The Teacher's Desk

Jacquie's Gold Stars

Clip art image of a gold star

Each month I honor an individual, team, program, school, or piece of legislation that is helping to promote a quality education for kids. I welcome your nomination for this honor, and I will consider thoughtfully any name(s) you recommend. You can use the "Contact " link to make a nomination. Please explain why you think your nominee should be honored, and let me know how I can contact you for verification. And if you're one of a group that has gone the extra mile, tell me about it. It doesn't hurt to blow your own horn once in awhile. And besides, nobody will ever accuse you of bragging because I don't ever reveal the nominator's name.


October's Gold Star goes to...

Donalyn Miller

Public Speaker
Fifth Grade Teacher at O.A. Peterson Elementary

Fort Worth, Texas

In the summer of 2010, at a literacy workshop in Onalaska, Wisconsin, one of the attendees mentioned (and strongly recommended) Donalyn Miller's book, The Book Whisperer. I had not heard of Donalyn Miller before that warm summer day, but since that time I have become a full-blown Miller "groupie" — and with good reason.

Since 2010 I have been a featured speaker at two of the reading conferences where Donalyn keynoted and I have come to know her as a genuinely warm and compassionate person, as well as an outstanding educator. She is extremely well-read, has developed a strategy that motivates her students to read forty or more books a year, and generously shares her expertise with teachers throughout the country.

Donalyn's second book, Reading in the Wild, serves as a roadmap for turning students into lifelong readers. Donalyn, who says she has yet to meet a child she couldn't turn into a reader, also facilitates The Nerdy Book Club blog ( and co-writes a monthly column for Scholastic's Principal-to-Principal newsletter.

When she isn't teaching, writing, traveling to conferences, speaking, or reading, she enjoys spending time with her readaholic husband and daughter.

When I speak at conferences, teach literacy workshops or do staff development I nearly always show and read excerpts from my five favorite "professional" books. The Book Whisperer is on the top of the pile.

You can learn more about Donalyn's technique at, or read 50+ teacher reviews of her first book at If you do either of these activities I'm sure you'll agree with my Gold Star selection for October. If you do both, you'll probably wonder why it took me so long to acknowledge this remarkable lady.


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