New Year, New Goals

January 3rd, 2012

We begin 2012 in very good company: As the first blog post of the year, Teri Lesesne shares her new year’s resolutions for staying active as a reader and writer. To mark this occasion, we are offering a special package of Teri’s two books, Making the Match and Naked Reading at a special price. Check out the package here and then visit us again in February and March, when Teri will talk about her LOVE of reading and will lead us in a MARCH into books.

So tell us, what is your new year’s resolution when it comes to reading and writing?

New Year,  New Goals

I am a list maker.  There is something satisfying about making that list and then checking items off as they are completed.  Of course, no list is ever complete; it simply morphs into a new list.  As the new year opens, my first list centers on some New Year’s Resolutions.  My professional goals are simple and to the point.  I resolve to read more and to write more.  Now, for the tough part:  how to accomplish these goals?

Reading More

  1. Set aside the time: As I wait for the coffee to finish brewing in the morning, I sit down with a book. Generally, I can read a chapter before coffee is ready. Sometimes I manage a few more pages as I sip that first cup. In fifteen minutes a day, a person can read an average of more than a million words a year or about 20 books.  If you are a commuter, add audiobooks to your drive time.  Make sure your devices have books loaded for that time when you are kept waiting somewhere.
  2. Join a reading community: Paul W. Hankins, a high school English teacher in Indiana formed a Facebook group a couple of years ago.  Those of us who joined the community pledged to read 100 books that year.  We posted our progress monthly. This was sort of like a support group for us all.  It kept us on track. So, gather a few colleagues around you who will join in your resolution to read more.
  3. Make a realistic goal: My personal reading goal each year is to read one more book than I read the year before.  So, if you have been dormant for a while, start small.  If 100 books seems daunting, settle on a number that is realistic for you and your situation.
  4. Monitor your progress: Goodreads can help you monitor your progress once your goal is set.  Once you set up an account, you can enter your reading goal and Goodreads will monitor your progress for you.  Basically, I keep an open  file on my desktop each month where I enter the titles of the books I have read.
  5. Save for that rainy day:  I love a rainy weekend.  It provides just the excuse I need to sit and curl up with some books.  I have a separate TBR (to be read) stack for those days: books that I want to read in one huge gulp instead of tiny sips.  Sometimes I have a big stack of picture books for those rainy days.  At an average of 32 pages per book, I can knock out quite a few picture books on a dreary weekend.  And I have found there are many picture books that work across the grade levels.

Where does the writing come in?  I write daily on my blog. Most of the time I write about the books I am reading.  However, from time to time another topic presents itself.  My blog is informal and personal.  It is also, though, a place to explore ideas and issues that might later evolve into longer pieces of writing.  You might opt for a notebook.  Even annotating a text by jotting notes and comments in the margins (or using these features with an e-reader) is writing.  Readers and writers do not operate in a vacuum; they are part of a larger community.  I hope you will join me this new year as I resolve once more to be active in my development as a reader and a writer.

Entry Filed under: Reading

16 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mrs. V  |  January 4th, 2012 at 11:28 am

    This post was a good reminder to remember to pack my Kindle to listen to books via text to speech as I am commuting to the last class of my doctoral program this semester.

  • 2. Eva L. Graves  |  January 6th, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    I have a passion for the concept of integrating reading and writing. Thanks for a place to exercise the concept.

  • 3. Nana Yaa  |  January 7th, 2012 at 5:14 am

    Thank you for this article. I love reading myself but want to stretch myself a bit more and spread the joy too. Very helpful tips indeed!

  • 4. Linda Baie  |  January 7th, 2012 at 7:36 am

    Thanks for a good ‘list’ of things to do. I have a Good Reads account, and need to begin tracking my books that way. I suspect it could be motivating to watch it grow.

  • 5. Maria Selke (@mselke01)  |  January 7th, 2012 at 8:49 am

    Great ideas!

    I used Goodreads last year to track my goal as well, and it helped me stay on top of pacing through the year. This year I’m also telling my students about my goals and posting my progress there.

    They are amazed at how many books I read last year -how many I read for my holiday “Book a day” – and the fact that I plan to read all the Newbery books over two years. I already have a lot of passionate readers in my classes, but it’s fun to share my plans with them.

  • 6. Lynette Noel  |  January 7th, 2012 at 10:09 am

    This has helped me to see how I can help find space to do more reading and writing.Very enlightening ! I’ll try to follow the ideas and improve my writing.

  • 7. Bev B.  |  January 7th, 2012 at 11:44 am

    Thanks for your timely topic! I have just given my undergraduate B.Ed. students a reading survey, and was interested by the number of them who indicated a desire to read more. In our busy lives, it sometimes seems impossible to squeeze in more reading minutes, yet as a teacher, we must be aware of texts to support our teaching and our students.

    I too have a stack of “TBR” books on the stand by my bed. I should look at it today–over three feet and it starts to get dangerous.

  • 8. Marlene  |  January 7th, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Great ideas to move me towards reading more this year. As a kid, long before reading logs were part of elementary school, I kept handmade journals of the books I read. Looking forward to using my GoodReads account as my 2012 reading log!

  • 9. Sharon Laramie  |  January 7th, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    I only kept tract of the adult books I was reading. My resolutions was to read one book a month that year and I did it. Then last year I kept the same resolution to read one book a month and I actually read 24 books thanks to audiobooks on my commute to work.

    Now I have to work on the writing part…

  • 10. Krystal Bishop  |  January 7th, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    I signed up for Good Reads after reading the blog. I have an account with over 1000 children’s books I’ve read and commented on at I love that site (I teach children’s lit.)

  • 11. judy wallis  |  January 7th, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    I love Teri’s advice here. I love that Teri lives what she invites others to try. I love that every time I see Teri, she gives me new books to add to my list!

  • 12. judy  |  January 8th, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    I set a challenge for summer reading to read a book for each letter of the alphabet in the title. I didn’t meet the challenge for the summer but I have a little telephone book where I jot the titles of every book I have read since beginning the challenge for myself.

  • 13. bel sara  |  January 9th, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    thanks a lot .I would like to read but I have never finished a book to its end since I don’t find the time, but with your help I have the resolution to read one book a month

  • 14. Mary Reid  |  January 9th, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    I didn’t know Good Reads could keep track of books read. I have always kept it in my journal. I like the idea of a e-list as well. Thanks for reminding me that children’s books count. I’m a Pre-K teacher and read all day long to my little ones.

  • 15. Jill  |  January 9th, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    For those of us who have succumbed to using e-readers, squeezing in a little extra reading time is possible with e-reader apps on the computer or smart phone. I used to swear I’d be the last person on the earth to own an e-reader, but I find that by syncing my Kindle with my computer and cell phone apps, I can read a chapter of an enticing book anywhere, any time, so I do a lot of my reading electronically now (not all, though!). Yes, carrying a book along everywhere accomplishes the same thing, but I have a computer or cell phone near by almost all the time, whereas I don’t always carry my current book with me.

  • 16. Reigniting the passion - &hellip  |  March 1st, 2012 at 6:21 am

    […] is the final post in our series with Teri Lesesne. In January she shared with us her reading resolutions, in February she talked about how to foster a love of […]

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