An exciting development

That I can’t really tell you about yet

Textbook teaser


But more details soon. Soon!

REVIEW: The Book Whisperer – Donalyn Miller

How to teach reading

The Book Whisperer

I just got round to reading The Book Whisperer, which is a bit late, especially as the author was here in Japan for the 6th ER Seminar last year.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to make it to the Seminar, but I was aware of the book from there.

The reason I ended up reading it this week is because I visited SEG last weekend, and the book came up in conversation with Akio Furukawa. On the train back to Sendai I downloaded the Kindle version and read it in spurts and starts this week.

The one-sentence summary: it describes how teachers can help learners discover the joy of reading through a combination of free reading and counselling. It’s very similar to what the teachers at SEG do, which is what led to us talking about it and me reading it.

I enjoyed the book very much. I think it will appeal to teachers who like reading, teachers that believe in guiding students rather than teaching them, and teachers that believe in learner autonomy.

Miller writes from a US language arts perspective, but similar principles can apply to ESL and EFL contexts. The book is light and easy to read, with lots of examples taken from her students and other teachers. If anything, Miller relies a bit too much on Kraschen for academic support, but it doesn’t really detract from her message.

Highly recommended. 9/10

How do you help your students with reading?

The New School Year

The school year starts in April in Japan, and my university classes start next week.

cherry blossoms

In the first semester I’ll be continuing with the extensive reading classes according to the ER@TU system, as well as trialing the latest version of Dan E’s discussion curriculum. We’re hoping to write a discussion manual later in the year, similar to the extensive reading one. I think the content for this next manual will be even more ground-breaking and useful for teachers.

My focus for the first semester will be to get to know my students better and provide them with more personalized support. Right now I feel my systems are good, so the classes are decent, but the next step is to try to make personal connections with students.

With over 400 students this won’t be easy, but I think it’s worth trying.

What is your goal for the new school year?

27 Mar 2014, 4:15pm

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  • LIA



    A huge thank you to the teachers and staff at LIA. Your enthusiasm, friendliness, and warm welcome made this week very easy for me.

    Hope to see you again soon!

    19 Feb 2014, 2:43pm


  • Good news and bad news

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    Well, the good news is that I have control of this website back after the technical problems that took it down last week.

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    Coverage will resume in mid-March. Hope to see you then :)

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