Monday, June 23, 2014

Passionate Learners: A New Professional Book by Pernille Ripp

 I am not sure how I discovered Pernille Ripp (@pernilleripp), but I am so glad I did! Her blog, Blogging Through the Fourth Dimension, has had a huge impact on my thinking and learning. Pernille is one of the most student-centred teachers I know and she shares generously with the global community. Pernille was the person who invented The Global Read Aloud, something that continues to grow each year.  I was lucky enough to talk to Pernille a few months ago for a Choice Literacy podcast and again, learned so much from her. I am a huge Pernille fan, so I was thrilled to see that she had written a book and pre-ordered it the minute that I could!

Passionate Learners: Giving Our Classrooms Back to Our Students is now available and once I started reading it, I had trouble putting it down.  The book is available as an ebook and I am so glad about that.  The highlighting tool came in handy and I can now go back and revisit the many powerful lines and ideas I marked.

I am so glad I waited until the school year was over to read this book.  I loved reading it as I thought ahead to the fall and what I wanted for our classroom next year.  It is the perfect summer read for thinking and reflecting.

I loved so much about this book. First of all, Pernille is such a humble educator. She doesn't claim to know all of the answers but she shares her story honestly and passionately. She talks about her journey to become the teacher she is today and shares the challenges. I don't know any teachers who feel that their classroom is a perfect match to the vision they have and Pernille lets us know that that's okay. But she lets us know that we have the control to make our classrooms what we want if we trust ourselves as teachers who know what is right for kids. One quote I loved early in the book was this, "We can change education from within. We can change the way our students feel about coming to school, but we have to take the first step."  She also reminds us that we don't have to change everything all at once. She wisely shares,  "And what I discovered was this: even the smallest changes can make monumental differences."

I loved every invitation Pernille gave me to reflect on my practice because she invited me by telling stories of her own change. She lets us know about challenges along the way and how she handled them.  She shares research she listens to and research she doesn't. She is so passionate about the environment she creates for her kids and she continues to change to meet her vision.

The book is a great combination of reflective thinking and helpful ideas. Pernille shares her thoughts and goals and then continues by sharing steps you can take to make each change that you want to make.  She talks about the year as a whole and also spends a bit of time talking about those first days of school and how important they are if we want to create a classroom of passionate learners.

One thing I was struck by was that the book is perfect for both new teachers and veteran teachers. Pernille talks directly to new teachers often in the book, encouraging them to trust themselves, trust their students, and connect with colleagues. As a veteran teacher, the book also spoke to me. Pernille understands the reason most of us went into teaching and she empowers us all to do what we know is best--even if it isn't the norm.

Pernille is an advocate for students and she is also an advocate for teachers-as-decision-makers. I am glad to have read this book early in the summer, to sit with her ideas and think about how important they are.  I know I will revisit the book, my highlights and my notes often as I create a vision for the upcoming school year.  

Thank you, Pernille for writing such an honest and powerful book!

(You can read more about Pernille and her book in an interview that she did at Powerful Learning Practice.)


  1. I am currently reading this book and couldn't agree more about the honesty and how powerful this book is for all of us - really demonstrates that habit of reflective teaching - and yes that is why it is so good for both new and veteran teachers. Thanks for this post and for sharing this fabulous read.

  2. Oh, this looks wonderful! I'm going to get it! Thank you for sharing it. :-)

  3. This sounds like a book I need to read and share with my administrator. Thanks Franki!


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