A good Monday

Hi everyone,

Yesterday I received excellent help from Brett Piper at KOLR10-TV and my son Jeff Harrison. Brett took the two videos I made and placed them into the station’s Tell Me A Story program. You can now see five of my books read by station on-air Talent plus my two videos, and more book readings are to come. To see them, go to KOLR10-TV at https://www.ozarksfirst.com/community-2/, along the top of the page find “Living Ozarks,” click on it, scroll down to “Tell Me A Story,” click on that, and you’ll find the whole menu.

Thanks to Jeff, the videos are now available (until June 30) on YouTube by request from teachers and librarians. If anyone else is interested in having them the publishers ask that they go through a teacher or librarian. To get one of both videos, get in touch with me at DavidlHarrison1@att.net and provide your email address so I can share them with you.

In other news, Tim Rasinski tweeted the hand-washing ditty I wrote at his request and included the charming video made by Joan Arth reciting it with her great-nephew. Right away Mary Jo Fresch retweeted it. I did too and others have started. I hope you’ll join the fun. Tim’s tweet is at https://twitter.com/TimRasinski1/status/1244695652375896064?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Etweet Some of you know Joanie Arth from all her years in assisting at the Children’s Literature Festival in Warrensburg, Missouri. when my 2018 book, CRAWLY SCHOOL FOR BUGS, was chosen to represent Missouri at the National Book Fair in Washington, DC, Joanie and her hubby Doug went to Washington to run the Missouri booth.

Yesterday my issue of “Literacy Today” arrived from ILA and I was delighted to see the Guilford Press full page ad, which includes two books, BEST PRACTICES OF LITERACY LEADERS 2ND EDITION and CHILDREN’S LITERATURE IN THE READING PROGRAM 5th edition. I wrote the poetry chapter in the second title, which was edited by Deborah A. Wooten and Lauren Almonette Liang.

All in all it was a great start on the new week. Today I’ll work on the second poem in a new collaboration, so bring it on.

Blog tour #5 and ILA news

Hi everyone,

Today I’m grateful to Linda Baie for hosting the 5th stop on the blog tour to introduce AFTER DARK at TEACHER DANCE https://www.teacherdance.org/.
I’m grateful to all who are visiting the tour each day and especially those kind souls who are hosting. I’m loving every stop along the way!

Elsewhere, I’m happy to report the institute that Mary Jo Fresch proposed for ILA in October has been accepted. This year’s conference will be held in Columbus, Ohio and I’m looking forward to participating in the all-day event. Here are the title and lineup of presenters. Thank you, Mary Jo!

Best practices in literacy instruction: A day with experts who will transform your teaching

Mary Jo Fresch
The Ohio State University
Dublin, OH
Ruth Culham
The Culham Writing Company
Beaverton, OR
Michael Ford
University of Wisconsin
Oshkosh, WI
David L. Harrison
Drury University
Springfield, MO
Lester Laminack
Western Carolina University
Dillsboro, NC
Lori Oczkus
Indpendent Literacy Consultant and Coach
Reno, NV
Gay Su Pinnell
The Ohio State University
Dublin, OH
Timothy Rasinski
Kent State University
Kent, OH
Laura Robb
Johnson Williams Middle School
Berryville, VA
Jerry Zutell
The Ohio State University
Grove City, OH

If you have plans to attend ILA this year or know of someone who might, I hope you’ll consider signing up for our institute and/or sharing the information with others!

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!


Hi everyone,
My book with Tim Rasinski— Rhymes for the Times: Literacy Strategies through Social Studies — is off to a turtle-esque start and I need to pay more attention to marketing. I worked hard on the book and it turned out well, he mentioned modestly. The project began as three books, one each for 4th, 5th, and 6th grades and I agreed to write twenty poems for each book around a core social studies subject. For 4th, the states; for 5th, American history; and for 6th, ancient civilization.

At some point an editorial decision was made to combine all the material into one book. What I like about the format is that so many classroom activities are designed to put my poems to use. A partial list includes reader’s theater, word ladders, rhyming riddles, Greek and Latin roots, connections through writing, and poetic form. The book is full of such strategies that teachers can put to immediate use with their students. I don’t know if I’ve ever posted a poem from the book. This one is from ancient civilizations.

Imperial Rome
2,100 years ago

Caesar himself,
so it was said,
hated the ruckus —

chariots rattling stony streets,
dogs yapping, screaming boys,
vendors shouting, crowded shops,
roaring hubbub, thrumming noise —

Caesar might have said —

pounding hoof beats, beggars’ cries,
bleating animals, shrieks, squeals,
cracking whips, roaring crowds,
warlike groaning iron wheels —

“I cannot think!”

All was jangle, throb, and clamor,
Clatter, chatter, clang, and clop.
Caesar must have held his head
and longed to make the noises stop.

The biggest city on the earth,
a million people called it home.
“It’s noisy here,” said Caesar.
It was Rome!

I hope to see more schools discover this resource in the coming months. Until they do, I’ll try to spread the word!

Greetings to a new friend

Hi everyone,

Timing is everything. We went out with friends last night. When we got home, I found a package on the porch with two copies of my new book with Tim Rasinski, RHYMES FOR THE TIMES. It was an out with the old in with the new sort of day. I will always miss the three titles that just went out of print but it helps to be holding this new one, especially now.

This is an educational book but the sixty poems in it would make three stand alone trade books, one each on the states, American history, and ancient civilization. Here’s a sample from American history. It’s a villanelle. ‘
American Indians

Our tribes were many, our nations strong.
From the great plains to the bountiful sea
We danced our dance, sang our song.

Mostly our people got along,
Lived their lives in harmony,
Our tribes were many, our nations strong.

Our customs were old, our patience long.
Throughout our ancient history
We danced our dance, sang our song.

We taught our children to belong,
To learn their part so they could see
Our tribes were many, our nations strong.

To kill more than we needed was wrong.
As our animal brothers roamed free,
We danced our dance, sang our song.

We didn’t know of the coming throng
Of men who wouldn’t let us be.
Our tribes were many, our nations strong.
We danced our dance, sang our song.