Reflections on Reading

Welcome to January 2013! It’s the beginning of a wonderful  new year of reading! January is also the month for reflecting. You hear people talking about new year resolutions – things they are going to change this year. Friends talk about what was good about 2012 and what hopefully will improve in 2013.


I do the same kind of reflecting about my reading patterns. I think we all do this to some extent. What books did you like? Which books do you wish the author would write sequels for? I know Logan is anxiously waiting for the next Amulet. Mrs. Butler and Mrs. Higgins finished reading Wonder to their classes and were sad to see the book end. What book touched you and stayed with you days, weeks or months after you finished the last page?

Prior to 2012, I had never recorded how many books I read a year. When I saw some online librarian and teacher colleagues talking about making reading goals, I thought it would be the perfect time to give it a try. I set up a Goodreads online reading account with shelves to track my reading. Each time I read a book, I recorded it on my Goodreads account and marked what kind of book it was, how I liked it and when I read it. I set a goal to read 366 books in 2012 – a book for each day of the year (remember…it was a leap year).

I also joined the Caldecott and Newbery challenges. The premise is simple. Read all the Caldecott and Newbery Medal winning books. You can also read the honor titles. Do it however you want. Take as long as you want. Read them in order or don’t. It doesn’t matter. I thought that sounded like fun, and so I started that journey too.

Here is what I learned from my reading  2012 experience. I loved tracking the titles of the books and the genres. I loved joining in on the Caldecott and Newbery challenges. I listened to lots of the books on audio CD in my car. I lugged bags of books home from the local library. I read and read and read.

I achieved my goal and even exceeded it. I actually read 372 books. Sure, I know lots of people who read lots more books than me, and I am proud of them!  But, there was just one problem. Having a number goal really, really bothered me.

In December, I was a little behind in my numbers and so started feeling the pressure. I need to reach my goal. I need to read more. I need to reach 366 books! AHGH! And you know what happened? Instead of loving the books I was reading, I got concerned about the number of books I was reading. Suddenly, reading – the activity that brings me the most joy became a chore.


Creative Commons License photo by Nikoretro

STOP! Reading should never, ever be a chore. That is why I won’t be setting a reading number goal for 2013. Setting a number goal works for countless people. It just doesn’t work for me. Along the path, I lose sight of what is important to me. 


Creative Commons License photo by Liamfm


Reading is about joy, and sorrow and laughing and learning. It’s about traveling to faraway lands and walking on sandy beaches with characters you have grown to love. It’s about experiencing new countries and finding out facts on subjects that are important to you.

Reading is personal. The books I love may not be the books you love. That’s okay. The wonder of reading is finding the book that speaks to you. The one that touches your insides and give you an emotional reaction. These are the books you remember long after you turned the last page.

My next post will be about the books that I carried with me this year. I hope you will come back and visit.


How does reading make you feel?

Have you ever felt like reading became a chore?

How did you fix that?

Leave us a comment and let us know!

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7 thoughts on “Reflections on Reading

  1. Dear Mrs Hembree,
    I just loved reading your post. I think it was great how you said that reading became a chore and was very annoying. Yes reading has felt like a chore to me once. I did not want to read but I did and it was so annoying having that feeling. Now I realized I should just stick to reading when I want to. How did I fix the problem interesting question I picked books I enjoyed reading. I just loved the photos they are cool photos.

    From your 1# pal,


    • Dear BB,

      It took a long time for me to figure out why I didn’t like having a number goal. I am going to continue tracking what I read, but I am not going to worry about the numbers. Instead, I will try to read a little bit more of genres I don’t read as often.
      For example, right now I amd reading The Templeton Twins Have an Idea. The narrator of the book does a lot of talking. He’s really one of the characters. That style of writing is a little different, but I am going to stick with this book because I think others might like it, especially if they like The Series of Unfortunate Events.

      I hope you enjoy the last couple weeks of your vacation!
      Mrs. Hembree

  2. Dear Mrs Hembree,
    I enjoyed reading your thoughtful post. Despite your not liking your number targets, I am very impressed with the number of books you managed to get through! That is some amount of reading!
    I wonder if you have read any books by an English author called David Walliams? Mr Stink is a great book to read aloud to a class, probably aged 7-11. It has a wonderful message but is written in a funny and very accessible style. David Walliams is better known as a comedian in the UK, but now he’s becoming more famous for his writing – what a talented guy! Not only that but he took on a challenge to raise money for disadvantaged kids and swam across the English Channel between England and France! I mention him because you asked what books had stayed with me and that is one I have really enjoyed.
    You might also be interested in the #myclassread on Twitter, which is really interesting!
    If you love language, as you obviously do, check out The Etymologicon and The Horologicon by Mark Forsyth – fantastically entertaining (for Grown-Ups!)
    Happy reading for 2013 – I look forward to falling way behind you in numbers of books read, and vicariously enjoying your reads!
    Mrs Monaghan

    • Dear Mrs.Monaghan,
      Thanks for visiting our blog! I really welcome the reading suggestions you have shared.I enjoy Brtish humor. I Will have to find out more about David Williams. Eons ago, I watched a show Fawlty Towers with John Cleese. That show hit my funny bone and made me really laugh…a lot.
      Like I said in my post, numbers don’t matter. Someone will always read more and others less.The memories are what is important. I wonder what books will touch me in 2013.
      Mrs. Hembree

    • Dear Lily,
      I think the theme of your blog is refreshing! Obviously you love animals and choosing that kind of theme is different than many students. Good for you! Your header really captured my attention.
      Mrs. Hembree

  3. Dear Mrs Hembree,

    Great post and really got me thinking outside the square about reading. I really love to read to learn and grow. Mind you it wasn’t always this way for when I was at school I often found reading a real bore.
    I feel that the reason why I found reading a bore when I was at school is that I really didn’t have much direction and therefore I had to read to finish assignments for school.

    However now that I help out at our local school, work with young children and having BB I love reading and seeing the looks on the children’s faces when reading to them.

    Reading for me now is reading books that I want to read. One book which I do often keep reading over and over is called To Kill a Mocking Bird. I am forever learning new elements about this novel each time I re read it Mrs Hembree.

    I have read that it’s pretty cold up your way do keep warm.
    Happy reading Mrs Hembree, am so looking forward to another year with you and your awesome blog.

    Your friend down under,
    AA 🙂

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