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

Excited about two new projects

David publicity photo

Hi, everyone,

Thanks for your comments about the poems from the upcoming series, LEARNING THROUGH POETRY. They were a pleasure to write and I loved working with Mary Jo Fresch.
The other series I’ve been mentioning, LET’S WRITE THIS WEEK WITH DAVID HARRISON, is due from the printers today so I hope to see a kit next week. To do the DVDs I was in a production studio speaking from scripts that I wrote for twenty 5-minute presentations about writing. The categories are divided into five sections: getting started, poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and revising. Each section includes four tips. Teachers can bring up tips that fit the unit they are currently teaching and the DVD segment can be used to set up the week’s work or simply supplement that day’s lesson plan.
Laurie Edmondson

The teacher guide for the series includes a page on each tip addressed to the teacher to further explain and expand the idea. Laurie Edmondson (another delightful partner!) explains what research says and how the lesson ties into the Common Core State Standards. She also provides classroom activities and something to send home to encourage parents to support their student’s efforts. Accompanying the teacher’s guide is a student writing journal that provides plenty of space for students to follow up on each tip. Here’s the poetry section from the Table of Contents. Each section is arranged in the same sequence.

Chapter Two – Poetry
Why Study Poetry?
What Does the Research Say?
What Common Core State Standards Correlate with This Topic?
Example: Farmer’s Dog Goes to the Forest
Writing Tip 1: What is Poetry?
Student Activities
Links to Writing Journal
Home Connection Activities
Writing Tip 2: Not All Poems are Alike
Student Activities
Links to Writing Journal
Home Connection Activities
Writing Tip 3: Partner Poems
Student Activities
Links to Writing Journal
Home Connection Activities
Writing Tip 4: Pick a Theme
Student Activities
Links to Writing Journal
Home Connection Activities

Both of these projects will be introduced at IRA in San Antonio and I look forward to being there to meet, explain, and sign copies. LEARNING THROUGH POETRY is published by Shell Education and co-branded by International Reading Association. LET’S WRITE THIS WEEK WITH DAVID HARRISON is published by Phoenix Learning Resources.


California sunset


Hi everyone,

Here’s a picture of sunset from Newport Beach near Huntington Beach where we visited Shell Education/TCM headquarters and also near the studio where we made the recordings. Mighty pretty country they have out there!

By this Friday, LEARNING THROUGH POETRY, the 5-book series co-authored by Mary Jo Fresch for Shell Education, will go to the printers. LET’S WRITE THIS WEEK WITH DAVID HARRISON (with a teacher guide and student journal co-authored by Laurie Edmondson) for Phoenix Learning, went to the printers last week. The poem I wrote for this year’s Highlights poster is being illustrated as we speak and the new picture book for Holiday House, A PERFECT HOME FOR A FAMILY, is now available through Needless to say, I’m looking forward to IRA this year.

Today I hope to finish an article for Post Road, a contemporary literature magazine affiliated with Boston College. I’m working there with Daniel Cattolica. His sister, Sara Johnson, is editorial director for Shell Education. Talented family!


An update

Hi everyone,

Today I think Laurie Edmondson, my co-author of the Teachers’ Guide book for my DVD series, LET’S WRITE THIS WEEK WITH DAVID HARRISON, will complete her part of the last chapter. I’ve finished my part so all that’s left are the reading and reference lists. The Student Writing Journals are almost completed too and the DVDs are ready to go so we’re on schedule for a late summer release.

As for the set of five books I’m doing with Mary Jo Fresch, I’ve written 94 poems and have 2 left to do. Whew! Mary Jo is busy working on her part but we’re well on schedule for the series, which should come out next spring or early summer.

I leave for Dallas Friday morning to shop for our gift store at the market there and return home Monday night. After that I’ll finally get back to a nonfiction manuscript that went on the shelf months ago while I attended to these other projects. I’m eager to finish that manuscript before I tackle another round of poetry in a series of books with Tim Rasinski. That one will take me through much of the rest of this year although I hope to start another trade book of poems before we ring in 2013.

I’m listening to a light summer shower and am reminded that I haven’t posted my summer poem yet. Must do that before long!



Hi everyone,

One of the highlights of my experiences at IRA was the chance to introduce my new DVD series called LET’S WRITE THIS WEEK WITH DAVID HARRISON. My co-author of the teacher’s guide and student journal, Laurie Edmondson, was also there to join the celebration. Now that the program is officially introduced, here is a fuller description than I’ve posted before. Let me know what you think!


When I visit classrooms I like to give students tips on how they can enjoy their own writing more and improve the results of their efforts. Over the years I’ve developed a number of these tips, all of which are based on methods that real writers really use. I’ve used the same techniques myself so I know they work. Some are tricks of the trade, some are common sense advice, but student writers benefit from all of them.

When I became Drury University’s Poet Laureate, I began to consider worthwhile projects I could do that would fit my responsibilities. I decided to create video vignettes of me doing what I’ve been doing for more than 40 years when I visit classrooms. I began by making a list of five broad categories – how to get started, poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and how to rewrite. Under each of those headings I taped four presentations. For example, under Getting Started I talk about 1) finding ideas through association, 2) beginning with a single word, 3) the power of observation, and 4) reading to discover things to write about.

I kept each episode brief (five minutes) so that busy teachers can display me on a Whiteboard while I present to their students the tip for the week and then follow up with reinforcing activities. The episodes are not sequential so a teacher can choose any topic that fits the current unit being taught.

I’m finishing an accompanying Teacher’s Guide with Dr. Laurie Edmondson, Interim Director for Drury’s School of Education and Child Development. Each of the 20 Writing Tips featured in the DVDs is expanded for the teacher in the guide book. Laurie is providing classroom activities that teachers can use to complete the lesson. We also present what research says about each category, a home connection to help gain family support, and how each lesson ties into the Common Core State Standards.

In addition to the 20 video sessions and the Teacher’s Guide, the kit includes a set of 20 Student Writing Journals and three of my trade books – one each of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction – that we use as examples to help students see exactly what I’m talking about on the videos. What began in my mind two years ago as a set of taped writing tips for students has evolved into this hands-on, interactive, creative writing program that can bring me into classrooms anywhere. The full kit, which is designed for use in grades 3-5 (but could be used in later grades if desired) will be available by late summer or early fall and will be priced at $499. The publisher is Phoenix Learning Resources. Sales will be handled through Stourbridge Distributors. You can contact them at  .

Further, Laurie is going to teach an online course for graduate credit based on LET’S WRITE THIS WEEK WITH DAVID HARRISON. Those who are interested in signing up for the course or learning more about it can contact Laurie directly at