Posted in 2017, Classroom, Literacy, Reading

My #MustReadin2017 Update

At the beginning of the year, several bloggers I follow started posting their #MustReadin2017 lists, and I was instantly inspired. I traced their posts back to Carrie Gelson’s site There is a Book for That, where she extended an open invitation for readers to create, post, and share their own #MustReadin2017 lists. I combed through my Goodreads list, blogs, and the Nerdy Book Club’s 2016 Middle Grade Nerdies to compile the list I posted here, a total of 30 books I hoped to read by the end of this year.

Since then, a printed copy of this paper has sat on my 
desk, getting shuffled into one pile or another. Occasionally, I take it out, grab my blue marker, and cross another book off the list. Sometimes I refer to it while I’m on the library’s website to request a book when I’m out of inspiration (that doesn’t happen very often). Other times I look through the books I’ve already read and reflect on the ones I want to recommend to other readers.

This week, Carrie invited those of us who decided to participate to check in and share our progress. Much like the work we do sometimes with data, I immediately thought of just sharing my number: I’ve read 23 of the 30 books I challenged myself to read. A few of the remaining titles are on my nightstand currently. I’m waiting for a few more from the library.

But that doesn’t tell the story.

The story is that I love to read and I always have, but I also fall into pretty consistent reading patterns. I frequently get hooked on a particular author or series. I love realistic fiction, especially if it is dramatic. I do love to read middle grade and YA books, but shy away from fantasy and mystery and sports stories.

While this list didn’t completely push me out of my comfort zone, the story behind this check in is that it has done some powerful things for me as a reader:

  • It has pushed me to finish books I would otherwise have tried to abandon. The Inquisitor’s Tale and When the Sea Turned to Silver were amazingly-written books that were both highly recommended, but they were both out of my reading comfort/interest zone. I really had to push myself to not put them down–and I’m glad I didn’t.
  • It has kept me more focused. So often, I see a great book and mark it on Goodreads…and then forget it exists. Having this list in hand has kept some important books front and center for me the past few months.
  • It has helped me connect with other readers. Seeing the same books on someone else’s list automatically makes you feel connected with that person.
  • It has guided me to be a more committed reader. I already read voraciously, but this list has empowered me to become a little more committed to finding and reading particular titles. Knowing there would be check-in points throughout the year has supported me in not forgetting this list.

When I think about all of the benefits of participating in this community, I look forward to offering students the choice to create their own lists when I return to the classroom next fall. I can’t wait to explore the potential of adding this to my toolbox for building a reading community–and I can’t wait to knock out the remaining books on my own list in 2017!




Teacher, mentor, reader, writer, mother, wife Lover of good books, chocolate chip cookies, and sunny days

8 thoughts on “My #MustReadin2017 Update

  1. I really enjoyed your larger reflections on what you’ve learned.You have found and developed a story in your reading life from the experience so far. I’m impressed that you’ve already read 23 of your 30 books! I have been thinking about challenging my pre-service teachers to do a #MustRead list at the end of the semester. Most of them don’t know enough about books and reading at the beginning of the semester to create any kind of list at the beginning of the year, but by the end of the semester, many could probably develop lists.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the reflective element you added to your post. I found myself nodding my head “yes” as I read. I too need to be pushed out of my reading comfort zone. One thing is for sure, there is never a shortage of book options.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I also love how you made the list really present and visual. I have mine on a bulletin board behind my desk. Students look at it a fair bit, and its almost like a silent book talk. Great work reading your 23. I also gravitate to MG and somewhat realistic. Since becoming a K-7 librarian, I have had to stretch in a few directions at the expense of finishing some series that I really love. It can be tough to find the balance that will work for each reader, I suppose. Great post, my favourite was your list of four things the challenge has done for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have so many books, and they are not all on the list, and I liked what you’ve written as a general reflection of how forming this group and creating a ‘must read’ list helps the focus. Wow, you’ve read a lot of your list. I hope you enjoyed most! I love your picture of all those crossed-off books!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I loved reading about how this has influenced you as a reader so much, I went and read it again. You have captured the profound impact that creating and reading from the list has on all of us.
    I’m also impressed as heck that you have finished 23 of your books!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Like you, having this list inspired me to push through on some books I might have otherwise abandoned in the beginning. This also helped me recognize my reading habits. With some books, there needs to be the right kind of time to read them. I need a dedicated few days as I can’t keep up with the plot otherwise. Other books I can pick up and put down often and still know what’s happening. I think absolutely all of these understandings help us support our student readers. I love that you have already read 23 of your 30 titles! Impressive.

    Liked by 1 person

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