I want to talk about my books for teachers, #9

Hi everyone,

In 2010, I approached Chris Craig, then the Director of the School of Education and Child Development at Drury University, and proposed that I, as Drury’s poet laureate, write a book about writing for elementary/middle school students. He loved the idea. We met with Todd Parnell, then president of the university, and Todd endorsed the notion too. Lauren (Laurie) Edmondson, then an education professor (later to succeed Craig as dean of the school of Education and Child Development), agreed to be my writing partner. We were off and running.

Over the two years that followed, the book took shape and substance. Laurie and I divided the contents into five chapters: how to get started, writing poetry, writing fiction, writing nonfiction, and how to revise. I wrote four tips for each chapter and Laurie provided lessons and suggestions for classroom teachers. In Drury’s sound studio I made 5-minute videos for each of the twenty tips and the DVDs became part of what was growing into a kit. Laurie wrote a student journal and we reached an agreement with my trade publishers to provide samples of books used in some of the student activities.

We sent the book, titled LET’S WRITE THIS WEEK WITH DAVID HARRISON, to a number of teachers and professors around the country and received strong encouragement. A grad student at the University of Missouri at Columbia wrote her master’s thesis on the project and found it be a valuable addition to the market’s offerings on the teaching of writing. A marketing class (at Drury) weighed in with the finding that today’s kids might be bored by a guy they don’t know, standing in front of a camera talking to them, rather than an animated cartoon complete with noise and excitement and entertainment. By then the DVDs were already done. We heard the marketing concern but proceeded to look for a publisher anyway.

We were turned down by three publishers, all of whom expressed concerns about how they would market such an expensive package, but the fourth publisher agreed to take us on. It was a small operation, Phoenix Learning Resources (under the Stourbridge Distributors umbrella) in Pennsylvania. A contract was signed, the cost of the kit was set at $499, and we got under way in 2013.

By 2015 it was over. LET’S WRITE THIS WEEK WITH DAVID HARRISON had come and gone. We should have listened to Drury’s marketing class although, to be honest, at no time did we ever have a budget to produce a product like they had described.

Time has passed and a few weeks ago I approached Laurie with the idea that sometime in 2021 we should brush off the ashes of our collaboration, forget about recordings, and focus on making a good book that can be priced like any other book. She likes the notion, too, so we’ll see what, if anything, eventually happens to my old brainstorm. It has been a ride.

LET’S WRITE for graduate credit

Hi everyone,

My new DVD series, LET’S WRITE THIS WEEK WITH DAVID HARRISON is being officially introduced this weekend at International Reading Association’s annual conference in San Antonio, Texas. I don’t know how many will attend this year’s event but it will be well over 10,000 from the U.S. and numerous other countries.
David and Laurie
I’ve posted about this kit before but I’d like to emphasize that a college graduate course is now available based on the DVDs, teachers’ guide book, and concept.

Dr. Lauren Edmondson, my co-author for the guide book and student writing journal, will teach the online course and can be reached for further information at this address: ledmondson@drury.edu  . Laurie is also the Interim Director of the School of Education and Child Development at Drury University.

She and I worked together to create this class to appeal to teachers who want to enhance their skills for teaching writing to students in grades approximately 3-5. In districts where the kits are provided to elementary teachers, the class is a special opportunity to put LET’S WRITE to work. Laurie is ready and eager to hear from anyone who wants to know more about this unique course. Please pass this information along to others who might like to take a graduate course based on my forty years of work with students combined with Laurie’s many years of experience teaching in the classroom and teaching teachers to prepare for the classroom.


The launch party

Hi everyone,
David and Laurie
Writing partner Laurie Edmondson and I enjoyed the launch party on Thursday of our new kit, LET’S WRITE THIS WEEK WITH DAVID HARRISON. Here are a few pics from the party. Lots of people came so we had plenty of opportunities to show off the new DVDs, teacher guide, student writing journal, and three trade books used as examples for some of the lessons. We go national on the 19th at IRA in San Antonio but I bet it won’t be any more fun than we had at Drury on Thursday.
Kit on display 2Digging in
I’m grateful to Drury University, especially President Todd Parnell and former Director of the School of Education and Child Development Chris Craig for their encouragement and support throughout the project. The university provided the studio and financed the production of the DVDs and Brian Shipman used his considerable talents to produce and direct them.
David giving brief remarksExplaining the kit to a teacher
This is a project I began as Drury’s Poet Laureate and I’m pleased to say that it reflects a true collaboration involving the university, co-author and interim Director of the School of Education and Child Development Laurie Edmondson, and me. There’s even an online graduate course offered to those who wish to take LET’S WRITE for credit. One teacher has already written about LET’S WRITE as part of her master’s program.

Many others gave valuable assistance along the way, particularly technology expert Damon Hargraves who developed the prototype for the DVD format we eventually selected.
David and Charles Taylor
Now comes the hard part: getting out the word to elementary schools across the country that we have a unique teaching tool to help students develop their writing skills. We’re ready when everyone else is! Here’s the contact information for anyone who wants to learn more and/or place an order.

Stourbridge Distributors
812 Court Street
Honesdale, PA 18431


You’re invited to a launch party

Hi everyone,

Some of you live thousands of miles away but some live close enough that you might consider dropping by. Here’s the invitation that went out today for our launch party for LET’S WRITE THIS WEEK WITH DAVID HARRISON.


Where? Drury’s Lay Hall

When? Thursday, April 11, from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.

What? Read on!

Invitation to Book Launch

David Harrison and Laurie Edmondson invite you to our launch party for a unique new teaching tool: LET’S WRITE THIS WEEK WITH DAVID HARRISON.

A two-year collaboration involving David (Drury’s poet laureate), Laurie (Interim Director of the School of Education and Child Development), and Drury has resulted in the educational kit we’re celebrating.

The kit includes twenty DVD sessions, produced by Brian Shipman, of David presenting writing tips to grade school students. These are practical tips based on more than forty years of working with students and teachers in classrooms across the country. Laurie and David wrote a teachers’ guide and student writing journal that support the DVD lessons. These tools stimulate interest in topics that include finding ideas, poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and rewriting. Laurie will also teach an online graduate course for teachers who decide to take LET’S WRITE for credit.

LET’S WRITE will be introduced at the International Reading Association’s annual conference in San Antonio beginning April 19. Our publisher’s goal is to begin at once to place the kit into elementary schools in the United States and abroad, particularly in grades 3-5. In her foreword to the book, Ruth Culham (of 6 +1 Traits of Writing fame) says, “There is nothing else like it in today’s teaching world – featuring tips, lessons, and ideas galore.” Laura Robb writes, “This is a must-have series . . . for teachers and students!”

Please help us celebrate the launching of this exciting, one-of-a-kind product! If you think of others we should invite, please let us know or share this information with them. We’ll show you the elements of the kit, play some the DVD sessions, and respond to questions about the kit, how to use it, and how to acquire it. We’ve had fun making LET’S WRITE. Now it’s time to have fun introducing it to the Springfield area.

Please mark your calendar now and plan to join us!

David and Laurie

New titles out this spring

Hi everyone,

The annual International Reading Association Conference is three weeks away. Here are my new titles that will be introduced at the conference. I didn’t start all of these at the same time. They just happened to come together in a bunch.

From Holiday House, a picture book: A PERFECT HOME FOR A FAMILY, beautifully illustrated by Roberta Angaramo.
A Perfect Home for a FamilyFrom Phoenix Learning Resources/Stourbridge: LET’S WRITE THIS WEEK WITH DAVID HARRISON. The Teacher Guide and Student Writing Journal were co-authored with Laurie Edmondson at Drury University.The kit also includes twenty 5-minute video sessions of me offering writing tips to students plus a set of three of my trade books used in the lessons.Lets Write Teacher GuideLets Write Journal.jpgLearning through Poetry - Consonant Blends.jpg From Shell Education/Teacher Created Materials/IRA: a set of five books titled LEARNING THROUGH POETRY. This was co-authored with Mary Jo Fresch at Ohio State University. Each book includes a CD containing the poems I wrote for that subject and recorded with Mary Jo. In all there are 96 poems.Learning through Poetry - Short Vowels.jpgLearning through Poetry - Rimes.jpgLearning through Poetry - Long Vowels.jpgLearning through Poetry - Consonants.jpgThis year’s conference is in San Antonio, one of my favorite cities.I hope to see some of you there.