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Three Little Writers

Writing a story is like building a place to live.  You want it to be a good place to live.

The Three Little Writers-

The first writer wrote her story quickly and left many things out that would make the story stronger.  It needed to make sense to more people than herself.

The second writer took more time and the story was better but the spelling and grammar were not checked. The main character did not solve the problem.  It had help.  This did not help the story.

The third writer took an idea, worked on it for a long time; went from first draft to better, to better, to “I give up”, to even better.  It was now good enough for an editor’s eyes.  She also took the time to investigate the right place and time to show her story.  It needed to have the right presentation and maybe an “agent”.

Now you might think that the editor is the big bad wolf, here.  Writers do think that at times, but really not.  The editor is the building inspector.  If the building meets all the specifications and it is attractive enough, it will find a home.

A home is where all little writers want to be.  They just have to work hard and build a good story.

mc

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What’s in a Reading Level?

Recently a six-year-old, I know, went to one of his favorite places–the school library.  This kindergartener loves books and has recently made the jump from picture books to chapter books.  The reading world was opening up for him and he and his family were excited about his achievement.

Unfortunately the librarian told him he could not check out anything except the books on the special Kindergarten cart.  With some disappoint he did choose something and took it home that night.

When he pulled out the book, his mom, a teacher, was very surprised that the book was a simple board book.  Then the boy told her what had happened.

It is sad to say but some schools or school districts have rules that limit what books a child can or cannot choose.  The rules, while undoubtedly well-meaning, are limiting some young readers.  On the other end of the spectrum, there are also rules (in some schools) that forbid third graders and up to read picture books.

Whether designed to prevent the new reader from “biting off more than they can chew” or pushing struggling readers to elevate their reading level, the rules leave out the exceptions.  The excellent kindergarten reader is told, that’s above you and the third grader who needs help reading is told, that picture book is below you.  Really, who is to say?

I was that lowest-reading-group reader, in third grade.  I had eyes that did not focus well and so it was hard for me to read quickly.  That was only discovered after I was already labelled a poor reader and sent to the school basement with others who had “disabilities.”  As a very good math student, I was upset.  As the student who loved history, I became worried.  For the reader in me, sent out of the room for special reading class, I was embarrassed.

Turns out…I was really okay.  Interestingly, I was allowed to read picture books or anything else I wanted to check out from the library, grade level or not.  My parents encouraged me to read and I loved pictures.  After a while I found the words were coming quicker and the pictures were not as important.  If I had not been allowed to checkout picture books, I would not have read very much and reading takes practice.

I especially liked funny books or tall tales or fairy tales or myths.  These books had adventure and great pictures.  Now, guess what I write.  Yep, funny books and tall tales; twisted fairytales and fantasy with myths.  (There are other things too but the ones I mentioned are what got me started.)

I hope that schools and parents will let the child have some choice in books.  Just because someone wants to read something at a higher level than is expected doesn’t mean they are fooling themselves or arrogant.  Perhaps they can, and that is a good thing.  Just because someone wants to see a picture book, doesn’t make them slow or “a baby” or childish.  I know plenty of adults who enjoy picture books.  And that’s a good thing.  Authors need readers, no matter the age.

Besides, that struggling reader just might turn into a writer.  I did.

mc

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Look’em in the Eye and Wish’em a Great Day

Howdy!

I recommend that greeting.  Some may think it is hokey or dumb.  Nope.  It is the friendliest “well-met” you can get.

I used to think it was too much like a cowboy.  Nope, again.  Anyone can wish someone a great day and saying, howdy, is just that.

At Texas A & M University it is standard.  When I went there it was emphasized that this university was a family.  So it was commented to greet your fellow Aggies.

Guess what, it works with everyone.

mc

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What? It’s Wednesday?

Here it is Wednesday and I’m doing marketing.  I’m off schedule.  I really like spilling my thoughts onto my blog.  It gets me thinking and writing.  That’s good.  But I try to do this stuff on just Tuesday and Thursday.  So why didn’t I do  all this good stuff yesterday?  My sweet husband bought a new car …and we were busy …and its so pretty.  You got it.

Okay, I’m off schedule, and am looking forward to getting back to imagining, mulling, typing, backspacing, teeth-gnashing, worrying, deep breathing, and hopefully smiling.  –In general, having a great day at work.

Yep–WRITING.

mc

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CTR

“I like this one.”

Those are the words that make me smile.  They are the words spoken from a child just as they pull a book from a library shelf.  The words say, the child has freedom of choice (and you know I love that).  But it also says that this books has a chance of bringing joy.

Okay, so something has sparked interest.  Either the cover (yep, get over it–books are judge, initially, by their cover), or the title, or a recommendation.

Cover:  As humans we love to look.  Most kids like vibrant colors and funky shapes.  A blue cat beats a brown one, every time, unless the brown one looks like an alien.

Title:  “An Officer in His Underwear,” will not grab anyone’s attention as much as, Captain Underpants.

Recommendation:  When someone you trust tells you, “This one is great,” or “I think you will like this one,” or “I loved it,” you know it is a sure thing.  Even kiddos appreciate a sure thing.

So I always try to have the trifecta work with my books.  CTR; Cover, Title, Recommendation = Read, Write, Laugh.

mc

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Freedom to Ask and Listen

If you want to know more about a person, ask them questions.  Then listen to the answers.  Sounds simple, right?  Well, these days we are so involved in our own thoughts and worries and rights and what-ifs that we often avoid the questions and insert our own answers.  Without the actual person’s answer, this is either wishful thinking or judging.  This is the way misunderstandings, arguments, bitterness, and down-right fights can start.

The best way to make connections, or know to avoid them, is to be open to asking and be objective to the answer.  After that it is a whole other step.  But don’t be afraid to question or afraid to answer.

Be brave.  Ask.  Be open.  Listen.  We have the freedom to do this, here, in the United States.  There are no answers without questions.  Embrace the freedom, and remember, if you are on the other end…Be brave.  Answer, honestly.  Be watchful; see what happens.

mc

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A Midsummer’s Thought

Howdy there, and wow,–July.  Well I’m settled again.  Last year we sold the third house in the same number of years.  Hopefully I won’t see cardboard boxes, wrapping paper, or packing tape for a long, long time.

The new house is home now.  We’ve been making the yard beautiful and decorating the inside, Chrismer-style.

My office is not quite there but the end is in sight.  It will have  sea shore looks, Texas style, and of course, books, books, books.  That’s my misdummer’s dream.

mc

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