My Journey Back to Reading … and into Book Blogging!

I’m really enjoying writing reviews for my blog, although I must admit, it’s taking me a LOT longer than I thought it would to write each one – and I don’t really understand why!  I make pages and pages of notes as I read.  I think I need them as a kind of security blanket whilst I get more confident in my ability to write reviews!  The funny thing is that, although I write copious notes, I hardly look at them when actually writing my review.  I don’t yet find it easy to write reviews (not sure I ever will), but I do find it enjoyable and personally rewarding.

For most of my life, I have been an avid reader and, before I became a teacher, I was easily able to devour a book in one sitting, and would frequently be reading a book I couldn’t put down at 3am!  My nine to five job enabled me to come home from work, switch off – and read!

This is something that virtually stopped overnight when I started my PGCE and teaching life, as teaching simply took over my life!  At a time when reading books would have helped me and my class, I just stopped as the endless cycle of marking, planning and assessment took up the majority of my time.  Holidays were spent preparing for the next term and recuperating from physical and mental exhaustion! 

This is something I now regret, and I am determined to redress the balance.  During Christmas this year, I made a conscious decision that I was going to actively engage with reading again, and it really has been the most rewarding experience.  Over the Christmas period, I read 10 books – and took a break from school work for most of that time.

I started reading middle grade books which has completely rekindled my love of reading.  Reading these has reminded me of why I loved reading in the first place:  the sense of escapism; the freedom to wander in new worlds; the complete suspension of disbelief and pure joy of the fantastical; and, the emotional connection with characters. 

Just before Easter, I thought I’d have a go at blogging as I’d been admiring some great bloggers via Twitter.  I didn’t have a clue – except that maybe WordPress was a good platform to use!  It took me a while to get my head around using it – and I’m definitely still not confident with most of the features – but I learned enough to let me post my first book review! 

I thought no-one would ever read my posts, or engage with me but, to be honest, I started blogging as a personal challenge to myself – to give myself something to write other than comments in children’s books and modelled texts for writing in class!  It was an added bonus when some people liked, and commented, on my posts. 

Coming back to reading, and discovering blogging and some of the wonderful people in the book blogging community (both via WordPress and Twitter) really has been a cathartic release which has helped me in balancing my home/work life, and has made me feel so much more relaxed and content in my life. 

Picking up a book now helps me to de-stress and relax after work, but it also benefits the children in my class who love having a ‘bookish’ teacher who chats to them about books, reads to them every day and gives them free range of an ever-growing class library of fantastic fiction.  Not to mention having a relaxed, happy teacher – most of the time!

22 thoughts on “My Journey Back to Reading … and into Book Blogging!

  1. Same! I highlighted a lot when I’m reading on my Kindle, or I put lots of sticky notes on my book. Then, when I write the review, I don’t usually use my notes. I only do it if I wanna make sure I did not forget to include something in the review.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah, so much of this is very familiar. I also lost my reading habit when teaching. I would still read but nowhere near as much as I had done before.
    I’m so glad you found your way back to it, and most importantly reclaimed a bit of work-life balance that is so elusive in teaching!
    And I’m glad you decided to start blogging your reviews too! I also find them really hard to write and they take me ages too (laughable since I now recommend books for a living!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s great to find someone who understands! I’m just sorry it took me so long to find my way back, but I’m so glad I have! Glad I’m not the only one who finds them hard to write – but they’re worth it for the sense of achievement!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh this is like my own story but it was leaving teaching and reading to my girls that allowed me to reawaken my love of reading. School, University and my PGCE then NQT year killed reading for pleasure and I was too tired to do anything so my reading was crammed into the summer.
    I’m so glad you’re finding a way to make this happen whilst teaching, and I’m so glad I’ve found your blog and can geek out over middle grade together!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s really reassuring to hear that others found this with reading and teaching – just really sad as instilling a love of reading in children is so important – and what better way to do that than to share a love of books with them! I love geeking out with you over middle grade!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think it’s a sad fact of the pressures placed on teachers, often not even to really do with the actual process of teaching children but bureaucratic and accountability issues (tracking, marking policies, targets etc) that exhausts the work-life balance and I agree reading is supposed to be fundamental!!
        So glad we both found a way to indulge our love of reading 💜

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You’re absolutely spot on! So much of ‘teaching’ nowadays isn’t actually teaching, and it is only being in class with the children that makes it worthwhile. Me too – reading rules! By the way, I hope you and Littlefae are doing ok!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I am very glad that you found your way back into reading and blogging as I love reading your posts. I’m also totally amazed that you blog so frequently as there is no way that I can read and write reviews so quickly! Keep up the good work.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yep! I don’t think I could ever give up blogging at this point; I really value the gratification I get from pressing publish on a review, and it’s something I have control over. I hope it keeps bringing you joy! (and middle grade is the Best!)

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I used to do the individual ‘thing’ with poetry. We had a poetry five minutes before break time. If a child found a poem they liked they could share it or I would read it if they didn’t want to. If no one offered something then I would share one I liked. Eventually we would progress to them reading the poems they had written themselves. Reading and writing literature should always walk hand in hand.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Such a lovely post to read. Blogging has really helped me too. It’s given me a sense of self again – something I’d lost as a very busy single mom to a young son. It takes me ages to write reviews too – glad I’m not the only one!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I’m glad blogging has helped you too – I imagine you’re kept very busy with your young son! I’m hoping to get a little faster with reviews as I get more used to them, but good to hear I’m not the only one who takes ages to write them!

      Like

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