New Year…New Reader!


Of course, with the New Year come new resolutions.  Like all of us, I have faithfully, with good intentions, made resolutions that have fizzled out over time.  Some years I’ve attempted to give up things such as, diet soft drinks…other years I’ve tried to add things, like exercise or drinking more water, to my weekly routine.  While not perfect in making them permanent, I do find value in making them.  If anything, they allow us to reflect on the past year and aspire to do better or do differently, at least for a little while.

I’ll admit, reading isn’t usually a category I consider when thinking about resolutions.  But through this new leisure activity of blogging, I thought it might be something to consider.  Let’s face it, the more we read the more we know and the better readers we become…even as adults.  So, I’ve decided to make a Reading Resolution for myself and to encourage my students to do the same.

As an adult, my resolution might be to read more professional books, biographies, or try science-fiction (something I’ve never gotten into).  I might consider tackling all those unread books that I’ve borrowed or bought and never got around to reading.  But what might a Reading Resolution look like for my students (or your children)?

A first step might be to have them reflect on their reading habits of last year.  What did they do well?  What would they like to do more of or get better at?  Some suggested resolutions are below.

This year I will read ____ books and keep a log of what I’ve read.

One new author I will try this year is: _______________________

A new series I want to try is: ______________________________

This year I am going to read _____ minutes at least _____times a week.

I will read a page or two out loud, to an adult, at least __________ times a week, to improve my fluency.

Of course making them isn’t usually the issue.  It’s keeping them.  Below are 5 “generic” steps to keeping resolutions.  I’ve added my own explanation to make them apply to reading.

  1. Make sure your resolutions are realistic.  I think this goes without saying.
  2. Define how you are going to keep the goals you’ve set.  If you or your child has decided to read a certain number of books, make a commitment as to when you will get to the library to check out the next one.  Will it be the next Saturday after you’ve completed a book?  Once you’re nearing the end of the book, make this decision and write it down.
  3. Create a schedule.  If reading a certain number of minutes a day or week is the goal, figure out what days reading will occur and when.  Will it be after dinner, before bed or right after school?
  4. Understand that setbacks are okay.  Things are going to come up.  There will be nights when the reading that was scheduled and planned out just doesn’t happen.  It’s okay…just start again tomorrow.
  5. Enlist the help of others.  Make Reading Resolutions a family thing.  If you’re all working on this together, you’re more likely to succeed.

So, besides reading, what are some of your New Year’s resolutions?

Jill Dickerson is a certified Reading Specialist who has a Master’s in Education in the area of Reading/Literacy with seventeen years experience working with children who struggle academically. Jill believes in a balanced approach to building literacy skills, using a combination of authentic text and phonics with a multi-sensory approach. She is currently a Reading Specialist in a public school in the Western Chicago suburbs and owner of Collaborative Education Solutions, Inc which provides tutoring and guidance to families of children who need reading support beyond school.

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