Read by Example Newsletter: What's Next

Update

Thank you for signing up to this site. I appreciate the readership and I am glad you find what I have to share beneficial to your work.

It’s been one year since I have started this newsletter. Why? One inquiry was to understand the benefits of curating past posts and sharing relevant, related resources. Another wondering was to find out if there was any value in a companion to the blog.

What have I learned?

  1. Creating a curated list of ten ideas in literacy leadership has been helpful for me and others in understanding the current themes and trends in education.

  2. There is value in what I write here. Stats from this newsletter reveal reader engagement in what is published.

In addition, I have affirmed what I know to be true about myself: I love to write and I value the independence that comes with this type of work.

Where to go from here? After gathering feedback from friends, family, colleagues, and readers, I plan to offer a premium version of this newsletter. In addition to the bi-monthly list of ten ideas, plus the regular posts on the blog, I will be publishing 1-2 additional articles per week on this site for a monthly or annual cost.

Before I explain more, let’s go back to 2016.

The spring of that year, I resigned my position as an elementary principal in another district. I was looking for a more flexible contract that would allow me to consult and speak in addition to my leadership duties. (I had just published one book with ASCD on educational technology with another on the way.) I found that flexibility in Mineral Point, Wisconsin, specifically in a contract that allowed me to flex some of my days.

What I discovered was, while I enjoyed writing and even speaking about the topics of literacy, leadership, and technology, workshopping and consulting was a whole different beast. The prep, networking, and travel are a full-time job in itself. Plus with a family and a new position that I genuinely enjoy, writing and speaking are enough. I’m not saying no to future opportunities, yet I am not actively pursuing them either.

Part of my drive is the joy I find in professional writing. With today’s technologies, I no longer have to rely on a publisher or a journal as the only avenues for finding an audience. I have worked as a freelance writer for other outlets such as Discovery Education, so this shift is not a big one for me. Hence, today’s announcement.

Here is the plan going forward, and always subject to change for the better:

  • Readers will continue to enjoy the blog posts at readingbyexample.com and the bi-monthly newsletter here. They are and will always remain free/public.

  • For those who would like more content or simply want to show their appreciation for this work, they can subscribe for an additional 1-2 posts a week here. Subscriptions will be $5/month or $35 annually. I am also planning on offering an institutional plan for schools or districts.

Next, a few questions you might have along with my responses.

What would be different about the paid version of the blog/newsletter?

Not a whole lot beyond additional, original content that I would normally publish with other outlets. The articles available only to subscribers might go more in-depth on a topic and/or provide a more personal experience. Original resources may also be included such as templates and tools I use in my role as a principal/literacy leader.

In addition (and I don’t want to get ahead of myself), subscribers would have full access to any eBooks and eCourses available for purchase on the blog. I am currently working on the first topic - Instructional Walks. As well, subscribers would have the ability to comment on all articles published and engage in threaded discussions here.

Am I able to access a free trial to see if I would want this subscription?

For the month of October, I will be making all articles and content available for free. So you will see an increase in content published on this site. Some of the articles are already written and waiting to be posted - I’m excited to get started!

During the next month, I will also be asking for feedback on how readers feel about this project. Ideas, topics, and questions will be requested for future content. From time to time, I will also make articles normally planned for subscribers free for everyone as a reminder about what is available to them.

Is there any other way to become a subscriber besides paying for it?

I have wrestled with this issue for a while. Charging for what I create has been a struggle for me, especially when fellow educators are the likely subscribers. Yet I have found that people perceive value in a) things they enjoy and b) whether the creator associates a value in their own work. Free sometimes comes with preconceptions.

This is where the blog comes in. I believe that teachers and leaders of writers should also be writers themselves. With that, anyone willing and interested to write a compelling post for the blog will receive six months free access to the site. Think of the blog then as a potential cooperative, a collaborative site where more voices are heard.

If you are interested now in contributing, or if you have general feedback about this upcoming change, click here to contact me via the provided form.

Again, thank you for being a reader and finding value in what is shared on these sites. Writing and reflecting on my practice online for the past seven years has connected me with so many smart people. My growth as an educator has been directly influenced by the responses and conversations I have experienced with people like you. If you have also been influenced by the ideas shared here, consider becoming a subscriber.