Growing Readers: Learning to Love Reading and Writing Column 38
This editorial article was written by Lizzie Mussoline, M. Ed.
New Year, New Reading Goals
The Children’s Book Review
New Year’s Resolutions can be daunting—aside from the pressure, we can often feel as though our goals aren’t good enough or big enough. And while it may seem that everyone else knows exactly what they want, at The Children’s Book Review, we know that comparison is the thief of joy, so we’re resolving to do our resolutions our way.
It’s always a good idea to get back to daily habits that may have slipped during the busier times of the year. These are simple, NO-pressure kinds of goals that can easily and organically be added back to your daily lives. Keep reading for some helpful tips.
Set a Goal and Get Reading
Tracking the books we’ve read, for example, by logging them in an app such as Goodreads, can give readers a sense of accomplishment and completion. Create a goal for the number of books you’d like to read this year, and invite your kids to set a goal as well. How will they track their books? What can they do to celebrate each book they finish?
Readers can share book recommendations with their friends, or they can create a paper chain link for each book read and watch it grow throughout the year. Celebrate these accomplishments at the dinner table. Talk about the books and share which books are on your list, who recommended them to you and why. Before you know it, this reading goal will be embedded into your daily lives.
Write it Out
Journaling is one of our favorite pastimes at The Children’s Book Review. The benefits sound almost too good to be true. The University of St. Augustine School for Health Sciences published an article that reinforces the incredible benefits of journaling, such as improving mental health and helping to manage anxiety. It also encourages confidence, boosts emotional intelligence, and helps you accomplish your goals. (If you are interested in all the benefits of writing down your goals, check out this fascinating article.)
Journaling also boosts memory, inspires creativity, enhances critical thinking skills, and improves academic performance AND physical health! Finally, it strengthens communication and writing skills. If you have not implemented a journaling routine in your home, commit to trying to in 2023.
Continue to Be Mindful
TCBR has an incredible and abundant amount of resources on mindfulness. The benefits of mindfulness are actually quite similar to those of journaling. Mindfulness in children has been proven to increase focus, attention, self-control, classroom participation, compassion, improved academic performance, ability to resolve conflict, overall well-being, and decreased levels of stress, depression, anxiety, and disruptive behavior. There are a TON of ways to incorporate mindfulness into your and your child’s daily lives.
Browse TCBR and Mindfulness.org to find a strategy that feels natural and right for you. Mindful walks are an easy way to do so—discuss what you see, hear, smell, feel, and so on. Breathing intentionally is another easy mindfulness method. Focusing on your breath can really help you to be more present.
Move Your Body
Regular physical activity is one of the most beneficial things you can do to stay healthy, physically and emotionally, as well as sharp. Kids should have at least 60 minutes of movement daily, which does not have to be all at once. Does your family already have a movement routine? Consider adding to it or spicing it up in the new year.
Make sure to celebrate your child’s healthy movement choices, such as offering to walk the dog, initiating a family dance party, or signing up for a new sport. Try to get in as many family walks as possible for more bonding time. Whichever way you and your family choose to move, celebrate it and stick with it. What a great way to make sure 2023 is happy AND healthy!
Commit to Learning Something New
Learning new things causes important changes to take place in your brain, including the creation of new connections between your neurons, also called neuroplasticity. The more you practice, the stronger these connections become! Commit to trying something new along with your kids—you’ll learn new skills as well as create more opportunities to bond and grow. What fun and exciting new things will you commit to learning this year? Your brain will thank you for it!
Thank you for reading the Growing Readers: Learning to Love Reading and Writing column. Bookmark this Growing Readers Column link or subscribe to our e-newsletter, so you do not miss out on the monthly reading tips. New Year, New Reading Goals was written by Lizzie Mussoline, M. Ed.—follow her on Instagram: @wildflower_learning_denver.