I'm considering a biking goal..... (one that involves getting myself a road bike. finally. 11 years into liking biking).
On reading: yeah. the pissy part about it all is that you can't read a story if you don't know the Dolch words (the 100 most common words). and the tough part about that? I think you can sound out like one.
On spelling: I regularly volunteer in first grade (30 minutes, 1 x a week). Most of my job involves listening to kids read aloud. I'm marveling at the rate at which kids are picking up fluency simply by learning new words via spelling. They now can read good because they learned to spell g.o.o.d and practiced it. It is not how I learned, nor is it something that happens in my house, but the reality is that if we give kids a properly spelled list of words to learn, it enhances the chances they'll know the words later. Also pet peeve: I suck at copying anything down. I take a picture of my grocery list from the whiteboard in addition to copying it down so I have it at the store. Why the beep is fifth grade copying words down off the board in this era of photocopying machines? That involves so.many.skills: seeing the word appropriately, tuning out everyone around you, telling your hand to write the correct letter, writing the correct letter, going back to the word to make sure you're in the right spot. repeat. What are we testing there?