On the eve of a new beginning

Hi everyone,

As I approach the end of my latest collaboration with Mary Jo Fresch and look forward to collaborating on a new book for teachers with Laura Robb, I have several feelings. First, I’m excited. In a few days I’ll embark on a new adventure that will call for me to write enough new poems and short prose texts to fill my part of the book. Subject matter will vary widely so each subject will need to be researched. Getting ready to write something like this usually takes more time than it does to write it. Mary Jo and I recently wrote a book on that subject, 7 KEYS TO RESEARCH FOR WRITING SUCCESS.

Another feeling is the old question, can I do it again? As we move into the next book, will my writing please my partner? I’ve learned quite a bit over the years about the subjects of these education books, but my background is in science and most of my books are trade books. Will I be good enough to contribute my fair share for another collaboration with an expert in the field? Will the teachers who eventually read what I’ve written be pleased? Excited? Informed? Maybe even impressed? Only time will tell, months and months of it.

A third emotion is gratitude. I’m lucky and know it. My writing partners on these professional development books have all been outstanding educators, well known for their brilliant research, scholarly publications, teaching, and presentations. To get to work with such wonderful people is a privilege, one that I treasure. So let the good times roll!

1999 Easy Poetry Lessons that Dazzle and Delight (with Bernice Cullinan)
2003 Using the Power of Poetry (with Kathy Holderith)
2009 Partner Poems for Building Fluency (with Tim Rasinski and GayFawcett)
2013 Let’s Write This Week with David Harrison (DVD series; guide book with Lauren Edmondson)
2013 Learning through Poetry: Short Vowels (with Mary Jo Fresch)
2013 Learning through Poetry: Long Vowels (with Mary Jo Fresch)
2013 Learning through Poetry: Consonants (with Mary Jo Fresch)
2013 Learning through Poetry: Consonants and Blends (with Mary Jo Fresch)
2013 Learning through Poetry: Rimes (with Mary Jo Fresch)
2016 Social Studies Literacy; Grades 4-6 (with Timothy V. Rasinski)
2017 7 Keys to Research for Writing Success, Grades 3-5 (with Mary Jo Fresch)
In process
Empowering Student’s Knowledge of Vocabulary: Learning How Language Works (with Mary Jo Fresch)
Untitled (with Laura Robb)
2009 “Yes, Poetry Can,” the poetry chapter for Children’s Literature in the Reading Program (3rd Edition, edited by Deborah Wooten and Bernice Cullinan; International Reading Association.
2015 “Poetry, the Write Thing to Do,” the poetry chapter for Children’s Literature in the Reading Program (4th Edition, edited by Deborah Wooten; International Reading Association.
2018 “Poetry, the Write Thing to Do,” the poetry chapter for Children’s Literature in the Reading Program (5th Edition, edited by Deborah Wooten; Guilford Press.
1994 No More Boring Poems; Instructor Magazine
1994 What I’ve Learned So Far; Journal of Reading
1995 One Good Idea Leads to Another; Show-Me Libraries
2005 Retracing Memories: Writing Memoir Poems; Teaching Pre-K-8, April
2005 The Letterman Factor, A Matter of Meter; The California Reader
2006 The Game of Poetry; Florida Reading Journal
2007 The Relationship Between Authors and Young Readers; Dragon Lode
2008 Too Big for Hugs and Kisses; GRAND, The Magazine for Grandparents
2009 Reading to Our Children; Gannett, News-Leader
2009 Promoting Literacy: It’s Everybody’s Job; Alpha Chi Recorder
2014 Q & A Reflections; Post Road Magazine; Boston College
2017 Before They Write: Topic, Presearch, and Research (with Mary Jo Fresch); Missouri Reader
2017 Why Poetry?; Laura Robb blog
2018 The Poet and the Poem; SCBWI Bulletin
2019 The Game Changer; Missouri Reader

Got more stuff to do

Hi everyone,

Yesterday I had a manuscript turned down by an editor who called me a “lovely writer.” An hour later I got a nod from a different editor (on a different proposal) saying things look promising on that one. The new book is for teachers and I’m co-writing it with Laura Robb. My part is to provide reading texts including poetry and prose. We don’t have the green light yet but I take it as a good sign when the reviewers loved it and the editor calls it “a fabulous book.”

Also yesterday Mary Jo Fresch and I moved another step closer to completing the book we’ve been working on over these past several months. We’re waiting for input from more than a dozen classroom teachers and will plug those in as they arrive. We’re not there yet but it won’t be too much longer now.

Thanks to everyone who supported our family yesterday as we paused to remember my sister. I appreciated all your notes very much.

A call for teachers to help with our book

Hi everyone,

Now that Mary Jo Fresch and I are fully engaged in writing our new book, it’s time to identify some teachers who would like to participate by trying some specific activities with their students based on the book and sharing the results with us for potential publication. This time we’re writing about vocabulary development for students in grades 3-5.

Here’s how Mary Jo expressed it in a note to some of her teacher friends. “Hi! Thanks for considering helping out….we need field testing of the lessons and student samples. Any student samples you can provide (along with parental approval) could be included in the book. You and your students will be acknowledged in the book. We are thinking we will have something by end of March to send to you… If there are any other teachers in your building (or district) that you think would be interested, just let me know. You can invite them…copy me…or I can email them – whatever you think is best.”

I know already that Ken Slesarik in Arizona and Susan Hutchens in Colorado are on board. Please help me add to the list by letting me know of your interest and/or telling other teachers about the opportunity.

Missouri Reader on poetry

Hi everyone,

There is more to this issue of Missouri Reader but a large section of it is dedicated to poetry. My thanks again to Sam Bommarito and Glenda Nugent for all their work to create this special issue of the Missouri IRA journal.

To see the entire issue, click on this link. https://joom.ag/o1ta To turn pages, hit the arrows at either margin. To increase font size, roll the top of your mouse forward or backward. To move around the page, move your mouse where you want to be. In the poetry section you’ll find beautiful articles by Mary Jo Fresch, Tim Rasinski, Eric Litwin, Melissa Cheesman Smith, William Kerns, Betty Porter Walls, and Molly Ness. My article also highlights our friend Susan Hutchens, April Halpin Wayland, and Missouri poets Constance Levy and Peggy Archer. Together it’s a joyful tour of how poetry enriches the learning experience of students and it provides numerous ways for teachers to make it all happen.

I hope you will give this issue a read and share it with as many people as you can. It is highly unusual to dedicate so much of an entire journal to the subject of poetry. Sam and Glenda have done their part so now I’d like to see the link shared as widely as possible. I haven’t asked if the editors would allow articles from this issue to be reprinted in other reading journal across the country, but I feel confident they would be happy to discuss that possibility as well as other ways of getting out the word!

On my first day of goo foffiing . . .

Hi everyone,

Mary Jo Fresch and I have just reached agreement with our publisher on the contract for a new education book to help students increase their vocabulary and understanding of our language. The picture, by the way, was taken of us in a sound booth in California the year Shell published our five-book series, LEARNING THROUGH POETRY.

The new book is to run 150-250 pages and will have lots of room for student samples provided by teachers who would like to be part of the project. We appreciate Ken Slesarik’s quick note to volunteer with his students and we will now be looking for others who would like to help. As we reach a point where we can issue clear messages about what activities we’ll need we will communicate directly with participating teachers to provide the details, but it isn’t too early to get your name on our list.

As for my role, I’ll write all the poems in the book, which will run into many dozens. As I think of it, Poet Heaven. Off we go. Yay!