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