Friday, January 3, 2014

My Reading Goal - Updated

A few months ago I wrote about a reading goal I had for the school year.  I was attempting to earn my ticket to a pizza party:

"Every year I'm invited to an end of the year celebration by Kathy and Shari, our media center staff.  Every year I attend.  However, this year is going to be different.  This year I'm going to earn my invitation.
Each year our middle school students are encouraged to read from the Iowa Teen Award list.  Students that read ten of the fifteen books are invited to a pizza party, held in our courtyard.  It's a big event and it is an honor to recognize the students who manage to read what ends up being a variety of genres." 

I'm happy to report that I've already reached my goal.  I knew I'd reach it, one way or another, but I was honestly surprised when I'd checked the 10th book off the list before Christmas.  But what surprised me the most was what I'd learned, about myself and about reading, along my journey:
  • While I wanted to help Kathy and Shari by promoting their programs, my goal was simply to model reading to our students.  I wanted them to see me reading, and ask me about the book in my hand.  Truth is, they didn't.  But I found myself asking them more questions about the books they were reading - most of which weren't on the list, but might soon be on mine. 
  • While I wanted to engage in conversations with students about their reading, and mine, I found myself talking more to the adults in our building about what they were reading, both personally and professionally. 
  • I've never been a very fluent reader, but I do know that my fluency increases as I get into a book or get to know an author.  I do know that the last 50 pages of a book go much faster than the first 50. 
  • I know that my preferred genres are still my preferred genres, but it is motivating, rewarding, and exciting to read something outside of my preference or comfort zone. 
  • I found that in the past months I've finished several books that I had started at one point, but failed to finish. 
  • I've found that I've read more in general.  Yes, that is typically the intention of such reading incentives. 
  • I found it rewarding to have my book recommendations accepted by my middle school aged son, my college aged daughter, and my mother. 
  • I've added a lot to my "Mike's Reading" link to my blog:

For the record, my 10:
  • Between Shades of Gray - Ruth Sepetys
  • Bruiser - Neal Shusterman
  • Legend - Marie Lu
  • The Roar - Emma Clayton
  • Crazy - Han Nolan
  • Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25 - Richard Paul Evans
  • The Name of the Star - Maureen Johnson
  • What Happened to Goodbye - Sarah Dessen
  • Wild Life - Cynthia DeFelice
  • Wonder - RJ Palacio
Thank you Kathy and Shari for motivating me and for your positive support and reinforcement along the way.  And by the way, I like Canadian Bacon....


  1. Mr Herdliska, it is hard to admit, but you are ahead of me on ITA reading. I will take it on as a challenge to earn my pizza slice as well! Thank you so much for sharing your reflections. I love that you are reading outside of your "genre zone" and modeling that for staff, students - and family!

  2. Very impressive Mr. Herdliska! You've inspired me to create a reading list on my blog and share my reading reflections with others! Thanks - -