Thursday, January 01, 2009

The Next Chapter: 2009 Arrives

Happy New Year!

Things have been quiet here ... on purpose. We hope you had a great, restful holiday. With Christmas behind us, it's time to close the book on 2008 and begin to write 2009. A friend sent an email from China, with a photo of fireworks and this quote, which I think is particularly apropos for this year.

"An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.”

I always love the "lull" between the last two holidays of the year because there is time to reflect on the good stuff and draw on that energy to start planning for the new year. As I sit here staring at the white board with the list of things I wanted to accomplish in 2008, I realize that some things don't change with time. Some goals -- like secure an endowment for community literacy work -- are constants. Like all "good goals" they have target dates. Like all things in this economy, the funding dwindles and the goal gets pushed back. Even knowing that, the questions begin: What is working (and what didn't)? What can we do that's new/cool/better than last year? What direction do we want to go in the Tub? Can we get there in 12 months?

In creating my plan for this year, I'm taking a cue from my white board. Keep it modest and reasonable. Add a little "push," but don't think too grandly. Over the past few days I've been reading year-end wrap-ups and some really neat ideas and cool goals [check out Lee Wind's plan for the year ahead], and I admit to feeling the "pressure" to do more. So far, on Day 1, I'm resisting. We are going to commit to doing a few things well. There are fewer "start-up" projects and more focus on a couple of timeless objectives. So here goes ...

Launch Read it Together. This is our project to distribute books for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers via pediatricians and family services organizations. The books (and a 1-page reading guide) will be given to local families who are under-served because they are uninsured or under-insured. We have more than 300 books. The goal is to find a sponsor to push fund from 75% to 100% to get the Reading Guide written and translated into Spanish.

Turn 12 struggling readers into inspired readers. A few weeks ago, I wrote this post about a student who didn't like to read but who connected with a book and liked it. It is small, but it's a start. If a student realizes s/he can connect with one book, the spark is there to encourage them to try another. We distribute lots of books as part of our school-based literacy project, but we don't often get comments about how a book changed a reader's thinking. For 2009, I want to see if we can't repeat this a few more times.

Eliminate the term "Reluctant Reader." If you've ever read the Book Whisperer's byline, you know she prefers the term "dormant readers" to "reluctant readers." I like the idea of creating nomenclature that takes the glass-half-empty definition (reluctant) to something that is more positive. I don't know what that is, and it won't be my idea, but I want to try.

Participate in Kidlitosphere 2009. This goal has actually been on my board since September. There is no International Reading Association conference for us this year, and BookExpo America is a maybe. But being part of the kidlitosphere this past year has created wonderful opportunities for us, and I want to finally be able to say thank you (and learn more) in person.

Build on what I Learned about blogging and book reviews in 2008 As the reader grew, so did my opportunities to practice and hone my skills. There were two biggies: the Comment Challenge MotherReader and Lee Wind sponsored and being a panelist for the Cybils inaugural Easy Reader category come to mind. But there were other virtual events, like participating in and hosting the Carnival of Children's literature, the My Friend Amy's campaign to Buy Books for the Holidays and the post for the What's On Your Nightstand Carnival (5 Minutes for Books). For the coming year, I am going to thin the book bags and write more individual posts with reviews.

That last goal plays well into my final one: I want to be inspired. I love thoughtful prose and incredible art. I hope to discover, hear, and read things that open my heart and mind, show me new ways of looking or thinking about things, and leave me wanting more. Technically that's not a goal because it is not specific (you never know how/when it strikes ... you just know) and it doesn't have a deadline.

As we open the book on 2009, we are excited about what happens next. Over the next few days, it will be fun to read about your plans for reading, writing, and sharing a great book. Can you leave us a sneak peak in the comments or add to our Mr. Linky?


  1. These look like great goals to me, Terry. I especially like the tangible "Turn 12 struggling readers into inspired readers." And of course I hope you'll succeed with "Participate in Kidlitosphere 2009". I think it will be relatively local for you, so that should help. I'm thinking that will be the only conference I try to go to this year for the blog.

    Happy New Year, Terry! I look forward to talking books and literacy with you in 2009.

  2. Happy New Year, Jen! I really struggled with the "12 struggling readers" goal. It seems so small, but then when I looked at it as a one-a-month plan, it was easier to swallow. For someone who doesn't like to read, one book would be a lot in 30 days.

    PS - Did you survive the cold, snow and wind we had to offer here on the East coast?

  3. Happy New Year Terry! My reading goals for the new year include reading more diverse authors and trying to catch up some on adult titles without missing the great new kid's books. I added my post to the Linky for my challenge. Id' love to get to the Kidlitosphere conference too but we'll have to wait and see on that. Thanks for rounding us up!

  4. Fantastic, inspiring, and complete attainable goals! :) Best wishes!


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