Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Reading Resolutions

Anyone who thinks that librarians just sit around and read books all day has clearly not stepped into a modern library lately. Those who think there's even such a thing as down time in the world of a librarian make me burst into a fit of maniacal laughter. Silly people.

In my former life as a reading teacher, I often found time in my day to sit and read with my students. After all, isn't modeling a behavior one of the most effective ways to demonstrate it's importance? In order to recommend books, I needed to be in the know. I needed to read what they were reading. And it justified my love for YA lit (as though it need any justification in the first place). It would be no big deal for me to crank out a few YA books a week, sometimes (okay, quite often) more.

Little did I know my position as a Teacher Librarian would severely cramp my reading style.

I am now the Librarian who doesn't read.

Okay, okay, I read, but nothing like I did before. My "To Read" list and the subsequent pile it has created on my nightstand (and the floor next to my bed and under the bed and on the coffee table and the kitchen table) has become a bit of a hazard and a had prompted me to take a stand. It's not okay. Something must be done.

So, as we start this new year, I'm having my students write their own Reading Resolutions and take on a Reading Challenge (Reading Resolution and Reading Challenge). I am a firm believer in doing everything I ask my students to do before I ask them to do it, so here are my resolutions and my commitment to them (and myself):

1. Read one professional article a week and one (whole) professional journal a month

I'm an avid Tweeter and definitely get my fair share of professional development via my beloved PLN I've cultivated there. However, I'm horribly guilty of seeing a Tweet about a great article, saving the links of these great articles I want to read . . . and then not quite getting back to them.

I also have quite a collection of library journals (School Library Journal, American Libraries, Knowledge Quest to name a few) just begging to be devoured. Sure I've thumbed through them, perused an article here or there, but there's such a wealth of information and inspiration to absorb, I'm missing some good stuff.

I owe it to myself and to my students to constantly grow as a professional (and as a person). I used to read articles and journals constantly. It's a practice that I sorely miss, and I'm publicly recommitting myself to it!

2. Read more Children's Lit

This is the challenge part of my Reading Resolution. I taught 7th grade Reading for 13 years and proudly proclaim my adoration of YA Lit. However, my role has changed. I now serve roughly 950 readers in 2nd through 5th grade. I have discovered that I've got a major deficit with Children's Lit (for the purposes of clarity, I'm referring specifically to those early chapter books) which is a disservice to my 2nd and 3rd graders. I intend to remedy this one very quickly.

Having my own children (ages 6 and 9), having been a Golden Sower reader for the Primary Grades while teaching in Nebraska, and the Children's Literature classes I took while getting my Reading Master's and Library Science degrees, have given me some familiarity with Children's Lit. However, I need to be in the know about all the new good stuff that's out there! Luckily, thanks to my solid Twitter and librarian PLNs, my monthly deliveries from Junior Library Guild, my own children, and all those library journals I've amassed, I'm fairly certain I can choose some quality reads to start with.

My plan is for every YA book I read, I will read two Children's Lit books (they do tend to be a little shorter and quicker reads). I'll feel okay if I can read 4 Children's Lit books a month to start. Not ideal, but it's a start.

3. Increase my literacy promotion

As a librarian, one of more important roles is to build a culture of readers. As I'd mentioned in my previous post, I feel like I've done a fairly good job of increasing literacy promotion at my school, but there's so much more that could be done.

The biggest thing I want to accomplish is to create a group of student reviewers. I have a library website that I maintain (not always well) and had originally intended to post recommendations weekly for picture books, early chapter books, and more advanced chapter books. I admit this endeavor has been an epic fail. So I want to turn over the power to a group of students I've been slowly nurturing during these last few months. The plans are in place, so be on the lookout for the student reviews to begin to appearing by the end of the month on the Titan Hill Library page.

I've also got some great book displays, Tweets, and some literacy celebrations still up my sleeve!

Are those the only reading goals I have for 2015? Absolutely not, but in trying to find balance with every aspect of my life, I figured these were the most important for me at this very moment.

So there you have them. My Reading Resolutions for 2015.

So the question is: