I sit here, in a rare quiet moment (Bean napping, husband skiing), on January 1 with one thought on my mind. Organization. After traveling for almost two weeks to and staying at the homes of family members, my own home is a disaster. Bags half unpacked, presents strewn everywhere, various degrees of winter coats hanging off chairs (try packing for both the mountains and Florida), and laundry piled up in the hallway. My to-do list is long, and #1 on my list is a blog post. I have been a bit absent recently. My apologies.
#2 on my list is to think more about my New Year’s resolution. My New Year’s resolutions have evolved over the past 10 years, moving from vain to more centered and realistic. This year my resolution is organization. Although I am relatively organized, our life is about to change. I am heading back to work part-time, after a year away from the classroom. Excited, nervous, sad, anxious….these are just some of the feelings I have each day. But more than these emotions, the one thing I keep thinking about is organization. I have told my husband many times already that we have to be super organized. Grocery shopping done on weekends, food prepped and ready for the week, lunches packed the night before, and daycare arrival nailed down to the minute. This family needs to work like clockwork.
In thinking about this all, I have also decided that I don’t love the word resolution, but I do love the word goal. Resolution insinuates that you will do this, or else (which is why so many are not stuck to). Goal means that you will strive for this. A goal is something you can work and build up to, while a resolution is an immediate change. I believe my idea of organization will be a goal; I don’t want to become frustrated when days don’t work as they should.
And now, to my point…It is time to think about the goals and resolutions you have for your family. Make them realistic, manageable and attainable. Incorporating more literacy into your family’s life is an easy, reachable goal that just takes a small amount of discipline and structure.
How to INCORPORATE, GET EXCITED ABOUT, and ENCOURAGE literacy in 2014.
1. Have your child pick a goal book. A goal book should be one that your child wants to read on their own in the future. This book should not be too far ahead of their current reading skill, as looking at a book that has been on their shelf for three years may be discouraging, but something they can accomplish six months or so down the line. If they are reading at a level L, for example, have them choose a goal book that is at a level P. You want their goal book to be a challenge, a book they can’t read independently right now, but not a challenge that is unattainable. Put this goal book on a bookshelf that they see every day, and use it to encourage reading.
2. Provide structure to reading time. This can mean incorporating a daily drop everything and read (DEAR) time in your household, or this can mean becoming consistent with story time before bed. Ultimately, you know what will work for your family, so structure reading time in a way that works for everyone. Structure and routine help children feel secure and empowered. Children like to know what is coming, and providing a regular time for books is an important part of a daily routine. This may be challenging in the beginning as your child gets used to the new structure, but after a week or two it will become a normal part of their day.
3. Organize the new books and come up with a system that you like. The holidays bring gifts. Hopefully some of those gifts were books! The organization of the books in your house is very important. This post is helpful when organizing them in your child’s room. One strategy to organization is to rotate books, just like toys are rotated. (A fellow blogger, Boulder Child Whisperer, just wrote this post on toy rotation today, and doing this in my own household is #5 on my to-do list.)
If you have piles of books around your house, rotate those books and come up with themes for the piles. One week a pile could all be animal books, another week the main character could always be a boy, another week the pile could be books from different parts of the world. Different rooms could relate to different themes. Depending on the age of your child, have them guess the theme of the book pile. The lessons in this simple guessing game are many, and your child will peruse books numerous times in order to figure out the theme. (Prizes for correct theme guessing are also very helpful…)
4. Make it a goal to visit the library more. Libraries are a brilliant public resource that we don’t take advantage of enough. Think of how broad and diverse your piles of books could be if you had library books included. Think of how focused your library visit could be if you and your child were searching for a certain themed book. For another fun library book picking strategy, read here.
Happy New Year from Reading with Bean!