What do I read?
Mail, Blogs, Tweets, Chapters . . . and Books
I have always envied those who kept a list and reported out like Regie Routman here, here and here. Currently many are reporting out #BookADay now on Twitter or Facebook. For more information about #BookADay created by Jillian Heise in 2014 go here.
So during the winter break I decided one goal of mine was going to be to “celebrate” my reading in 2019. And of course that would mean that I had to keep track of it somehow. So being ever mindful of this quote, I’m tracking my reading. (Note the key word: I)
We aren’t quite to the midpoint of the year, but here is what my reading life looks like through most of May . . .
I’ve written about reading goals before here, but I found that round chart didn’t have enough spaces for my book count. Holding on to one single list has not been helpful. I create stacks of the “done” books and record them every two, or three or four weeks. Based on my records thus far for 2019, I believe that I can confirm that I am a voracious reader. But are there other ways to display the data as I think of students who want to make sense of their own reading lives.
So again this week, I saw a tweet that caught my eye about reading circle graphs and I replied. And then the learning began when Steve Peterson (@Steve1Peterson) replied with the fact that Excel and Google Sheets could make radar graphs.
And the same data above looks like this. Fiction = 72, Nonfiction = 52, Professional = 50.
This graph is quite interesting. Having all professional books in one category quickly made it into an outlier in this format. Five of the 10 remaining categories were in the 20-ish category with four in the single digits and only one category reporting a zero. (Radar chart)
No external pressure other than the public announcement.
No public accountability required.
No summative assessment.
Just recording a snippet from my life . . .
I am Wondering . . .
Is my reading varied enough?
Varied enough? The good news is that I still have time to have a mid-course correction. I will purposefully pick up some titles for those four single digit categories. (And I am already plotting to combine some so that I will have fewer gaps – Yes, manipulating the categories.)
What does not show in this data?
What does concern me is that the data does not show my growth. This year I have made a conscious effort to read more graphic novels, cartoons, and even narrative prose. Those books are represented in the totals for F and narrative NF but not as separate categories because they are not separate genres.
The data also doesn’t share my frustration that tracking my books read over a year is cumbersome. It’s easy to make a “pile” when reading at home. But when I’m not there where and when do I record the data? Do I really only have one list? NOPE! I have some post-its with some scribbles, some lists in my Kindle app, and who knows what else!
The lesson here was to give myself grace. My list does NOT have to be perfect. The data is for me. It’s not a “controlled study” so error is fine.
So my final advice to myself . . .
Take a breath.
Take another breath.
LET IT GO!
Where, why, and when might giving yourself “grace” free up positive energy?
When could you TRY something without trying it “forever”( so you have room to modify to match the needs)?
When will you commit to JUST being the best that you can
Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum from Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers and readers here.