2015 was a pretty impressive reading year for me. I read a little over 100 pictures books with my own two children, 5 books to better my “teaching craft,” and 72 YA titles. Not too shabby! I am aiming for more in 2016 though, and more to me doesn’t just mean volume. Check out my resolutions below:
1. “Talk books” whenever possible! This is definitely my number one resolution, for if I don’t share books enough, they won’t get into the hands of my students! I resolve to do even more book talks (I aim for one with each class, each day already) and read alouds, and just to make connections between titles and students whenever the chance. I will, however, not be the only one talking about amazing titles. I want to give my students more time for five-minute check ins with one another, as well as work in more book passes. My students LOVE book passes (preview a book for one minute, and then pass to the next student), and I see their benefit because students get to see so many new great titles.
2. Read more historical fiction. I don’t know why I usually steer clear of this genre, but not this year! I already plan to read Paper Hearts by Meg Wiviott (also a novel in verse), Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee, Audacity by Melanie Crowder, and the Prisoner of Night and Fog series. All these titles have been on my to-read list, but for some reason they just keep getting shoved to the end. Not anymore. My students, especially boys, love this genre too much. I cannot neglect it.
3. Read more nonfiction. I treat nonfiction like historical fiction, and this needs to come to a stop as well. I read some memoirs last year, but not enough. Some titles I plan to read are Stone Wall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights by Anne Bausum, Enchanted Air by Margarita Engle, Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Most Dangerous by Steve Sheinkin. Students have already been reading these titles, so I know I need to as well.
4. Read more novels in verse. My students would be shocked by this, but I really don’t read a lot of novels in verse. I’m embarrassed by this, for I should be since my students love them so much. There are many novels in verse that I love (The Crossover and Booked by Kwame Alexander, Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, and Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse), but I haven’t read many others lately. Some novels in verse I need to read this year are Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai, Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder, The Sound of Letting Go by Stasia Ward Kehoe, My Name Is Jason, Mine Too: Our Story. Our Way by Jason Reynolds and Jason Griffin, 5 to 1 by Holly Bodger, and Like Water on Stone by Dana Walrath.
5. Work in more audiobooks this year. I have never been one to listen to audiobooks. It’s mainly because I enjoy a variety of music while I drive. I listened to one last year, The Alex Crow by Andrew Smith (a true gem of a book), and that was only because I had a five-hour drive to get through. I don’t travel often, and my school is a 10-15 minute drive from my house. Like I tell my students, though, I need to make the time. Why? Because more and more of my students are struggling readers each year. They need audiobooks, so I need to listen to them. I could start listening to audiobooks while I clean or run errands. It’s doable. I have a few to start with (The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley and Gabi, Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero), but I will need advice for where to go after that. Is Amazon the cheapest way to go? Audiobooks are quite expensive, but I would like to have copies of at least 20 or so that my students could use.
6. Don’t forget about my own learning. I always make time for my own research throughout the school year, but over the past 5-6 years, it’s dwindled because of the amount of YA titles I have been reading. Not this year! Here are are some titles I have been meaning to read: Reading Nonfiction: Notice & Note Stances, Signposts, and Strategies by Kylene Beers and Robert Probst, Writing with Mentors by Allison Marchetti and Rebekah O’Dell, The Teacher You Want to Be, Passionate Learners: How to Engage and Empower Your Students by Pernille Ripp, and at least one title by Donald Graves.
So there you have it. My six reading resolutions are definitely possible, so time to get started!
Coming next: My 2016 Writing Resolutions