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Reflections and Resolutions

Each time I open my Facebook page, I am posed with the question, “What is on your mind?” Often, the response I murmur sarcastically sounds something like this:

SOR – am I keeping up? On what topics do I need to be learning more?
Dismal NAEP scores – our poor students, the past few years have been rough on them in every way! How can I help them? How can I have a positive impact on student learning?
Oh! Our poor educators! They have SO much on their shoulders! I need to be supporting them more!
Oh no! I only watched 3 of 5 webinars I had scheduled for yesterday! I will have to catch up by watching the recordings!
And, of course, Sound Walls – who doesn’t know about the power of Sound Walls? How can I reach them with this information? I should send them an email; I should make a post about the power of phonemes; I should post a picture of a Sound Wall……

The thoughts go on and on……… then I remind myself…….breathe, one thing at a time, focus!!

As educators, we are always pushing forward and planning our next several steps while devising a plan of how to make those steps with lightning speed. We NEVER have enough time to do all the things that need to be done! Perhaps this is the perfect time to change that, even if just a little. As the calendar year draws to a close, this is a wonderful opportunity to pause and reflect. John Dewey quote, “We do not learn from experience. We learn from reflecting on experience”. This sentiment guides my thoughts as I wrap up a wonderful year of teaching and learning.

Person Reflecting in Thought

Which experiences of this year come to your mind as you reflect? If a distant friend were to ask you about your year, what experiences would you want to describe? For me, it would be Literacy Conventions. As a member of the Tools4Reading team, I have had the opportunity to attend several Literacy Conferences this year, held in some amazing locations around this incredible country. Each conference brings excitement, new learning, new challenges, new ideas, new energy and inspiration, along with newly cherished friendships with amazing educators and researchers! In a nutshell, conferences are like Disney World for educators! Conferences feed my soul and invigorate my thinking and aspirations. I am a better person and educator following each conference, I have no doubt.

Remember all those frantic thoughts I shared with you in the lines above? Guess what? Reflecting upon the learning and experiences from the conferences I’ve attended this year helps me take my hand away from the panic button, breathe, and engage in some intentional planning of logical, purposeful, and productive next steps. The lasting benefits of attending a Literacy Conference, and being fully engaged while in attendance, are immeasurable; they are the gift that continually gives. . . IF we pause to reflect upon the experiences.

So, what does this reflection in December prompt? Resolutions for 2023! My resolution for 2023 is simple: attend and fully engage in more Literacy Conferences, which are sound investments in myself. The return on the investment is a more knowledgeable, more confident, and more encouraged educator who believes that if we continue to grow together, all children can receive the gift of literacy, which they most certainly deserve.

What are your resolutions for 2023? How will your reflections impact your resolutions? What conferences are you excited about attending in 2023? The Tools 4 Reading team would love to meet you at your favorite conferences. Please look for us if you’re attending a regional or national conference on literacy.

2023 in sparkler writing

Personally, I would love to hear your suggestions for my 2023 conference attendance “wish list”. Please email me at

May your reflections bring you joy and your resolutions bring you inspiration.

Rhonda Ayers

The Tools 4 Reading Team

Elementary Classroom
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