1. Being part of a community of readers. This is my favorite part of blogging–the other readers, teachers, librarians I have “met” through my blog and through Twitter. I struggled to find motivation to blog regularly before I found my community.
2. Discovering new books. When I see a book positively reviewed more than once in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? posts, it’s one I add to my TBR list. I find so many wonderful titles to share in my Children’s and Adolescent Lit courses thanks to book blogs. I very rarely read a book I dislike, and I think that’s largely because I get such great recommendations from my reading community.
3. Encouragement and support to read outside my comfort zone. I had never thought much about nonfiction picture books until I saw them featured regularly on Kid Lit Frenzy. Now, nonfiction picture books are one of my favorite genres. I had no idea that I liked middle-grade fiction until I started reading the Nerdy Book Club Blog. I read a couple of recommended books and fell in love.
4. Reading Challenges. I am reading more than I ever have, and my reading is more focused thanks to different reading challenges, like Nerdbery, Nerdcott, this year’s Latin@s in Kidlit, and others.
5. Participating in reading and blogging memes and events. In addition to It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? and The Broke and Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesdays, I sometimes participate in Slice of Life, Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge, #Nerdlution Check-in, and Celebrate. There are also occasional events, such as the upcoming #nfpb10for10. These memes and events give me ideas for topics to write about, a structure for my writing week, and a way to build more community, discover new blogs, and find new readers.
6. Finding serendipitous answers to questions. Just this week, I was reading Tim’s questions about how we might use wordless graphic novels like The Arrival in the English Language Arts classroom, and then I read Vicki Vinton’s post on Looking at Complex Texts More Complexly, which explored answers to several of Tim’s questions.
7. Writing–and finishing. I struggle to finish writing projects. Although some of my blog posts take a ridiculous amount of time to write, not all of them do. I try to publish 4-5 times a week, which means finishing small pieces of writing 4-5 times a week. Blogging sets up a habit of finishing.
8. Sharing what I learn. My blog is a space for me to share my thinking on writing, teaching, and book issues that are important to me.
9. Revising what I think and do. The process of writing often helps me figure out what I think–and it’s often not what I thought I thought, if that makes sense. Writing is almost always a process of discovery for me. I will start with one idea, and my post may end up in a very different place, which is one reason why it takes me a long time to finish more content-rich posts. Writing about my teaching often helps me refine and revise my practices.