Friday, October 24, 2014

3 Leading Ways to Target Your Writing for Children--NOT!....and Poetry Friday!

Howdy, Campers!  Happy Poetry Friday!  Poem and link to Poetry Friday are below ~

Our topic this round is Do you try to appeal to reluctant readers, or any particular type of reader, when you write? 

Carmela's post addresses the topic of writing to reading levels thoroughly. She writes:"If you want your writing to appeal to boys and other reluctant readers, don't try to target this particular audience. That's right, DON'T target them. Instead, write what moves, excites, or interests YOU."

Mary Ann's post, agrees: "I write what I am passionate about. I write for my inner eleven-year-old. It's the best that I can do. It's all any of us can do."

As for me?

I titled this 3 Leading Ways to Target Your Writing for Children--NOT!  because I agree with Carmela and Mary Ann's conclusions.  Essentially, write with passion and you'll hit a bullseye.

Here are three thoughts hopefully slightly related to this topic:

1) I am a reluctant reader.  Always have been. Once I dive into a book, I'm swimming, but getting to the edge of the pool, dipping my toe in? Terrifying.  Every book.  Every time.

2) Many years ago, former bookseller, and book reviewer Janet Zarem was hired by my son's elementary school to talk to parents about reading.  She began by passing out a paragraph in and asking us what it said.  Okay, so let's try it.  I'd like you to read this paragraph and tell me what it says.  You have two minutes:

*see bottom of this post for attribution*

When we saw the paragraph, we were scared'r than a long-tail cat in a room full of rockin' chairs.**

Isn't that a powerful way to show someone the world from a new or challenged or reluctant reader's point of view?

3) That's how scared many of us feel about learning anything new.

For example, UCLA Extension's Writers' Program is in the process of changing how its instructors post course materials for our students.  We are moving from a platform called Blackboard to one called Canvas.

When I saw the first email about this, I rolled into a little ball.  I felt as outdated and useless as a screen door on a submarine.***

I see now that I went through the five stages of loss and grief, finally arriving at acceptance: Wow--it's done, it didn't take long, and I am truly invincible.
Tah-dah--I did it!
by April Halprin Wayland


Who are you talking to?

You’ll have to leave a message—
I think I have the flu.

It’s too bad that you saw me
I stick with tried and true.

If you want revolution,
I’ll leave it up to you.


You found me up this tree?

Just cut that sheet in two?
And paste it here with glue?
That’s all we have to do?

I’m standing on my head, now:
I see your point of view.

poem and drawing (c) April Halprin Wayland 2014

Don't forget to enter our latest book giveaway for a chance to win a copy of the 2015 Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market (in which our very own Carmela Martino has an article!). See Carmela's post for all the details.

Update!  We have another copy to give this giveaway ends on November 28--you still have time to enter!

Poetry Friday is at Merely Day By Day ~ Thanks, Cathy!

poem & drawing (c) April Halprin Wayland 2014

posted by April Halprin Wayland, who thanks you in Greek for reading all the way to here.



LInda Baie said...

Good advice. I've shared a similar paragraph with parents about their children just learning to read, & the challenges they face. Many think new is easy, but new tech comes to mind too. It is like 'standing on your head', but can be done.

Esther Hershenhorn said...

i HEART this poem, April!
It has my name written all over it. :)
I was so proud of myself yesterday when I - finally - loaded $$$ to my CTA Card using the Alien Credit Card Machine that lives in the Chicago Avenue Subway station.

Bridget Magee said...

I'm right there with you, April. The more white space the more comfortable I am - both as a reader and as a writer/poet. Love your poem. =)

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks for the great post and poem, April. And Esther "Alien Credit Card Machine" made me laugh out loud. :-)

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

That's quite an effective exercise, April!

When I see how fearless my children are at trying new things, part of me is inspired, but the other part has already gone to hide under the bed!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Linda ~ I was wondering of other teachers have used this idea before. It blew my mind.

Esther ~ When I come to Chicago, you can teach me how to load my card. Or better yet, You can load it for me and I'll keep my lazy brain lazy!

Bridget ~ It's scary to admit that as a writer I have problems reading. And VERY freeing to read that you're there, too. Whew!

Carmela, I loved Esther's Alien Credit Card Machine, too. Definitely material for a poem.

Michelle ~ Teaching scares me, too! SO MUCH of life scares me...and yet people see me as fearless. Funny how our outsides don't match our fetal position insides!

Cathy said...

As a teacher, I've never been in love with the word reluctant; I just see people in different parts of their journey. I think this is wise advice, "Instead, write what moves, excites, or interests YOU."

Your post gave me much to consider, as did you poem. I loved its shape, message, and rhythm.

Cathy said...

That's great advice and what a cute poem. I was up that tree when I was building my website ;)

Bobbi Miller said...

I love this wisdom from Carmela, "Instead, write what moves, excites, or interests YOU." Thank you, April!

Ruth said...

You are so right -- new is scary! It's a great reminder for teachers to have, often.

Linda said...

April, I've used this paragraph for teacher workshops. It really does get the point across. I also love the advice to write(and read) what interests you. Love your poem!

jan godown annino said...

Dear April,

Thank you for creating & for sharing "Relucant".
You didn't know it but you wrote about me.
I just laughed & laughed when I saw myself up that tree.
And wowza! earlier in the post about trying to understand the Greek text of Homer's Odyssey.
May I use this idea sometime, if I attribute you/TA?
It helps us see through others' eyes.

Halloween Happiness to all the TA writers & readers.

j a n

April Halprin Wayland said...

Cathy ~ Thanks for your thoughtful comments about the idea of a reluctant reader.

Catherine ~ ...I'm still up that tree about a LOT of things!

Bobbi ~ Sometimes I don't have the luxury to write what what moves or excites me...but when I do, I feel blessed.

Ruth ~ Yes! We teachers need to remember how scary the first day of a new course can be...

Linda ~ thanks for your comments and for stopping by!

Jan ~ PLEASE! Use our ideas! That's what we're here for! We all trick or treat at each other's houses and find the goodies that work best in our classrooms--right?