Google Hangout Tuesday night

Hi everyone,

The other day I told you about the upcoming Google Hangout with Ruth Culham and four panelist authors. This is a reminder that the event is coming up next week on Tuesday night. We’ll have a rehearsal Monday night and then stand by for fun the following evening.

I hope you’ll hang out with us and tell anyone you know who might be interested to come too. It’s free and I like the topic of using mentor texts.

It’ll stream live on the IRA YouTube channel. The link is: When we’re finished it will be saved on the IRA YouTube page so people who couldn’t join us live will be able to watch it at their convenience.


Getting set for IRA

David giving brief remarks

Hi everyone,

I’m trying to decide which poems to read at the Poetry Olio this Saturday night at the IRA conference in New Orleans. There are eight or ten featured poets and the program lasts from 7:30 – 9:30 so I’ll probably have time to read six to ten poems. I’ll take more than I think I need but choosing which ones is always hard. If anyone has a favorite of mine, let me know so I can add it to the list of candidates.



IRA is next month!

Hi everyone,

International Reading Association will be here before we know it and I look forward to meeting friends old and new in San Antonio. For those of you who will attend the conference, I’m posting my signing schedule and hoping that you’ll come by to say hello.

2013 IRA schedule
San Antonio, Texas

Saturday, April 20

10:30-11:30 Sign at Highlights booth, #1730

11:30-12:30 Sign at Phoenix Learning, #1514

1:00 – 2:00 Exhibitor Session Presentation; EX12, Room 214A, capacity: 200
Mary Jo Fresch and David Harrison
Use Poetry to Connect Language Learning with Early Childhood Content Areas; Category: Early Childhood/Head Start

2:00 – 3:00 Sign at Shell/TCM, #2513

3:00 – 4:00 Sign at Boyds Mills Press, #1726

4:00 – 5:00 Sign at Overlooked Books

Sunday, April 21

9:00-10:00 Sign at Phoenix Learning, #1514

10:00-11:00 Sign at Highlights booth, #1730

11:00-12:00 Sign at Overlooked Books

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.

Engage, the new IRA blog

Hi everyone,

International Reading Association has established a new blog, ENGAGE, that is sustained by a group of people who have been invited to contribute to it. My first contribution, which is about Word of the Month Poetry Challenge, appeared May 10. You have to be a member of IRA to access the site but I recommend it to you if you are a member or decide to become one.

Current membership of IRA is over 70,000 worldwide and includes teachers, administrators, reading coaches, librarians, authors, and many others who are interested in researching, teaching, or writing in the field of children’s literacy. More than 9,000 attended the annual conference in Orlando. In my audience were teachers from thirty states, Netherlands, Trinidad, Canada, and Columbia.

I consider my dues to organizations like IRA to be part of my responsibilities as a writer. Those who write for children are involved in partnerships with those who raise them, nuture them, and teach them. Part of what I’ll talk about during my poetry workshop next month in Honesdale, Pennsylvania is what children’s writers need to understand about these partnerships and take our places in them.

The link will take you to the place where you have to belong to IRA to go further. Click on Teacher to Teacher under the Blog button. Either way, I wanted to provide the first step.

My heart goes out to everyone who is reeling from the storms and flooding that are doing such awful things to so many people. We have ten straight days of rain in our local forecast and no doubt this means more trouble for those who live downstream from rivers already above flood stage.

For those who have not yet written a poem this month, the word PROMISE seems especially appropriate for the times.