice, loyalty and tolerance through the eyes of Ethan, a young man who moves in with his grandparents in their declining neighborhood, I eagerly dove into Ehrenberg’s latest book, Tillmon County Fire. Set in a remote part of Appalachia, the book unfolds through the alternating perspectives of several teenagers who live in this rural community: Rob, the openly-gay newcomer; Lacey, the invisible girl who works in her family’s hardware store; Jeremy and his mentally-challenged twin, Albert; and Aiden, who believes he is an ...


School ended yesterday, and today, I moved the contents of my classroom into the new room my students and I will inhabit next year. Six girls, former students from various years, donated their first day of summer vacation to help me move. The most demanding task, of course, is dusting 10 bookshelves and hauling over 80 tubs of books down the hall. After two hours of dusting and shelving, I noticed that a large percentage of my books were stacked on the floor, never making it to the shelves. Dismayed about how little progress we were making, I cried out, “Girls,...


Editor's Note: Esme Raji Codell, reading guru and author of How to Get Your Child to Love Reading, gives Donalyn Miller's book a great review in her blog....


Keenly aware of how little time we have left together, my students and I race to finish the books we have borrowed from each other. Students wistfully return books held hostage in their lockers and bedrooms. Donations for our school-wide book swap arrive each day, and I cull and examine our classroom library in preparation for my move to a new classroom down the hall (the only time I have ever admitted we might have too many books!). The end of the year is a bittersweet time for me—a mix of pride in my students’ reading accomplishments, and sorrow ...


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