Feeling the Love from Rhinelander!

Skype thank you 1 001My Skype visit with first graders in Rhinelander, Wisconsin was one of my favorites of the year! And the happiness continued a week later when their lovely letters and art arrived in the mail. Thank you, students and teachers for such a warm and gracious “getting to know you.”

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Skype letter 4 001 Skype letter 3 001 Slype letter 2 001

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Oh Happy Day! Two New Picture Books on the Way!

One manuscript was older. The other, brand new! But they wrapped up nicely in a two book deal to the editor who purchased my PUP 681 picture book as well.

:love5Here’s the announcement from Publishers Marketplace:

“BUSY BUILDERS, BUSY WEEK! author Jean Reidy’s WHEN THE SNOW IS DEEPER THAN YOUR BOOTS ARE TALL, about a great, big snow day as experienced by a very young child, and GROUP HUG, about a forest of friendly animals who learn the contagious happiness that hugs can bring, to Laura Godwin at Holt Children’s, by Erin Murphy of Erin Murphy Literary Agency (world).”

Hugs all around!

Connecting with Authors – Bringing Literacy to Life

elaine skypeEllie Rumney is a library media specialist extraordinaire from Rhinelander, Wisconsin.  Her heartfelt post gave me goosebumps. Yes, small moments can provide endless inspiration. Thank you, Ellie!

Connecting with Authors – Bringing Literacy to Life

by Ellie Rumney

The joyful faces of student connecting an author to a book is a priceless sight.

On one regular day in April, ninety 1st graders sat enthralled as published author, Jean Reidy shared her inspirations and ideas with students in Rhinelander, Wisconsin from her home in Colorado.  Student faces were alight as the author, who had written the books they had been reading in class, shared her inspiration for one of her books, Time Out for Monsters.  They gasped with excitement when she let them in on the secret to her upcoming books scheduled for release in the near future.

Students asked questions that helped them understand the writing and publishing process.  They connected to Ms. Reidy as she brought the books she had written to life. They learned that even a professional writer has to go through many edits and revisions to get a completed piece of work.  This Library Media Specialist had goosebumps watching the children’s engagement through the entire experience!

Ellie skype 2Reading and literacy are vital elements of our children’s education, and students are immersed in materials that allow them to embrace the world of words around them.  Much of the time, authors are an abstract name connected to books the students are enjoying.  Allowing students to meet and connect a face to a name through an author visit both in person or via internet teleconference is a vital connection between the abstract and the concrete.  When students can connect the name to a face, they can understand that it is a real person behind a published piece of work.  This in turn inspires students to be readers and writers, as they can understand that the people behind the work aren’t magicians and writing isn’t an impossible task.  As students meet authors, they can hear the author’s voice in the piece of literature they are reading and connect the story to a part of that author’s life.  They are inspired to write after hearing an author talk about the process of writing and how it begins small for even the most accomplished authors.

Ellie skype 3After meeting Jean Reidy, teachers talked to their students about making connections and writing about their own small moments.  One teacher said, “As writers, we want to emphasize the students writing about small details in their stories.  Jean Reidy’s Time Out For Monsters is about her childhood experience of being in a time out.”  Hearing a published author share her inspiration for writing a story about a small moment in her life has allowed the students to see that writing is not as scary or intimidating as they may feel or think it is. Connecting to the small moments that authors use for inspiration makes reading and writing more accessible to students.

That regular April day became a memorable and inspirational experience for one lucky group of 1st grade students.  They left with the understanding that real people are behind their beloved books.  They left with inspiration that they too can be authors of small moments.  Author visits such as these are an exciting way to open the eyes of a child and make the world of literacy more accessible and connected to their lives.

Ellie skypeEllie Rumney taught for 12 years before becoming a Library Media Specialist for the School District of Rhinelander. As a teacher, she was passionate about integrating technology and 21st Century Skills into her classroom. Her journey to become an LMS gave her access to an amazing learning network of professionals that she relies on in the current educational climate. As a Library Media Specialist, she continues to share her enthusiasm for 21st Century learning and information literacy with teachers and students in the classrooms and libraries.


My 1-3-1 Poetry Exercise

When I was a child, I loved reading poetry. But later in life when I learned to analyze and deconstruct poems, my passion faded. Poetry can be hard to decipher. And when you try too hard, the deciphering can bog you down.

I developed this quick poetry exercise to help me read and think about poems with less effort and more enjoyment … like I had as a child.

I call it my 1-3-1 Exercise!

1  – Think of 1 word to describe how you feel after reading the poem.

3 – Pick out 3 words from the poem that contribute to that feeling.

1 – In one sentence tell what the poet might be saying in the poem.

Try it! And if it works for you, add it to your poetry toolkit.

Then share a poem with a friend.

Happy poetry month!

Young Writer’s Workshop – The Persuasive Piece!

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Molly Baldwin, 2nd Grade Teacher at Carl T. Mitnick School in Cape May, NJ, knows how to make writing come alive for her students. How do you make a persuasive writing assignment extra fun? Tie it to some wacky and wild picture books!


by Molly Baldwin

For the last month, my second grade students have been diligently working on opinion pieces during Writer’s Workshop. They have delved into literary work that has inspired them to want to persuade a fellow classmate, a teacher…..whomever, to read a book of their choice. I wanted my students to have the opportunity to meet an author, and with the advancement of technology in my school, what better way than to Skype.

After doing some research, I came across Jean Reidy, an author who kindly agreed to speak with my class. My students were eager to share all that they had learned regarding persuasive writing, so I decided to tie in our writing curriculum with several of Jean’s stories, All Through My Town, Too Pickley! Too Purpley! and Too Princessy!

As a class, we spent a week dissecting the stories, discussing story elements, characters, problem/solution, and much more. Students were assigned to write a letter to Jean, explaining why one of her books was their favorite, with at least two supporting reasons. StudeFirst Day Pictures 715nts made comparisons between her stories, tied in stories that were similar to Jean’s, shared real-life connections, and made Jean feel like a “Super Star” with their letters of adoration.

The result of their week long efforts was nothing short of spectacular. My students were able to share their letters with Jean, ask questions, and receive many accolades from both myself and the author. The Skype visit far exceeded my expectations, and I know that my students will remember this experience for years to come. Jean is definitely a mentor and new friend, and has inspired my young writers to continue to grow and glow.

Molly Baldwin is a second grade teacher at Carl T. Mitnick School in Cape May, New Jersey. She has a BA in Communications from The College of New Jersey, and a BA in Elementary Education from Stockton University. She will also soon have her MA in Administration from Rowan University.

All materials © 2017 Jean Reidy. Author website by Websy Daisy. Shelly the Turtle designed by Genevieve Leloup.