Archive for the ‘Literacy Resolutions’ Category

What Are You Reading? Literacy Resolutions February Update

February 22, 2011

Last month, I made seven literacy resolutions for 2011.  Each month, as part of a way to hold myself accountable, I hope to provide an update on my progress.

I’ve been a bit slow going this month, but I’ve made some strides.

In February, I’ve read almost every day for myself.  There were a few days I didn’t read for me, but I did read to my kids.  I’m still working on this – making time to read for me!

I’ve really enjoyed keeping a Reader’s Notebook because it allows me to see what progress I have made.  This has been exciting for me, because I have never recorded what I’ve read before.

I’m starting to read more MG and YA, which is out of my comfort zone only because I’ve read mainly picture books for the last 8 years – next on my TBR pile is Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shephard

I have not read professional literature in a timely manner, nor have I begun to write again.  I hope to become better at this in the next month.  A goal to work towards!

My reading community has increased tremendously as I joined the Centurions of 2011 Challenge on Facebook, Goodreads, and began a book club with a group of friends.  And of course, my community here at Literacy Toolbox!

So far in 2011, I have read 20 books towards my 111 book goal (Centurions of 2011 Challenge) and I am currently reading Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua.

What are you reading this month?  What do you recommend?

©2011 by Dawn Little for Literacy Toolbox. All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

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Tool Time Rewind: A Month in Review at Literacy Toolbox

January 27, 2011

Most people look at January as a time for new beginnings.  I’m not big on making resolutions for the New Year, but as 2010 came to a close, I began to analyze my reading life and decided I needed a few literacy resolutions to jumpstart 2011!

Literacy Resolution #1: Read Every Day!

Inspired by Donalyn Miller’s, The Book Whisperer, I decided there was no time like the present to read every day.  I try to read for me every day, not just to my kids.

Literacy Resolution #2: Keep a Reader’s Notebook

I want to be able to track how much reading I do this year and I want to have a record in later years of what I read.  Keeping a Reader’s Notebook will help me with this goal.  I’m keeping my personal reading and professional reading separate and I’ve helped my kids start their own reading notebooks as well.

Literacy Resolution #3: Read Outside My Comfort Zone

Stated simply: read books I wouldn’t normally read.  I have a few in my TBR pile already.  The last couple of years have found me reading picture books to my children and adult books for myself.  Through my Twitter friends, I have found a great deal of MG and YA books that I would like to read.  My goal is to read widely this year.

Literacy Resolution #4: Read More MG and YA

My environment the last eight years has not necessarily afforded me the opportunity to read MG and YA, as my children are under 8 years old.  However, my son is moving into middle grade chapter books now and I want to be able to discuss them with him.  Plus, I kind of miss reading these genres!

Literacy Resolution #5: Read Professional Literature in a Timely Manner

I have subscriptions to two professional journals that I just can’t seem to read regularly.  I really need to.  And want to.  So, my goal is to sit down and read an article or two when they arrive in the mail.  There are also a number of professional books that I would like to read!

Literacy Resolution #6: Take Time to Write More

My first book was published in 2010.  I really have so much more to say!  I need to get to it! A little writing time each day is in order for 2011!

Literacy Resolution #7: Become Part of a Reading Community

A reading community is so important in the life of a reader.  I’m lucky to have found several communities to join this year. 

And that is Tool Time Rewind for the month of January.

And don’t forget: ”We-View” Wednesday is back! The third Wednesday of every month is reserved for reviews of books you read with your children.  Share yours and your child’s thoughts on the book!  To participate, please email me [dlittle [at] linkstoliteracy [dot] com] your review by the Sunday prior.  I hope you will join us!

Literacy Resolution #7: Become Part of a Reading Community

January 25, 2011

Happy New Year!  I have decided that I’m going to do my best to make 2011 my best year yet, personally and professionally.  I don’t typically make New Year’s Resolutions, but in the spirit of this New Year, I have decided to make some literacy resolutions.  I will share these resolutions with you over the course of the next month.

Resolution #7:  Become Part of a Reading Community

I have always been a reader.  However, I haven’t always considered myself part of a reading community.  As a child, I would discuss and share books with one friend in particular.  But that was before social reading was encouraged in schools.  We shared our book recommendations on our own.  When I taught, I had my colleagues to discuss books with.  When my son was a baby, I was invited to join my neighborhood book club.  How I looked forward to those evenings of snacks, discussion, and camaraderie.  Unfortunately, as lives became more complicated, and more children joined the fold, our book club kind of fell by the wayside.  As a result, I kind of lost my way as a reader, too.  But, no more!  2011 is the year for me to bring reading back!

There are several ways that I plan to become part of a reading community this year:

Book Club – Back in November, a few of my friends from high school, whom I still see fairly regularly, suggested that we start a book club.  My ears perked up to that!  So last week, we had our first meeting and we discussed Forever . . . by Judy Blume.  We decided that we were going to keep this book club fairly light, reading mostly MG and YA.  Our next choice is Pretty Little Liars – keeping it light!  With the development of this book club, I can actually mark two resolutions off – becoming part of a reading community and Literacy Resolution #4: Read More MG/YA!

Goodreads – I have heard about Goodreads for some time now, mostly through my friends on Twitter.  So, at the beginning of the month, I took the leap and joined myself.  I’m so glad I did.  I have found many recommendations of books to read just through other friends’ bookshelves.  I am able to keep better track of the books I do read, as well as the books I want to read.  This has also helped me with Literacy Resolution #2: Keep a Reader’s Notebook.  Additionally, I joined a Reading Challenge through Goodreads: The 2011 Reading Challenge.  This challenge simply required me to decide how many books I want to read for the year and Goodreads keeps track.  I tied in that challenge to my next reading community:

Centurions of 2011 – This group began in 2010, challenging participants to read 100 books (I think!) in 2010.  This year, the group has expanded exponentially in people and the challenge has increased to 111 books for 2011.  This is a Facebook group started by my friend, Paul Hankins (@PaulWHankins on Twitter).  A tireless advocate for literacy, Paul constantly amazes me at all he does in the name of literacy.  Paul is one of my favorite people to follow on Twitter and to friend on Facebook because I know he will continue to share his knowledge (and he has a lot!) and continue to challenge me as a reader and an educator.  I’m proud to be part of a reading community with so many wonderful literacy advocates attached to it.

Will you join me?  What are some literacy resolutions you have made this year?

©2011 by Dawn Little for Literacy Toolbox. All Rights Reserved.  All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

Literacy Resolution #6: Take Time to Write More

January 20, 2011

Happy New Year!  I have decided that I’m going to do my best to make 2011 my best year yet, personally and professionally.  I don’t typically make New Year’s Resolutions, but in the spirit of this New Year, I have decided to make some literacy resolutions.  I will share these resolutions with you over the course of the next month.

Resolution #6  Make Time to Write More

Back in September, I had the pleasure of seeing my first book published.  Teaching Comprehension With Nonfiction Read Alouds: 12 Lessons for Using Newspapers, Magazines, and Other Nonfiction Texts to Build Key Comprehension Skills was a true pleasure to write and for all intents and purposes is my third baby.  I did not realize how much I actually enjoyed writing until I had a purpose.  All writers need purpose – this is a true lesson to take back to the classroom – write with a purpose.  Unfortunately, I have not had much time to write lately.  I have so many ideas floating around in my head as well as written down in my “digital” writer’s notebook, otherwise known as my phone!

My 6th literacy resolution for this year is to write more.  Not my normal day-to-day writing of lists and other necessary writing, but to write to share literacy strategies and ideas with you all.

My problem is reorganizing my time to take time to write.  I read a fabulous blog post by Kate Messner, author of The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z. and Sugar and Ice, a while back.  I have scoured her blog to find the specific post, but have been unable to locate it.  I loved that post because she broke down her day and explained how she finds/makes time to write and balance her family life and professional life.  In short, she basically said that if it’s important to you, you make time to write.  Same idea Donalyn Miller stated in regards to reading in her book, The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child.  However, neither of them write/read at the sacrifice of time with their family or their work.

So, if writing is important to me (which it is!) then I shall work to reorganize my time and make time to write this year without sacrificing time with my family or for my work.

Will you join me?  What are some literacy resolutions you have made this year?

Addendum: Thank you to Kate Messner for stopping by Literacy Toolbox and providing the correct link to the blog post I was looking for.  She posted it in the comments, but here is a direct link to her guest post on Lesley Says.

©2011 by Dawn Little for Literacy Toolbox. All Rights Reserved.  All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

Literacy Resolution #5: Read Professional Literature in a Timely Manner

January 18, 2011

Happy New Year!  I have decided that I’m going to do my best to make 2011 my best year yet, personally and professionally.  I don’t typically make New Year’s Resolutions, but in the spirit of this New Year, I have decided to make some literacy resolutions.  I will share these resolutions with you over the course of the next month.

Resolution #5  Read Professional Literature Regularly

In order to remain on top of our profession, educators must continually read professional literature, and particularly professional research.  When I was in the classroom, I did read professional literature regularly.  I actually continue to read professional literature.  Unfortunately, more often than not, I don’t read it in a timely manner.  So, my literacy resolution for this year is to read professional literature in a timely manner.  I have regular subscriptions to The Reading Teacher and Educational Leadership.  I would like to create a more regular schedule of reading these fantastic journals.

Additionally, I would like to find more time to add professional books to my TBR pile.  Occasionally, I have been able to read a professional book here and there.  I have wanted to read Readicide: How Schools Are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It by Kelly Gallagher for several years now, so that is at the top of my Professional Reading TBR pile.

Most recently, I read The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller.  Fantastic!!  If you have not read it yet, run; don’t walk to your nearest book store!

What professional literature goals do you have this year?  What professional literature do you consider “must reads”?

©2011 by Dawn Little for Literacy Toolbox. All Rights Reserved.  All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

Literacy Resolution #4: Read More MG/YA

January 13, 2011

Happy New Year!  I have decided that I’m going to do my best to make 2011 my best year yet, personally and professionally.  I don’t typically make New Year’s Resolutions, but in the spirit of this New Year, I have decided to make some literacy resolutions.  I will share these resolutions with you over the course of the next month.

Resolution #4 Read More MG/YA

In my last resolution, I stated that I wanted to read outside of my comfort zone more which currently consists of picture books, professional books, and adult books.  Middle grade and young adult books don’t currently make the list.  This is not to say that they have completely fallen outside of my comfort zone, but simply that my environment has influenced my reading over the last eight years and children under the age of 8 don’t typically read middle grade and young adult books.  And so, they have fallen by the wayside in my personal reading repertoire.

However, my son is moving into third grade, his reading level has increased and his interest in books is varied. So it’s time for me to begin to put middle grade and young adult books back into my reading repertoire.  I’ve never stopped loving middle grade and young adult literature, I just got sidetracked.  And honestly, I find that kid lit is much more fun to read than adult literature.

Jen Robinson of Jen Robinson’s Book Page, listed ten reasons why you should read children’s books as an adult, back in 2005.  I believe her beliefs hold true today, including her first and last reason – it’s fun!

So, I resolve to add more middle grade and young adult literature to my reading list this year.  I want to be aware of what my child may be reading as well as to get back to why I enjoy reading anyway – because it’s fun!

Will you join me?  What are some literacy resolutions you have made this year?

©2011 by Dawn Little for Literacy Toolbox. All Rights Reserved.  All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

Literacy Resolution #3: Read Outside My Comfort Zone

January 11, 2011

Happy New Year!  I have decided that I’m going to do my best to make 2011 my best year yet, personally and professionally.  I don’t typically make New Year’s Resolutions, but in the spirit of this New Year, I have decided to make some literacy resolutions.  I will share these resolutions with you over the course of the next month.

Resolution #3 Read Outside of My Comfort Zone

I realized as I was creating my Literacy Resolutions that I tend to stick to one particular genre or type of book when I read.  I tend to think that most people do that.  You find something you are comfortable with and you stick with it.  However, if I want my children to learn to move outside their comfort zone (in life and in reading), then I must learn to move outside of mine as well.

So, for my third resolution I hope to begin to read widely.  Across all genres and types of books (i.e. picture books, middle grade, young adult, professional, and adult).  I don’t tend to have a problem with the picture books, professional, and adult books, it’s the middle grade and young adult books that I don’t seem to read enough of.  Which is kind of funny considering that was really all I read when I taught fourth and fifth grade.  I guess I have kind of fallen out of my reading zone since having children who up until recently only read and enjoyed picture books.  You could say that my environment has influenced my reading choices.

As my children grow older though, I need and want to be on top of the types of books they are reading and want to read (again, my environmental influence).  My son enjoys graphic novels now.  I must incorporate graphic novels into my reading repertoire.  He will be moving into more sophisticated content as he continues to move through grades, and so I should read what he reads so that I am adequately prepared to discuss it with him.  Some of these types of books (The Lightening Thief, the Twilight series) are completely out of my element.  I have never enjoyed fantasy.  I will admit now that I never finished reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and I never even dreamt of picking up the remaining books in the series (insert jaw drop now!)  I did, however, see the movies.  (insert laugh now!).

I recognize that as a reading role model, I must read widely and across genres.  So, my literacy resolution #3 for this year is to attempt to read outside my comfort zone.  Books that I wouldn’t normally give a second glance to, I’m going to try to read.  I have to.  Not only will I grow as a reader, but I will show my children that it’s ok to step outside of our comfort zone sometimes.

Will you join me?  Will you make an attempt to read outside your comfort zone?

©2011 by Dawn Little for Literacy Toolbox. All Rights Reserved.  All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

Literacy Resolution #2: Keep a Reader’s Notebook

January 6, 2011

Happy New Year!  I have decided that I’m going to do my best to make 2011 my best year yet, personally and professionally.  I don’t typically make New Year’s Resolutions, but in the spirit of this New Year, I have decided to make some literacy resolutions.  I will share these resolutions with you over the course of the next month.

Resolution #2:  Keep a Reader’s Notebook

As part of my literacy resolutions this year, I’ve decided to write down all the books I read throughout the year.  The purpose of this is twofold.  One, it allows me to see that I really am reading more than I think and two, it will provide me with a record of books I read.

I plan to keep it a pretty simple endeavor.  If I used them in the classroom, the notebooks may be a bit more involved, but mine will simply include a list of books and the date I finished reading them.

Last week, I found one of the many empty journals I have sitting around my house (obviously, this is something I’ve thought of doing before!) and created space for two different lists.  One is labeled “Personal Reading 2011” and one is labeled “Professional Reading 2011.”  I broke my notebook up into two lists because I’m curious to see how much professional reading I will do in a year as well.  A lot of times, I’d rather read professionally, but I recognize the need to read for personal pleasure.

I do read every day already.  But, my every day reading consists of reading to my kids.  Don’t get me wrong, this is enjoyable and it’s reading.  However, my first resolution was to read every day for me. A lot of reading for me will include picture books and juvenile literature, because that is what I enjoy.  But, it will also include adult literature and professional literature.

In addition to me keeping track of the books I read, I’ve also discussed the idea of keeping a reading journal with my kids.  I want my kids to know that voracious readers typically keep reading notebooks to keep record of the books they read.  So, both kids have their own journal and they too have begun to keep track of the books they read (or have read to them).   I think that they will really get a kick out of seeing how many books they actually read in one year.

In many ways, I’m looking forward to reading more, just so I can keep track of what and how much I read!

Will you join me?  Do you already keep a reader’s notebook?  Do your children?

©2011 by Dawn Little for Literacy Toolbox. All Rights Reserved.  All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

Literacy Resolutions: Resolution #1 Read Every Day!

January 4, 2011

Wow!  Happy New Year!  I have decided that I’m going to do my best to make 2011 my best year yet, personally and professionally.  I don’t typically make New Year’s Resolutions, but in the spirit of this New Year, I have decided to make some literacy resolutions.  I will share these resolutions with you over the course of the next month.

Resolution #1 Read Every Day!

Recently, I read The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller.  I first heard of Donalyn several years ago when I found her blog, “The Book Whisperer.”  I had been out of the classroom for a while, but I related to what she had to say as an educator.  Almost two years ago, I began to tweet and have since found an amazing Personal Learning Network (PLN).  See, you can take the teacher out of the classroom, but you can’t take the classroom out of the teacher, at least for me.  I am an educator at heart.  My PLN has revitalized my love for education and specifically for literacy.  Donalyn (@donalynbooks) is part of my PLN and it just so happened that she published a book around the same time that I joined Twitter.  So, of course I had to read it!

So, you might be wondering, what does all of this have to do with my resolution?  Well, in her book Donalyn emphasized the importance of being a reading role model for our students, but really for all of the children in our lives.  She says that her credibility with students “stems from the fact that I read every day of my life and that I talk about reading constantly.”  I don’t currently have a classroom of students that I am a role model for, but I do have my own children.  I did a quick mental inventory and realized that sometimes I talk the talk, but do I always walk the walk?  In other words, I read to my children every day, I emphasize the importance of reading, but do I make a conscious effort to read for me every day?   Not really.  It made me realize that while my children may enjoy my reading to them, they also need to see me reading for me.

So, my first literacy resolution of the year is to make a conscious effort to take time to read for me every day.  It may only be in fifteen minute increments, but that is ok, as long as I make the effort to read.  Because I want to.  Because it’s important for my children to see.  Because I enjoy it!

Will you join me?  What are some literacy resolutions you have made for this new year?

©2011 by Dawn Little for Literacy Toolbox. All Rights Reserved.  All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.