Promotional piece for upcoming Google Hangout

REMINDER: Be sure to vote for the word of your choice for October’s Word of the Month Poetry Challenge. Voting ends tonight. To vote, scroll down to the poll shown on September 22, click in the circle beside the word of your choice, go to the bottom of the box, and click on vote.
SPECIAL PLEA TO TEACHERS: Many teachers have worked with their students in the past to write poems for Word of the Month and post them in the Young Poets’ special box. I hope that as many of you as possible will encourage your students to vote for the October word and then write poems for you to post. This is a celebration! It’s our 5th anniversary!

Hi everyone,

The other day I told you about the upcoming Google Hangout with Ruth Culham and four panelist authors. Here’s a fancier version of the announcement, far better than my poor means to create.


Google Hangout with Ruth Culham

Ruth Culham

Hi everyone,

I’d like to tell you about plans in the works at International Reading Association to try something new. They’re calling it a Google Hangout with Ruth Culham.Honesdale, David
The event is scheduled to take place at 8:00 p.m. ET on October 28. Ruth will be joined by four panelists: Varian Johnson, Kate Messner, Lisa Yee, and David Harrison.

The target audience will be reading and writing teachers, and we’ll discuss using mentor texts to teach the craft of writing. Although plans are not yet finalized, current thinking is to offer an audience member a 30 minute virtual visit with one of the authors.

The idea would be to issue a phrase to either tweet or email to IRA within an hour after the Hangout ends and they would randomly select a name. The winner would get to choose the author they’d like to have the visit with depending on their grade level, the unit they’re working on in class, etc.

Finalized plans should be announced soon but if you’re interested or know someone who might be, mark your calendars now for October 28 and look for more information as it becomes available.

For more information about Ruth and the other participants, check these links.
Ruth Culham:
Varian Johnson:
Kate Messner:  
Lisa Yee:



Ruth Culham’s latest book

Ruth Culham

Hi everyone,

Ruth Culham is often referred to as The Trait Lady for her years of research, publishing, teaching, and lecturing about the traits of good writing. She just returned from a series of meetings and workshops in Abu Dhabi. It’s a pleasure to help announce the publication of Ruth’s newest work, THE WRITING THIEF, which will officially be introduced by its publisher, International Reading Association, in New Orleans this weekend.
The Writing Thief

Word spreads fast among Ruth’s followers so the book is already into its second printing based on advance orders. Here’s a quote borrowed from the Internet: “Students learn more about reading and writing when we use mentor texts to explore how writing works. Within this book, you’ll discover more than 90 excellent mentor texts along with straightforward activities that can help you teach the traits of writing across the informational, narrative, and argument modes.

“Ruth presents exceptional examples of children’s literature and everyday texts, organized around the key qualities of the writing traits, that can give your students clear, enjoyable examples of good writing—which they can then pinch and pilfer as models for their own writing.

“Chapters also include brief essays from favorite writing thieves—Lester Laminack, David L. Harrison, Lisa Yee, Nicola Davies, Ralph Fletcher, Toni Buzzeo, and Lola Schaefer—detailing the reading that has influenced their own writing.”

For more about Ruth, click here.

Way to go, Ruth! I’m delighted to be in your latest book. Here’s to another great success!


Writers Hall of Fame

Hi everyone,

Many of you who live near Springfield may have already received the news release below about this year’s inductee into Writers Hall of Fame: Ridley Pearson. I hope you are already making plans to attend the gala event.
NEWS RELEASE: Ridley Pearson Wins 2013 Quill Award
Ridley Pearson, prize-winning co-author of the mega selling Peter and the Starcatchers as well as many other best- selling novels, has been awarded the 2013 Quill Award by the Writers Hall of Fame. The award will be presented to Pearson at the Quill Award Gala, Saturday, March 2, at The Tower Club. A limited number of tickets for the hors d’oeuvres buffet event are available for $35 each; tables seating ten are available for $300 per table. In addition to Pearson’s comments on his experience as a writer, the event will feature both live and silent auctions. All proceeds will fund scholarships awarded by the Writers Hall of Fame to promising young writers from area high schools. For tickets or further information, contact Kathy McQueen ( or 368-1231).


At each of our award banquets we hold an auction to raise scholarship funds. This year I’m blessed with a number of new books coming out so I asked my publishers to provide copies for the auction and they’ve all been generous in their support. If you attend the banquet, I hope the following descriptions will help you decide which items might be right for you.

A Perfect Home for a Family

This new picture book from Holiday House stars a pair of raccoons with an urgent need to find a roomy, quiet home. The twins are due! Mama and Papa finally find a roomy, quiet attic, only to discover that they have a people infestation below their floor

The story begins like this:

“What’s that?” said Mama.
“What?” said Papa.
“That,” said Mama.
“Oh no,” said Papa.

Chaos and a happy ending ensue. Beautifully illustrated by award winning Italian artist Roberta Angaramo.
$16.95. I’ll sign it if you wish.
* * *

Learning through Poetry

I co-authored a set of five 136-page books for Shell Education with Mary Jo Fresch , professor of education at Ohio State University. My job was to create poems to demonstrate the language sounds that children learn to recognize as they develop reading skills. Here’s how the books are described by the publisher.



This must-have PreK-2 resource features short vowels and supports phonemic and phonological awareness through activities around level-appropriate poetry! Original poems are introduced and feature a corresponding lesson that includes two cross-curricular connections. The strategies provided in Learning through Poetry include phonemic matching, phonemic isolation, phonemic blending, phonemic substitution, and phonemic segmentation. Take-home activities are included to encourage linguistic interaction with friends and family members, which is especially useful for English language learners and their families. This book features digital resources that include activity pages, poems, family letters, and an audio recording of each poem. This resource supports the Common Core State Standards.

The five titles in the series are:
Each book is priced at $29.99 so the set of five has a value of $149.95. The 5 CDs contain a total of 96 original poems.
* * *


Let’s Write This Week with David Harrison

This is a hands-on, interactive, creative writing program that brings me into your classroom to help teach students how to write. This program is designed for use in grades 3-5, but can be used in later grades if desired.

The Let’s Write kit includes the following items:

 A two-disk set that contains 20 whiteboard lessons in which David Harrison talks directly to the students and leads them through the creative writing process.

 20 Student Journals (co-written with Drury University’s Laurie Edmondson) that provide headings to help students organize their thoughts and enforces consistent writing habits.

 The Teacher’s Guide (co-written with Laurie Edmondson) includes lesson plans specific to the 3 titles included in the kit, along with generic lesson plans for poetry, fiction and non-fiction writing.

 Three book titles are included in the kit. They are:
Dylan the Eagle-Hearted Chicken: A baby chicken hatches in an eagle’s nest.

Farmer’s Dog Goes to the Forest, Rhymes in Two Voices: Ever-curious Dog has questions in verse for his new forest friends
Earthquakes: What causes the Earth to quiver and shake? This basic introduction explains why the Earth’s surface sometimes moves.

Ruth Culham (of 6 +1 Traits of Writing fame) wrote the foreword. Here’s an excerpt: “David Harrison knows how to coach writers like few others. He’s a natural. And now, with this project, you get to have David in your classroom as often as you want. What could be better than having him at your side, helping you teach and support student writers so they achieve what often seems out of their grasp: writing well and enjoying the process. You’ll find this series instructive and practical. It’s both inspiring and original. There is nothing else like it in today’s teaching world featuring tips, lessons, and ideas galore that are central to David Harrison’s core philosophy: Let’s Write.

Priced individually, the components of LET’S WRITE THIS WEEK WITH DAVID HARRISON total $600. Buying it as a kit, the price is $499.00.

* * *

Buy Me at Auction

We tried this idea at last year’s banquet and raised $1,500, which is the equivalent of three $500 scholarships. I’ll go to a school (within easy driving distance) designated by the highest bidder and speak to students about writing. My talk will include many of the ideas in LET’S WRITE THIS WEEK WITH DAVID HARRISON. My standard speaker’s fee is $2,500 so someone might get a bargain. If you are interested in helping a school host a visit by me, please come prepared to bid. If you know others who might like to consider this, please pass the information along. This is all done in the spirit of nurturing young writers.

Bidding starts at $500

I hope to see some of you at the Award event to honor Ridley Pearson!


Home from IRA

BULLETIN: Poets, forgive me for being slow to post the May Word of the Month! Blame it on IRA. I’ll remove April’s poems and comments this morning. In the meantime, you can start thinking about your new poems. The word is WINDOW.

Hi everyone,

I’m back at my computer this morning, trying to decide how and where to begin playing catch up. IRA was a whirlwind and I loved it. Sunday at 5:30 I met Janet Wong, April Halprin Wayland, and Esther Hershenhorn for conversation at Mercat a La Planxa then attended a wonderful dinner party at Dee’s Mandarin Restaurant hosted by Highlights Foundation where I had a chance to greet my friend Kent Brown.

Monday began with breakfast at 8:00 with Tori Bachman from IRA followed by meeting Laurie Edmondson at the Phoenix Learning Resources booth to help introduce our new DVD series and kit, LET’S WRITE THIS WEEK WITH DAVID HARRISON. (More about that later).

From 11:00 – 1:45 I participated in a symposium called “Using Poetry for Word Study, Fluency, and Instruction.” The other presenters were Tim Rasinski, Brod Bagert, and Alicia McCartney. I divided the afternoon into signings at Boyds Mills Press, Scholastic, and Phoenix Learning Resources.

At 5:30 I attended the Scholastic Authors’ Reception at the Cage Restaurant, which was splendid, as always, and then caught a cab to join my friends and hosts, Dona Rice, Conni Medina, and Sharon Coan, at the Teacher Created Materials dinner at Gene & Georgetti Steakhouse. What a great evening. However, during dinner I received a phone call that the manufacturing plant on my property in Springfield, which was formerly my firm, Glenstone Block Company, was on fire. Sandy went to the scene, which was blocked by six firetrucks and three squad cars and had a hard time getting close. She finally spoke with the fire marshal and learned that the fire had been set by someone. It took hours to bring it under control and the building is a total loss.

There was nothing I could do, of course, except grind my teeth. I haven’t been to the scene yet but yesterday’s and today’s papers show pictures and explain more about the situation. The original plant was built on that spot in 1945 by my dad and his partner. Lots of memories went up with the flames and smoke.

Later in the evening I left the Teacher Created Materials dinner and barely made it to the Poetry Olio held in the Hilton in time to present a couple of poems and enjoy hearing a few by other poets. I was supposed to meet Mary Jo Fresch for a nightcap but it had been a long day and we both decided to put off getting together until Tuesday.

Tuesday began with breakfast with Ruth Culham and then I spent the rest of the day signing at Boyds Mills Press, Phoenix Learning Resources, Zaner-Bloser, and back to Boyds Mills Press. Mary Jo and I managed to squeeze in a brief meeting about the book project we’re doing together. I finished there at 4:00 as the exhibit hall was closing for the day, grabbed a cab to the airport, and made it to my gate with a few minutes to spare. For some reason I napped in the cab going out.

That’s my report. It is always stimulating to attend IRA and see so many old friends. Every year I meet new ones too. I’m already looking forward to next time.