When I lived in Cameroon, the first day of the New Year was filled with joy and celebration. I always wanted to be out, walking in town hearing and seeing the celebrations. Everyone was filled with joy in the fresh start of the new year. Everyone wore their best clothes. The world was decorated in that happy. The idea of a new year brings that celebration of new beginnings.

As an educator, our “year” is always a little off. Our fresh year starts in August when our new pencils, fresh notebooks and clean desks are ready to welcome our children. But we are lucky because we also get this new calendar year that everyone celebrates. I enjoy hearing the teachers talk with the students about their goals for the new year. These last few days I have heard the question raised to the students, “What will you now work towards this rest of the school year?”

We have the opportunity to re-visit our school year goals in January and amend and grow. The relationships our teachers have made with the students help the goals become even more focused and grounded.

With an even greater focus on all students’ reading growth, I encourage everyone to consider making a New Year’s Goal to read more. Read with your child as often as you can. Listen to them read. Read aloud to them. Ask questions about what you read. Talk about your feelings and response to the books. And model reading by reading for pleasure yourself. Your child is always watching you. Be that role model of a reader.

I wish everyone a wonderful 2014. Embrace all of the possibilities and continue to enjoy your children. Their energy and happiness keeps me motivated. Thank you for supporting our school and our community.