Inspired by the final A Month of Favorites prompt, I’m sharing my 5 most popular blog posts from 2014 (surprisingly, one of them was published in 2013!) as well as my own personal favorite posts of the year.
1. Raising a Less Reluctant Reader: 13 Suggestions for Parents was–by far–my most popular post this year. In it, I reflect on what has worked–and not worked–as I try to help my son become a passionate reader. He still isn’t reading independently, but he is a reader. In 2014, we read about 400 picture books and 30 middle-grade novels together!
2. Getting Started with Writing Workshop: Guiding Principles and the Writer’s Notebook. This post, like many of my top posts, was inspired by one of my students, a new teacher who wanted to set up a writing workshop in his classroom but wasn’t sure where to start.
3. What If I’m Not a Good Teacher? This was the big surprise to me–a post I published in 2013 is my third most viewed post in 2014. I’m guessing that the topic really speaks to new teachers. I wrote this post to try to reassure a few of my most anxious pre-service teachers. It garnered the only negative comment I’ve ever received on my blog! Given its popularity, I think I should write more posts like this in 2015 because I have a lot to say about perfectionism, good teaching, and failure in the classroom.
4. Why Every Teacher Should Read Opening Minds by Peter Johnston. Usually review posts don’t get very much attention, but apparently a lot of teachers agree with me that every teacher needs to read this book!
5. Slice of Life: Reading Malpractice. Another post about my son’s reading life, this time focused on the ways that his reading classes at school are destroying his enthusiasm for reading and his understanding of what it is readers actually do.
My blog focuses on my teaching, reading, writing, and learning lives, but in 2014, I challenged myself to follow the advice I give freshmen in my Composition class: Take more risks. Write about what really matters. Write about what isn’t resolved. Write about what cuts to the bone. For me, that’s always my son. I do write about him in the context of my reading and teaching lives (he’s the star of two of my most popular posts this year, after all). But I also wrote three personal pieces this year about what it’s like to be his mom, and those are my own favorite pieces of my writing:
1. Stuck. A long piece about the slow process of working through trauma.
2. I Speak Trauma. A piece about the language my son and I speak together.
3. The Hardest Thing. A short piece about all the years I wasn’t his mom.
I am grateful to the Slice of Life community for inspiring, reading, sharing, and commenting on those posts.