Post number 1,407

Hi everyone,

Kathy Temean, if you are reading this, I’m dedicating today’s post to you for getting this thing started in October 2009. I didn’t want to do it and I still fuss about it now and then but I’ve met a lot of good people this way and must admit that blogging has its rewards.

One change I’ve noticed over the past (almost) five years is that I get fewer comments posted on the blog and more posted on the Facebook copy from the post. Then there’s that thing about “like” that makes it easy to click and keep moving. All responses are appreciated, of course, but the ones that mean the most are those when someone takes a moment to type a comment to share a thought.

Today I’ll finish updating my vitae to include in a presentation proposal for IRA in St. Louis next year. This chore would be easier if I would keep it current. Instead, I put off hateful jobs like this until it becomes a last minute task.

Thanks for the fun PICNIC poems that have been shared so far. It’s going to be a good month!

Time out

Hi everyone,

I’ll be back with you on Tuesday. Until then I’m going to be fairly occupied.



By davidlharrison Posted in IRA Tagged

Recording my poems

Hi everyone,


This rather cave-like shot is of Mary Jo Fresch and me yesterday in a recording studio in Huntington Beach, California. We spent the day recording 96 of my poems for a series of five books that will be out in April. The books are being published by Shell Education and co-branded by International Reading Association. If I get a better picture, I’ll exchange it for this one.

This is part of the reason why I announced over a year ago that I had a killer writing schedule that would be taking most of my time for quite a while.  This series won’t be released until April but it’s already posted on Amazon and Barnes & Noble under Learning through Poetry.

My co-author for these books, collectively called SOUND BEGINNINGS, is Mary Jo Fresch, Professor, Teaching and Learning, Ohio State University. We’ll also be presenting together at the upcoming IRA conference in San Antonio. SONY DSC

The series revolves around phonemic awareness and phonological awareness. Phonemic awareness is the beginning state of phonological awareness. The former is the ability to hear and manipulate the separate phonemes (distinct units of sounds) of the language. The latter encompasses not only the manipulation of phonemes but also words, syllables, and onsets and rimes.

Each poem was written to demonstrate a particular sound so I started each one by assembling a list of words that contained the desired sound and then went looking for a poem hidden somewhere in that list. Shades of Word of the Month! Mary Jo wrote the lessons for students to play with the words from the poems, then connected a content and art lesson to every poem. A letter for the parents provides support so they can play at home.

Each of the five titles will have a CD attached in the back that reflects the poems featured in the book. And that’s what Mary Jo and I were doing yesterday.

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.