Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

As an educator, I always feel like I get 2 starts to the year.  One at the start of the school year and then at the traditional time of January 1st.  At the beginning of a school year, I set goals for what I hope I will be able to do as a school administrator as well as what I would like to see for my teachers and students.  My school goal this year was to create a reading community where every child would love books and reading.  After four years of watching children struggle with reading and state testing, I knew that if I could get them reading more and exposed to a greater variety of books that they would have more to draw from and be better overall students.

I am excited to say that as a school community, we are well on our way to becoming more of a reading community and I am very excited about all of the things we accomplished so far.  I will be writing some blog posts talking about what we are doing and how it is going over the next few months.

But January is the time that I think about personal resolutions.  And since this is a blog about books and reading, I want to share some goals related to reading.

Thanks to #book-a-day on Twitter, I managed to read around 380 books in 2010.  True many of them were picture books but there were also over 140 novels (MG/YA) on that list.  But I am going to stretch myself this year.  If I read a majority of the 380 books from June to December, then surely by starting in January I can reach a much higher number.  Here is what I am thinking:

Goal:  I have set a goal to at least double that number for 2011 or to read nearly 800 books (about 15 books a week).

Goal:  To read more non-fiction picture books particularly geared for grades 3 to 8.

Goal:  To read at least 12 non-fiction books related to professional growth and development.

Goal:  To read more early reader/chapter books.  I know that there must be more out there than Junie B. Jones or the Magic Tree House Series (no offense to either of those book series).  Yet, I don't feel like I have a good grasp of what is out there.

Goal:  To go back and either read or re-read older books that I have either never read or forgot about.  I love staying current but the nice thing about children's books is that there is a new group of children who haven't read one of those books that were published 5, 10, or more years ago.  Many are timeless and wonderful and should be pulled out and read.

In April, I branched out and started my blog.  It is still a work in progress but I want to see it take more shape.  How will I do this?

Goal:  To post more reviews of books that I am reading and how they are or could be used in the classroom.  

Goal:  Aim to blog/post at least 5 times per week.

Goal:  To develop some weekly or monthly features for the blog that will focus on books and the classroom.

I have truly enjoyed my on-line Professional Learning Community/Network (PLC/N) and don't plan to stop the interactions.  However, I would like to develop or participate in something more local or face to face. I am already on the Children's Literature Council of Southern California's Award Committee, but I think I need to branch out a little.  What will I do?

Goal: To research and identify local chapters of national organizations related to children and reading and determine the possibility of regular participation in one of these groups. 

I know that these goals are fluid and may change some over the year, and I can live with things shifting around.  However, I know that if I hadn't sat down two years ago and started to think about some changes I wanted for both the school and my life and then started to pursue those changes/goals I would never have discovered so many wonderful people and activities.

Here is to a Happy New Year to all and may this be the year that we conquer some of our fears or obstacles and see new growth and life in our lives. - Aly


  1. I hope you get to blog more and write reviews of books. I keep meaning to do that stuff too but haven't done as well as I should. Thanks again for talking to me about teaching Elem Ed. :-)

  2. 800 books? wow.
    I wonder how do you manage your reading time.

    Hope all those list will run well

  3. @suzanne - I am going to try and carve time out on the weekend to write & schedule more reviews. They just take me so long to write. Need to find a more streamlined process. :-)

    @darla - Thanks!

  4. @aleetha - My goal is to do 10 picture books a week and then 5 other (novels, graphic novels, early chapter books, etc.) It is possible but will mean some discipline and probably giving up TV. :-)

  5. I love your goals! Best of luck!

  6. You are off to an ambitious start for the new year. I always love that I get TWO fresh starts as well. It is a perk of the profession. Good luck with your new goals. I'll look forward to reading your posts. (I'm hoping one of them will be how you manage to get so much reading done each week. LOL)

  7. Great goals, Aly! I think your resolutions two years ago led to meeting me, so I am glad you made them, too!!! :D I'm really excited about 2011. Have a safe trip home and see you on the weekend!

  8. You have a thoughtful list of goals here that reflect a committment to your own personal/professional growth as well as supporting your staff and students. I'm looking forward to your posts.

    If you are looking for early reader/chapter books I would suggest looking at Frankly Frannie, Daisy Dawson, The Lighthouse Family, Frank Asch's Star Jumper series, Andy Shane, and Jake Drake. These are all great series for late 2nd-4th grade readers.

  9. Book Maven - where were you when I was at Borders today trying to avoid all the early reading chapter books about Fairies??? Definitely will add your suggestions thanks.

    Frootjoos - Yes, my last resolutions led me to you... :-)

    Cathy - Isn't it cool to have two starts?