#SOL19: What Counts?

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)

Screenshot 2019-06-05 at 11.37.21 AM.png

William Bruce Cameron

 

We aren’t quite to the midpoint of the year, but here is what my reading life looks like through most of May  . . .

Screenshot 2019-06-05 at 10.07.28 AM

Search for a “balance” with NF labels a la Melissa Stewart

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.

Screenshot 2019-06-05 at 10.07.56 AM

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.   

What else?

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!

NEXT!

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.

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18 responses

  1. I adore your efforts to vary your reading and to monitor it to stay true to your endeavor. I’m afraid a graph of my reading choices wouldn’t be as varied as yours.

    1. Stacey, The key word is “effort”. It’s truly a work in progress! No perfection expected or required but a “visual” does put the data in your face!

  2. I enjoyed reading about how you’ve tried to track your reading and what you learn from doing so. I’m intrigued by the radar graph you showed. Such an interesting visual!

    1. I am also still intrigued by the radar graph. I think it can be more beneficial once I figure out how I want to define my inputs! (Coloring in boxes on a grid was simpler! And faster!) Thanks!

  3. I love your efforts! I record books read on Goodreads but never track rereads, and we all know there is lots of reading that is outside of books. I love summer #bookaday, but living away from library access in the summer makes it hard- not enough picture book access! I did tell my students about #bookaday after our year of #classroombookaday and we made glorious summer reading plans, but we shall see what really happens! I have too many books I want to read!

    1. Oh, Erika! Too many is the truth! I thought quantity would make it easier but not when the quantity is binge reading a specific author! or topic!

  4. Thanks for showing multiple ways you are looking at reading volume. This year I am using Goodreads more. Yet last year I made a by genre circle graph and I liked the visual. That radar map is cool…might need to try that. As reading teachers, I do feel we need to read and chart it in lots of ways to show our students. Then from our tried menu, they might find a format that works for them. Thanks for being a great model for me. (again!)

    1. Sally, I have used Goodreads before. And then I also ended up with more than one Goodreads account so I thought I would try something else. Choice of format really depends on the data. A good reminder to try it 2 or 3 ways!

  5. And maybe, you add a fiction graphic novel to your chart AND add a book more than once. One year I did that when my goal was to read more adult novels. So many ways to chart and see if we are reaching our goals!!

    1. Sally,
      I have wondered about books that can be in more than one category. Is that fair? Meeting our goals, yes, but trying not to totally cheat!

  6. Wow! This is an awesome post. I feel totally “out of it” when it comes to reading. I simply don’t have time. And I don’t have time because I’m writing. That’s where my energy goes. I haven’t figured out how to do both because if I read a book, then nothing gets written. If I write, nothing gets read… except articles I find online. And I guess I do read a lot of those because they give me ideas and resources for my writing. Aghhghghgh! Maybe if I were to figure out a way to track what I do read (and your post can help with that)…then I wouldn’t feel guilty about not tackling a novel and I would still acknowledge what I do read.

    1. Coming up with a “simple” way to track is the key!

  7. It is interesting how different graphs show different representations of the books read even though the information is the same. As with so many other things I think it is important to know what we want to show and then pick the type of graph that best depicts that information. Would love to see another graph come December showing your final tally next to this mid-year tally.

    1. Too funny. I actually added this link to my December calendar to remind me to revisit the graphs. We will see if I get side tracked! ❤

  8. This is so interesting! I haven’t ever tracked my reading by categories, but I need to do enough professional reading this summer, that I think I’ll give it a go.

    1. One year my professional reading was 3 x as high as other reading. I think I just did not keep track very well. Usually NF or Informational reading suffers!

  9. I love the idea of having choice in how you track — some kids would gravitate toward a graph, others lists, other photos — the goal, the celebration, and the reflection is what matters. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Clare, so true! The choice in method lies with the reader. Try a few out. Then, yes, the goal, the celebration and the reflection matter!

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