professornana (professornana) wrote,


I admire people who make resolutions and stick to them. I tend not to be contrary when it comes to New Year's and resolutions. Statistically, I know most folks make resolutions and then stick to them for a short time before letting them go. Quite a few years ago, I made a resolution not to make resolutions for the coming new year. That does not mean I do not make commitments; I do.

I committed to blogging some years ago. I manage most days to post to this blog and the book blog ( When I miss a day, I feel guilty somehow. I committed to reading a bookaday or reading for the New Centurions group (213 books in 2013). I write and read on a daily basis. Why? How can what I have managed to do be something I can encourage in others? Here are the guidelines that guide me. When I do workshops, I ask for the participants to make a commitment (in writing) accordingly.

1. I set aside time at the very beginning of my day for reading (and sometimes for writing as well). But I broaden the definition of reading. Reading my Twitter and Faebook feeds is where I begin. It is fun to see status updates, posts, photos, and other stuff from my colleagues, friends, and members of the larger social network. I read the Nerdy Book Club post of the day. I see what friends are reading and recommending. I follow links to articles, mailing links to myself to inspire my writing at some point.

2. I have a stack of quick reads by my chair all the time: picture books, poetry collectoons, short story anthologies, graphic novels are there. I can pick up one of these slim boooks and finish reading it in the time it takes for me to have my morning cup of coffee. #bookaday accomplished.

3. If I have some extended time, I read several books. This makes up for days when I just cannot fit in my reading.

4. I do the same thing with blogging. I blog books in batches. Right now my book blog is done until next week. I have a stack of new books waiting to be blogged. I try to do a handful at a time.

5. If I know my schedule is going to be full (NCTE and ALAN week), I schedule posts.


6. I do not beat myself up if I fail to read a book or post a blog from time to time. I want this experience to be something I always enjoy. If I miss a day here and there, so be it. I will make up for it eventually.

And so I am a reader and a writer. I make time for what matters. I commit to doing these small things. And I find it easier to then make the larger commitment when it comes time to work on a book or an article or a chapter or to read through the stack of books for my committee work. Small steps, tiny bites, slow and sure progress.

I think we need to help kids find small spaces for growth, tiny bursts of time for reading and writing in addition to the more extended times we can offer. Quick writes, poem in my pocket, and other elements like them can help us develop the good habits of reading and writing.

I wonder if we could get Arne Duncan or David Coleman or Michelle Rhee to set these examples? If beinng college and career ready is essential, could they then pick up the commitment to model their own REAL literacy actios on a day by day basis? Show us your reading, your writing, your thinking. Put it out there for others to see. Instead of putting your money where your mouth is, put your reading and writing out there for all to see. Oh, one more thing, my reading is the stuff that kids read; my writing is accessible. It would be nice for a change to see that from our educational leaders.
Tags: literacy
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