“Outgrow yourself as a reader.”
~ Lucy Calkins ~
Last January, a colleague and I decided to challenge our students to make Reading Resolutions. A few other teachers in our building adopted our idea. Although I don’t have statistics about our outcomes, getting kids to talk about and read books they wouldn’t have otherwise considered can be counted as a success. (By the way, I finished the Very Famous Book last February.)
We are making Reading Resolutions again this year. Here are our suggested reading resolutions for 2017, adapted from Scholastic’s “100 New Year’s Reading Resolutions”.
We’re encouraging kids to pick books from at least two categories, but there are so many books I want to read, I didn’t have any trouble choosing a book for each category.
- A book written by someone from Connecticut–Connecticut author and poet Leslie Bulion’s The Universe of Fair (Peachtree, 2012)—Leslie visited our school last fall and gave us a copy of this book, which was inspired by the Durham Fair. Other teachers have read it to their students, but I haven’t gotten ahold of it yet.
- Best friend’s favorite book— This was hard. My dearest friend and I read many of the same books, and I’ve already read her very favorite book, Little Women. While we were talking about something else, she mentioned The Snow Goose: A Story of Dunkirk, by Paul Gallico. Anything about World War II is always interesting to me, so this was an easy choice.
- A book of poetry/novel in verse—I will probably read dozens of books in this category this year. I finished Jeannine Atkins lovely Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science yesterday, and have One Last Word (Bloomsbury, 2017), by Nikki Grimes on my desk. Maybe I should modify this to be one book from this category every week.
- A book set in a country where I do not live—There are so many possibilities for this category. I haven’t read Symphony for the City of the Dead, (Candlewick, 2015) M.T. Anderson’s book about Dimitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad. Given my penchant for books about WWII, this seems like a good choice.
- A book published the year I was born—Somehow I never read The Cricket in Times Square, written by George Selden and illustrated by Garth Williams, even though I still have the copy I bought at the book fair when I was in 4th grade!
- A graphic novel or comic book—Another category with so many worthy choices. I love Matt Phelan’s work, and his reimagining of Snow White (Candlewick, 2016) set in Manhattan during the Depression intrigues me.
- A nonfiction book about a topic I know nothing about—Last summer I heard Ed Yong speak about his book I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life (Ecco, 2016). I read about half the book in August, but was distracted once school started. I resolve to get back to it and finish it.
- Newbery Award or honor book—I’ve read all the recent medal winners, but there are many honor books I’d like to read. I will definitely read whatever wins this year if I haven’t already. Stay tuned.
- A book written this year—As I skimmed through the January/February issue of The Horn Book, I quickly came up with at least half a dozen titles for this category. I want to read Isaac the Alchemist: Secrets of Isaac Newton, Reveal’d (Candlewick) by Mary Losure, coming out in Feburary. Then there’s Rachel Vail’s Well, That Was Awkward (Viking), or Me and Marvin Gardens (Levine/Scholastic), which are both also out in February.
- A book in a genre I’ve never read before—How about a genre I don’t like? Horror is probably my least favorite genre, but I don’t read too much science fiction either. I have an ARC of Fuzzy, by Tom Angleberger and Paul Dellinger, so for now, that’s my choice.