Monday, July 29, 2013

Doing the Hop

Thank you for Hopping on to my blog and taking the time out to read my information.  Did you check out Tierney James blog? If not, her link is at the bottom of my Q and A.  She is the author of An Unlikely Hero.

What are you working on right now?

I am currently working on a childrens book Mom! There is a Troll in my Closet.  I know a lot of kids have trouble sleeping when they think there is something lurking in their room. The fear is real, but many times, what is in the closet is more scared of the kid in their room. This book tells both sides of the story and all ends well with a good night’s sleep. Now if I can figure out how to format it to submit to a publisher so they get the whole idea, that would be awesome.

What is the hardest part about writing?

For me the hardest part of writing is the building of characters.  I know how I want them to be, but then again, they are a part of me.  Sometimes I forget that the person reading about my characters would be confused as to why something is said or done, so I have to step back and do a re-write as if I am the reader and not the writer.

What scares you?

Other than the obvious things that scare me, like spiders and freaky bugs, the idea of actually making it as a writer, then having to live up to expectations that come with being a household name really scare me.  Oh, who am I kidding, of course that would be a cakewalk after being a middle school teacher.

Hop on to another great Missouri writer.

Friday, July 26, 2013

What cha' Reading?

A few sites one can visit to find out about a book are and I know there are many more sites, but these are my go to sites, since I look for books for young readers 11-13 age groups.

I mentioned in an earlier blog about the television, computer, instant gratification for kids, and one way that I have found to interest my students in a book, is by looking for book trailers.

Book trailers are much like movie trailers.  They are short introductions for books where they use movie like action to introduce the book.  I have attached an example. Oh, and this is a great idea for a student activity.  They read a book and then create a trailer to entice their classmates to read the book.

Borrowed cite from

I Read a Great Story

As a reading teacher, I get tongue tied when a parent asks me what books do you suggest for me to get my son/daughter to read.  The tongue tied part comes from my brain when it processes the bit of information that a child does not like to read.

It should not surprise me in today's world where instant gratification is there at the click of a button.  We are all guilty of playing games and having fun on the computer.  There is nothing wrong with it, that is just where our world is heading.  However, we have to try to find a happy medium. I saw a little bit of that compromise on a commercial for Kindle, where the parent puts a timer on and it shuts down the child's play after so long, then the next scene is showing the kid playing outside.  I do wish that the content on the Kindle was a book and not a game. But, that is just me.

Back to the question at hand.  What would I suggest for a child to read?  It all depends on what the child likes to begin with, and I would start there.  In class, I would survey the child about their interests with a reading survey.  If it is just a quick snap shot, or an in depth survey depends on the what the parent is asking for.  A quick inventory is what I would use first. 
  1. What do you like to do outside of school?
  2. What do you like to learn about?
  3. Where do you get the information for the things you like to learn about?
  4. What is your favorite school subject and why?
  5. What would you like to learn more about this school year?
  6. What do you want to be when you grow up?
  7. What kind of things do you like to read?
  8. If you were going to start a movie/tv club, what kind of movies/shows would your club watch?
  9. Where is your favorite place to read at home? At school?
    Complete these sentences:
  10. The best book I’ve read is _________________________________________.
  11. The best book someone read to me is __________________________________.
  12. When I hear the work reading I think of ________________________________.
  13. Tell me three words that describe what reading feels like.
__________________  _____________________  ____________________
  1. Please circle the topics below that sound interesting to you.
Animals                       Sports              Funny stories               Science            Fairy tales        Historical stories      People your age           Poetry              History            Math                Famous People            Mysteries      Health             Adventure Stories       Music              Fantasy            World Cultures           Scary Stories         Cooking          Art

This survey can be found in a variety of websites, and it is just a quick look at what the interests of the child are, so one can provide a few choices of books to give to the child.  A hint to those that may try this, do not give more than three choices at a time, to many choices make it a daunting task, especially to those that are reluctant to read.

An Encouraging Cup of Coffee

Have you ever seen one of those made for television movies that showcase a friendship built around coffee?  Me either.  But, if there was ever one made, it would have resembled my morning spent with Tierney James. 

When I went there, I knew that I had a hundred questions for my friend about her journey to becoming a writer, no scratch that, a successful writer.  Tierney has worked very hard at learning the ins and outs of writing, and hitching my star to her coattail almost seemed like cheating.  But, the ever gracious mentor that she has become to me over the last decade didn't even bat an eye at helping me get started.

She is so encouraging and loving in a way that you don't even know that you are inspired until you are walking away from a visit with her, with a daunting list of things to do just to get your feet wet in the world of writing...and still want to try.

My many thanks to my friend Tierney.  Even if my star does not soar, it will go on a great ride if I keep it attached to her.