There were 42 kids in my first grade class and half of them weren’t learning to read so the teacher had them chant the letter sounds every day while the rest of us did other work. Half of the class had to be held back, but some of the rest of us started second grade reading at fifth grade level. Hearing the later sounds in the background had made them sink no our brains. For many years I had a home preschool and, while I did teach the kids the alphabet, I didn’t push them to learn. But every day at the beginning of nap time I’d play a phonics record or tape. (Yes, that was quite a while ago.) Quite a few of the four year olds began reading on their own. I call having kids hear the letter sounds in the background while they do other things “subliminal phonics.” It doesn’t work for all kids, but it can be a big advantage for some.
I read books for kids all the time, partly because I write for kids, but mainly because I’m still a kid on the inside. I recently read The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee by Deborah Abela and enjoyed it a lot. The story is about a girl named India Wimple who is extremely shy. But she’s good at spelling and agrees to compete to get in a televised spelling bee. If she wins, that will help her family’s serious financial problems. The book encourages readers to face their fears and they might even learn to spell a few words while reading it. But the best thing about it is the unexpected plot twists and believable characters that make it fun to read. Now I want to look for more books by the author of this one.
In the last few years people on our planet have experienced gigantic fires, a volcanic eruption, earthquakes, rising oceans, rumors of war and now, a plague of the Corona Virus. Some think we’re living in “end times.” But there have been disasters as long as humans have lived on Earth, although people usually only knew about those close to where they lived before modern technology connected us all. Yes, we should get immunizations, prepare for evacuations, etc., etc. But how we live is more important. Let’s love, and help our neighbors when they need it, do our work responsibly, and spend our time focusing on what we have to be grateful for instead of worrying about the future. After all, most of the major religions in the world teach that people should have integrity (not be phony or dishonest,) compassion (feel with others,) and humility (know our place and not think we’re more important than others.) So let’s focus on the things that matter instead of worrying about the future.
As a writer, I’ve read lots of books about writing. This book by W. Terry Whalin is one of the most helpful I’ve read. As I started reading this book I dog-eared the pages with helpful information. But there turned out to be helpful information on EVERY SINGLE PAGE! Now my copy looks messy but I’ll certainly benefit from reading it. I think every writer – and potential writer – should have a copy of this book.
I’ve been dealing with problems on my blog for several months, so I finally called the tech support people for my website and they helped me set up a new blog. What a relief!
This is my new blog.