The saying “Do as I say, not as I do” does not apply to Donalyn Miller’s class. She is very much an avid reader and this is why her students really trust her opinions and recommendations concerning books. They see her reading along with them and they know she values reading with her whole heart. This is not something someone can fake either you love to read or you don’t. In Chapter 5 Walking the Walk, Miller gives us her views on how teachers are such important role models to our students sometimes even more so then parents. It is popular to blame parents for the students’ lack of good reading habits or disengagement of reading altogether. Miller’s reminds us that at one point these same parents were once are students as well. Who then will become the role model for the student? It is not uncommon to say our students are more likely to spend more awake time with their teacher then their parents. We are in a society where both parents will have to work to support the household. They might have had a bad reading experience when they were younger. They could also be like our students today where they have no good role models of passionate readers. Miller mention’s Rosenblatt’s transactional theory in which she states the teachers who have no love of reading will usually teach reading as more of efferent style which a more skills based approach. Whereas teachers who love reading teach it with an aesthetic approach and these are the teachers who will have a greater chance of making an influential difference with our students reading habits. “If we want our students to read and enjoy it for the rest of their lives, then we must show them what a reading life looks like” (Miller 110).
So how can we become good reading role models to our students? We have to find our inner reader and self reflect on our reading history. We have to be honest and share our experiences with our students, the good ones and the bad ones. This is a great way to connect with our students, show them we once were just like them. Miller also has a reading improvement plan we as teachers can follow:
o Commit to a certain amount of reading per day.
o Choose books to read that are personally interesting to you.
o Read more books for children.
o Take recommendations from you own students.
o Investigate recommendations from industry sources.
o Create your own reader’s notebook.
o Reflect on what you are reading.
This chapter was a great way to remind us how much influence we have on our students and ways we can improve our own reading habits.