New ads for new books

Hi everyone,

Here’s a new ad that Scholastic is running in ILA’s Literacy Today (October issue). This is for the paired titles that MARY JO FRESCH, TIM RASINSKI, and I worked on together. They came out in February and are off to an excellent start.

This second ad will be used in other spots. I’m eager to see both of these put to use.

Coming up in November

Hi everyone,

Mary Jo Fresch
Laura Robb
Tim Rasinski
David L. Harrison

Here’s the new flyer from the upcoming California State Reading conference. The four of us (MARY JO, LAURA, TIM, and I) have an article coming up in the CA Reader this fall but we had to split up into to make videos for the conference.

We are thrilled to announce that we have added Virtual Workshops to our
Connected with Literacy 2022 Conference. CRA is excited to bring a collection
of 20-30 minute prerecorded videos, featuring presenters ranging from
researchers, award winning children’s authors to teachers who will bring
hands-on practical strategies and ideas you can take back and use with your

Donald Bear, Darl Kiernan and Sarah Negrete … Advancing Emergent and Beginning
Readers – Activities to develop Concept of Word, Phonological Awareness and Early Reading.
Learn to establish a personal reader routine. Phonics and fluency for emergent and
beginning readers are discussed.

Carol Jago … The Role of Literature in Troubling Times
In this workshop participants will explore how imagination can be a tool of response and
resistance. We will reflect upon works that pose complex, compelling questions and learn
protocols for scaffolding such texts for classroom use. Carol will also introduce you to vibrant
new fiction and nonfiction titles sure to engage young readers.
Lori Oczkus … The Science of Reading Comprehension : Short and Sharp Mini Lessons
that Work! – When students look for C’s and Q’s (words to clarify and questions) as they read
they stay engaged and their comprehension dramatically improves. Lori Oczkus, author and
literacy consultant, will demonstrate her favorite “Go To” lessons that dramatically improve
comprehension using any text at any grade level! Join us for this lively session loaded with
ideas to use immediately!

David Harrison and Tim Raskinski … Why Poetry for Reading Instruction – Let us
Count the Ways! – Poetry for children is one of the least valued texts for teaching reading.
We will make the case that poetry offers such great potential for improving all aspects of
reading. Moreover, we argue that poetry is particularly beneficial for students who struggle
in reading.

Mary Jo Fresch and Laura Robb … Powerful Comprehension Tools: Three Reading
Strategies That Work – Fresch and Robb model and discuss how three strategies (visualizing,
comparing/contrasting, and inferring) engage and motivate K-8 students. The strategies trigger
students’ critical thinking for active and deep comprehension.
Stephanie Jeppson … A Passion for Poetry

Viewers will learn a variety of easy to use poetry formats teachers can take back and use with
their students.
Kate Bowen … Using Picture Books to Spark Historical Inquiry and Empathy
This session will discuss historical inquiry in the classroom, offer quick-inquiry suggestions to
use with students, discuss picture books you can use in the elementary and middle school
classroom to support student inquiry and empathy, and provide examples of primary sources
to pair with picture books. Possible topics include titles by California authors, FAIR Act, Voting
Rights, Civil Rights, Indigenous Voices, AAPI, Environment, Women’s History, Labor, and Social

Videos will appear in the
conference program where
attendees will have access to
workshop links that they may
watch at their leisure for a
period of time after the
conference ends.
Visit the CRA
website at:
Contact the CRA
office at:
California Reading
485 Camino De Los Mares
Suite H150/476
San Clemente, CA 92673
Phone: 949-547-6664
Fax: 949-481-8163

If you plan to attend the conference or know someone who will, mark your calendar and spread the word. This year is whizzing by and we’ll be in California (virtually) before you know it!

New acceptance, new invitation

Hi everyone,

Yesterday LAURA ROBB, MARY JO FRESCH, TIM RASINSKI, and I got word that our 3,700-word article –“The Art and Science of Teaching Reading” — has been accepted as an Op Ed column for the fall issue of California Reader. We’re delighted. Editors of education journals send out submissions to experts in the field to review. The editor of California Reader shared with us five comments about our article and they are all complimentary. Here’s one of them.Absolutely excellent discussion of the limitations of SOR (Science of Reading) and the practical applications of the ART.  We need this!!!!  Reading Specialists and Classroom Teachers alike will benefit from this easy to comprehend and apply article.  Thank you!!!

Laura Robb
Mary Jo Fresch
Tim Rasinski

On another matter, we also received an official invitation to submit a pre-recorded, 30-minute video for the 2022 Virtual CRA Literacy Conference, Connected With Literacy. “The virtual format provides us this exciting opportunity to reach out to literacy colleagues who might be willing to present 1-2 powerful literacy strategies in a short pre-recorded session. Accepted videos will be available for registrants on demand from the opening of the conference on October 21st through December 31, 2022.” We made a video for the California conference last year so we’re happy to be invited again.

And on a personal matter, I want to thank you for all your sweet birthday wishes to SANDY yesterday. I know she’ll be posting a lot of thank-you notes, too, but I have this handy format available to me so I’m taking advantage of it. THANK YOU!!


Time to sell a few books

Hi everyone,

With thanks to the folks at Scholastic, LISA NADEL in particular, I’m posting one of several promotional pieces created to make more teachers and tutors aware of the pair of books that have been published this year. I know you’ve seen the covers already, but I hope you won’t mind the repetition and will consider sharing this post with anyone you know who might be interested in introducing the books where they work. Our dear friend SU HUTCHENS sent a video yesterday of her Colorado students reading some of the partner poems and also called from her classroom to say how much the kids were enjoying the book. You know I loved that!

As I’ve said many times, I am blessed to be working with two outstanding authorities in the field of early literacy. Decorated professors, widely recognized lecturers, authors of numerous articles and books in their fields of specific studies — TIM RASINSKI and MARY JO FRESCH take the poems I wrote for these books and turn them into word ladders and activities that will enhance and stimulate learning in any classroom in America.


Partner Poems and Word Ladders for Building Foundational Literacy Skills

Hi everyone,

I’d like to talk a little about the two books with Scholastic that have recently reached the market. I’ve mentioned before that I wrote the poems, TIM RASINSKI wrote the word ladders, and MARY JO FRESCH created activities to further reinforce each lesson. One volume is for students in Kindergarten through 2nd grade. The other is meant for slightly more advanced kids in grades 1-3. Together, both books provide 50 poems, word ladders, and lessons. All the poems are for two or more voices.

We’ve each made videos about the intention and process for making these books. As I’ve said many times before, it was both a pleasure and a privilege to work with Tim and Mary Jo on the project. I went first because my colleagues needed the poems before they could add their own work. In the beginning, they provided me with a list of phonograms, basic word sounds such as ab, ed, ip, ot, ug, and unk. My job was to take each of these sounds and write a partner poem for young children. I began each time by making a list of words that included my target sound, such as ak.

Once I had a list of words with the same sounds, I had to find a poem somewhere in the list for at least two children to take turns reading together. In this case my list ran 29 words: back, hack, Jack, crack, snack, whack, and so on. The poem that emerged, which is shown on the cover of the book, goes like this.

1st Voice						2nd Voice

See my yak?
							That’s no yak.
I named him Jack.
							Jack’s no yak.
I love my Yak.
							Jack’s no yak.
							He has feathers
							on his back.
							Jack’s no yak. 
Good old Jack.
I love my yak.
							Jack has feathers
							on his back.
							He waddles with
							a quack, quack.
							Jack’s no yak.
Pretty feathers,
pretty back,
pretty waddle,
pretty yak!
							A yak is gray
							or brown or black.
							He has no feathers
							down his back.
							He doesn’t waddle,
							doesn’t quack.
							Jack’s no yak!
Jack’s no yak?
							No such luck.
Well then.
I love my Jack,
the duck.

(c) 2022 David L. Harrison, Scholastic Books, Partner Poems, Grades K-2

I should point out that although these books were written with the classroom teacher in mind, they can easily work for home schooling parents and kids will like the poems just for the fun of them. It’s like getting a book of twenty-five poems to play with and read with a parent or friend.