5,4,3,2,1 Interview – Donalyn Miller

On Monday of last week I called Donalyn Miller to wish her a happy “book birthday”. Towards the end of our conversation I started to think about our friendship. Donalyn is one of my closest and best friends. She manages to be one of the nicest people I have ever met, while at the same time knowing how to ask me the right questions to push me to become a better teacher. I have a hard time believing that we have only known each other for two and a half years, and we have only hung out a handful of times. Maybe it feels like I have known her longer because I take what she has taught me to school with me each day. Maybe it is because she helps me teach students to fall in love with reading each and every day, or maybe it is because she loves Hound Dog True as much as I do.

I am honored to have the opportunity to interview The Book Whisperer on my blog today.

Happy reading!

We’re going to call this a 5,4,3,2,1 Interview.

Here are the rules:

1. I give the interviewee 5 questions

2. They have to answer

  • 1 question with 5 sentences

  • 1 question with 4 sentences

  • 1 question with 3 sentences

  • 1 question with 2 sentences

  • 1 question with 1 sentence

3.  They get to pick which question which question to answer with each number of sentences

4. Have fun!

reading in the wild

  1. Can you tell us a little bit about Reading In The Wild? (3 sentences)

Reading in the Wild is about bridging the gap between school reading and lifelong reading habits. My colleague and mentor, Susie Kelley, and I surveyed 900 adult readers about their habits, identified patterns, and used these habits as a guide to model and teach our students how to manage and feed their reading lives beyond school. Susie and I designed lesson and assessment instruments, reflecting on our teaching practices, and retooled our classrooms to emphasize reading habits.

  1. What is your favorite thing about being a writer? (1 sentence)

My favorite thing about being a writer is that magic moment when what I am thinking and feeling actually appears on the page the way I want.

  1. What’s the hardest thing about being a writer? (2 sentences)

I am a lazy writer. I struggle to maintain a consistent writing habit, which means that I am often pushing a deadline to finish.


  1. If you could spend one day inside the world of any book which book would you pick? (5 sentences)

Just one book? Impossible question, Colby. I am an unapologetic fan of high fantasy books and one of my secret wishes is to fly a dragon. As a teenager, I read all of Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern books, Dragon Prince by Melanie Rawn, and books of Chinese and European dragon myths. I suppose I am attracted to the wild magic, power, and freedom of dragons.


  1. What advice do you have for the young writers in my classroom? (4 sentences)

Your thoughts and feelings are important, and writing gives you a place to work things out and experiment with ideas. It takes a lot of writing to get to the good stuff. Don’t be afraid or reluctant to revise. Needing to revising doesn’t mean you aren’t a good writer; it means you are a smart writer.

Be sure to check out the other stops on the Reading In The Wild blog tour.

November 4 The Goddess of YA Literature
November 5 Mr. Schu Reads
November 6 Librarian’s Quest
November 7 Nerdy Book Club (Katherine Sokolowski)
November 8 A Year of Reading
November 9 Teach Mentor Texts


3 thoughts on “5,4,3,2,1 Interview – Donalyn Miller

  1. I recently bought READING IN THE WILD and love it so far. Also, i was sooooo excited to see that Anne McCaffrey book cover. I read all of Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern books when I was younger, too!!! My music group sang songs based on the books. I remember wanting so very, very badly to own my own dragon. 🙂 I especially love McCaffrey’s Harper Hall books (musical focus, took place in the same world).

    And now I want to reread some of them.

    Wonderful interview…thanks for sharing!


  2. I WILL be buying READING IN THE WILD for my daughter-in-law for her “New Year” birthday 🙂 I’m excited it’ll be a part of the stack I’m buying! lol

    And I never heard of Anne McCaffrey’s books. I’m sure, Donalyn, that if you read the Harry Potter series, you must’ve LOVED the scene in Deathly Hallows! 😀


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