On the first day of 2015 I posted this status on Facebook:
I didn’t think it was a big deal, just something I had noticed about myself as a reader. 40+ comments later, I was thinking more. Friends had definite opinions about reading goals. I really didn’t, I was kind of in the middle. So I thought more about them. The more I thought, the more I came to the same conclusion. There isn’t one right answer for everyone. Some people might want a number to shoot for, some people might be constrained by that concept. So, like everything else in my classroom, I think we need to let our students have choices.
In my class for the past four years my students have chosen how many books they want to try and read for the school year. After reading Donalyn Miller’s wonderful book, The Book Whisperer, I see the wisdom in 40 books. I always offer that up as a good number for kids, but they ultimately choose how many they want as their goal. The first week back from Christmas break we take a look at our goals and revise for the remainder of the year. It works for them.
Last year I stopped having a number goal for myself. I read plenty. For 2014 I just read and didn’t think about it. I ended up reading the same as 2013. This year I’m sticking with the “no number” goal and making these goals instead:
I have so many professional books that I have purchased and read the first 50 pages or so. They are filled with great ideas, but I get one idea, try it in my classroom, and forget to go back to the book. My goal this year is to read 20 professional books. I’d love to read more, but that is (hopefully) an attainable goal.
Read the “Award” Books
A goal I have for myself every year is to read our state award books – the Rebecca Caudill and Bluestem nominees. There are twenty on each list, so forty all together. Each list is announced in the spring for the following school year, my goal is to read them all by the start of school that August.
I also want to make sure I read any of the books announced for ALA’s Youth Media Awards that would be perfect for my classroom. I might not get to the Printz books or the other young adult winners, but I want to read the rest.
I will freely admit that non-fiction tends to be an area I don’t read enough in. I know my friend Franki has given herself a goal of reading 52 non-fiction books this year, one for each week. I think I will join her in that goal and increase my knowledge of these books.
This break I read a book by Jan Karon and realized when I was done that I couldn’t remember the last book I had read that was just for me. It was written for adults and there was no child in mind that I could pass it off to. It was a great feeling. I often don’t read books for adults. I find that in adult books I abhor anything that is remotely scary. I don’t like a ton of romance in a book. I like realistic fiction more than fantasy. So I’m often left unsure as to what to read. For 2015 I would like to commit to finding twelve books to read that are just for me, either young adult books I wouldn't give me students or books for adults.
Four goals. I will continue to track on Goodreads, but not necessarily for the number, but to simply remember what I have read. I can’t wait to see what books are in store for me this year.