“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” – Joseph Addison
As I have grown older, the changes in my body have led me to recognize the need to engage in regular exercise. I joined a gym thirteen years ago. I found a workout partner, and I set about making a difference in my physical health. The work has paid off, but I occasionally drift out of the habit. Unlike my teens and twenties, my failure to exercise begins to show in my waist and weight. Similarly, when I fail to read regularly, it begins to show in my mental awareness and thought processes.
In order to help myself maintain my mental acuity and build my knowledge I set yearly goals for reading books. Each of the last two years, the goal was to read a book a week of 52 books a year. While I often made a quick start by reading 3-6 books in the first week, I did not meet my goal.
This year, I adjusted my goal to read one professional book and one personal enjoyment book a month. I am doing better at working toward my goal this year. I have already completed for books for personal enjoyment and I am in the process of reading a couple different professional books.
Since reading month (March) has just ended I thought I would share with you a little about the books that I am reading—professionally and personally.
Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros (@gcouros)
I chose this book because I was invited to participate in a book study, via Voxer with educators from around the U.S. We began the study this week and I have already found the discussion to be invigorating and encouraging. I am excited to continue this study and learn from sharing my thoughts and hearing the thoughts of others about how the ideas in the book apply to their situation.
In the first chapter, Couros (2015) defines “innovation as a way of thinking that creates something new and better” (location 390-Kindle Version). He goes on to further explain, “Establishing an innovative culture . . . require(s) leaders who will develop and sustain systems that support ‘optimal learning experiences’ and who value the process of creating and refining ideas” (location 410).
By sharing my reading experience with other educators in different situation I hope to develop greater thinking about how I can help develop a culture of innovation in the schools I serve.
You’ve Gotta Connect by James Alan Sturtevant (@jamessturtevant)
I found this book after hearing Sturtevant speak on a couple of different podcasts. His ideas about building relationships and connecting with students are relevant to my current situation. I plan to share this text with colleagues when I am done reading. I may see if others are interested in doing a Voxer book study after we finish Innovator’s Mindset.
Each chapter begins the chapter with a personal story. He provides learning targets, personal reflections, and action steps to help you get connected with students. While I just started reading the book, I agree with the premise of the book—“Students do better when they have adults in their lives who know how to connect” (Sturtevant, 2014, location 165).
For as long as I can remember, I have always enjoyed reading. I read the newspaper every day. It helped that I had a paper route and I could read while I delivered papers. I found Encyclopedia Brown, Little House on the Prairie, and historical fiction books to engage my mind. Additionally, I loved reading autobiographies and biographies. I have shared that love of reading with my children by reading in the hallway between their rooms.
My love of reading is one of the reasons I became an educator. It is why I try to engage in conversations with students about reading. It is why I like to find a classroom to read in when we do DEAR (drop everything and read) time at school. I want to model reading and I want to show that adults read, too.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling)
I finished reading Allegiant by Veronica Roth earlier in March. During Spring Break I plan to start reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling. I chose this book because I read the first five Harry Potter books to my children while sitting in the hallway. We engaged in di
scussions about the books, we made predictions about the upcoming chapters, and we waited with great anticipation for the movies. We each read book six individually, but I never got around to completing the series.
Now is the time! I will finish Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows before school ends.
Twenty Yawns by Jane Smiley (author) and Lauren Castillo (illustrator – @studiocastillo)
I am excited to share this book with my daughters. I came across the book as a Free book option in my Kindle First selections. I chose it over the other books because I believe it will make a great book to read at bed time. In addition, the pictures help my three-year-old to retell the story.
Equally exciting about the book is that after I had made the choice I saw a tweet from Colby Sharp (@colbysharp) that illustrator Lauren Castillo will be at NerdCampMI this summer. I have attended nErDCamp the last two years, but I will be unable to attend this year. However, I am excited because my daughter, Elise, will be able to attend NerdCamp Jr. I can’t wait to talk with her about her experiences.
While this book does not fit under my typical book choices for personal enjoyment, I often choose to read personal development books for enjoyment and growth. In the first four chapters I have found this book to be thought-provoking and action oriented. As I read through the chapters, I have been creating the different items designed to help me write a life plan.
I discovered Michael Hyatt after I received my first iPod and came across his podcast-This Is Your Life. I found it to be insightful and motivational. Through his blog and podcast, Michael has encouraged me and provided tips about different tools for engaging with social media, organizing digital files, and keeping on-track with projects.
This book lets you know you are never too old to revisit your life, plan forward, and take steps to become the person you want to be. With the life plan generated through the chapters of this book, I plan to grow personally and professionally. I challenge you to engage with this book—read it, write it, live it.
I will continue to engage with books—professionally and personally. I will read regularly. I will write regularly. I will reflect on my reading every month throughout the next year. I will continue to read five days a week with my youngest daughters. I will read to them and I will listen to them read to me.
Please share your comments and suggestions with me. Let me know what you think about my blog, the books I am reading, and suggest new books for me to read. I look forward to continuing the conversation about books. You can tweet me @realmarcdaly