Reading Resolutions & the Read Harder Challenge

Earlier in the year, I saw another librarian post on Instagram that they were having their students create reading goals for the year. I loved the idea and thought it would pair great with an introduction to our new Snapshot Wall where I had a spot for my reading goals. But…somehow it was suddenly December break and I still hadn’t done the lesson. I was all set to write it off as something to try next year when it occurred to me, reading goals are pretty much the same thing as reading resolutions! So, when we came back in January, we eased back into the swing of things by reading Giraffes Can’t Dance and having a lesson on goal setting, the difference between “I can’t” and “I can’t yet” and, set some reading resolutions for ourselves!

In the spirit of complete transparency, this was not quite as fun and lighthearted a lesson as I had envisioned! To begin with, several of the classroom teachers had also had their students come up with resolutions for the new year, including our art teacher who had them create goals for themselves as artists. How do I know this? Because. In. Every. Single. Class. There was at least one kid who complained that they had already done this. However, despite multiple exposures to the concept of resolutions and goal setting as well as some class discussion on how to set good, reachable goals, I had quite a few students writing “goals” that weren’t goals (I like to play Fort Night with my brother) or were too difficult (I want to read 500 books by the end of the year, I want to read 25 books every day).

But, at the end of the day, some of them did come up with honest, attainable goals and I do think I’d do it again with some changes. I liked to find a better story about setting goals to use next time that might make it easier for them to understand the difference between a goal that is a comfortable stretch for you and a goal that is setting you up for failure. I also think I’d jump right to asking them to come up with some goals during our guided instruction and NOT share my reading goals with them first. In hindsight, I think sharing my goals with them first might have skewed some of their ideas on how many books they “should” try to read.

On a related note: to help me keep up with my reading resolutions (which, full disclosure: I’m doing just okay with this year) I bought myself this fantastic reading journal from Book Riot. I’ve long loved the idea of keeping a reading journal but hadn’t found one I really liked yet. One of the things I like about this one is that it can serve multiple purposes. There’s plenty of space to record what you’re reading and save notes for each book. There’s also a place to record what you want to read next. And Book Riot built their reading challenges right into the journal-complete with book suggestions to help you reach those challenges! I also like that it’s small enough to easily carry around with me to take notes wherever I’m reading but large enough that I’ll be able to record my reading adventures for years to come.

Have you set reading goals or resolutions with students? Do you have a great picture book on setting goals? Do you keep a reading journal? I’d love to hear other people’s ideas and experiences!

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