The Girl Who Was Locked In The Library

I always had a book in hand as a child, and often still do, so I couldn’t resist this post from my other New Blogger Contest winner, Anne Page at Beautiful Speech Life!


Reading the Book Whisperer

I have been reading Donalyn Miller’s The Book Whisperer and I’m hanging on every word. Yes, I am a book nerd. I have always been an avid reader. I love everything about books: the colorful covers, the back flap, the different fonts and the feel of the edge of a page as I get ready to turn it.

Through books I travel, I make friends, I build character, I open my mind, and for a brief time, escape the demands of the day.

When I was a little girl, about 8 or 9 years old, my mom took me to one of my favorite places, the library. She told me I could stay while she went across the park to the grocery store. This was in clean, green Boulder city, a safe little town (back in the day). I was in heaven and quickly became lost in my book reverie. When I had my stack of books, I placed them on the counter and waited to check them out. And waited, and waited.

I was really shy then, but soon called out a timid “Hello?” No answer. I had been so quiet, the librarian didn’t realize I was there and had left. When no one answered, I went to the door. Locked. I was scared and trapped. No cell phones back then, I had no way of contacting my mom.

I opened the mail slot in the heavy wooden door and looked out into the street. I must have started yelling because I remember a lady on the sidewalk saying “Little girl, are you locked in there?” Luckily, the police station was right next door and my mom came to pick me up right as the police were helping me out. I’m sure she got a scare!

I still love libraries, no permanent damage was done.  My point is how many of the kids that we work with love books and reading so much that they can get lost in them? How can we get them to be enthusiastic about books when they have language impairments and reading disabilities? Is it possible?

Donalyn Miller says a resounding “Yes!” and I agree with her. But it’s not going to be easy and many things will have to change.

The Book Whisperer

The Book Whisperer is all about making reading magical again. In Donalyn’s  classroom there are no book reports, comprehension worksheets and group reading.  The focus is on independent reading and individual choice of reading material. The kids get excited about reading and learn authentic reading behaviors. Her 6th graders read 40 books a year AND achieve high scores on standardized tests. Best of all, she is creating a new generation of readers! I want to do that too! Watch for upcoming posts on what I try.

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Tracy

    I was an SLP for 15 years before taking an eight year hiatus. My daughter is going to be a junior in high school and I’m debating weather to go back to the profession. I would have to take 30 hrs. of CE and retake the Praxis test; since it’s been over 5 years.
    What has changed as far as the approach to speech therapy services? What would be your recommendations for CE courses ? What argumentative devices do you use in your practice? Is all your paperwork done electronically? How has technology helped or hurt your practice? What are your greatest challenges as an SLP?
    I have worked with pediatrics to geriatrics and in every type of environment.
    Thank you for your time and blog.
    Best Regards,

    1. admin

      Tracy, How wonderful that you had that time at home and welcome back! The core approach to treatment for a lot of speech and language disorders will be the same or at least similar to what you remember. I don’t work with AAC myself these days, but that is an area that’s had a lot of change. Paperwork, at least in the schools, is generally not done electronically. I think that will vary a great deal on the environment you work in and what type of security measures they have in place to allow electronic paperwork (or not). The iPad is a favorite tool of both SLPs and clients but not mandatory.

      I’m not sure of the best way to study for the Praxis test. I’m guessing there must be a study guide and/or an online course you could take for that. As far as what area to focus on for CE, I would determine what area you are looking to get back into and then decide what makes the most sense for that specialization. Something like the ASHA convention would be a great way to dabble in a bunch of different areas, network with other SLPs, maybe even get some specific tips on the Praxis or re-entering the field.

      Hope this helps! Please feel free to email me directly if you need to. [email protected]

  2. Anne Page

    Thanks Kim! Always a pleasure to win something. Acknowledgement from someone as accomplished and professional as you are is especially wonderful.

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The views expressed in this blog are my own and are intended to inspire other speech-language pathologists in their own practice. If you are a parent, teacher or other educator, these ideas are not intended to take the place of treatment by a certified clinician. Read full disclaimer here.