Thursday, November 19, 2015

A Child Learns To Read

I like the shoes.
I like the coat.
I like the socks.
I like the shirt.
I like the pants.

I teach preschool; I have a class of 14 students ranging in from 'just turned 4' to 'just turned 5'. Yesterday, a little girl that I sat down with learned to write the word "the" and put it into five blank spaces on the paper. Before we wrote it I told her, "This is one of the most common words in the English language. That means, when you read a book you will see this word more than any other word." I couldn't tell what she thought of that so we worked on writing the word.

At the end of each sentence, on the paper, was a picture of the item being talked about. Once she wrote "the" in the first sentence and heard me (and saw me point to each word and read it) she saw the pattern and read through all of them. At the end I was so happy, my heart was bursting. I gave her a high five and said, "You now just read your first sentence. This is the biggest step in learning to read a book." The look on her face, the wide eyes, the proud smile is THE reason I love teaching. It clicked, the words make up a sentence and describe something. When I told her to put it in her bag and read to her mom and new baby brother, she was so excited.

I then pulled a little boy in and had him do the same thing, except he kept saying the word "love" for "like". So, we did a quick lesson on how the two words are spelled differently. He cocked his head, looked at the words and went "Hmm" and the wheels were turning. You could see he was looking at the difference, how two letters can change the meaning and sound of the word. He finally understood we were reading the word "like" and breezed through the sentences.

Earlier that day, two students who reflexively answer "I can't", when asked to write their names, did. Granted if you didn't know their names and looked at the paper, you'd see letters that weren't in a line and were backwards but it was their name. And I almost cried, I was so proud. High fives, huge smiles and me practically yelling in excitement about how happy I was for them made for a fantastic day in preschool.

We do so much writing and reading and looking at words, making up rhyming words. I love reading and try to instill it in the children as well. I even have the children bring in their favorite books and we read them to the class. Even if it's a Power Rangers book I didn't like, I couldn't follow, it's that child's favorite book and we read it together.

I can't wait to see what the next few months bring with these kids. They are just sponges wanting to learn so much but they don't know yet what they want to learn...and I'm honored to show them what they need and want.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

IWSG: My First Real Live, Professional Editing Experience

An Insecure Writers Support Group Post about the insecurities of writing, or in this case, editing!

About a month ago I reached out to three editors for my story, Lane Changes. One didn't write me back, another wasn't personable at all and the third was polite, warm and did the first few pages for free to get an idea of what she was working with.

I went with her, Mickey Reed.

I was scared when I first sent the 75k book to her, but she quickly put me at ease. Now, I am working my way through the edits--a bit overwhelmed but am taking it one step at a time--and I also have a beta reader involved.

She charged me the going rate, read in the time frame she promised, gave me specific and general feedback about the story, content, timeline etc. She even looked over notes I received from a publisher over the summer and worked those into her comments as well. She responded to my questions and made it seem as if I was the only story she was reading at the time.

It is slowly coming together and I HOPE I can get this book out in early 2016. I guess the next step is marketing, which I am not strong at so any advice would be appreciated!

Thanks for listening and supporting and thanks to Mickey for being a wonderful editor!