Dedicated to literacyElaine Simpson has spent most of her life making sure that children learn to read. Now, books she has written will aid in that cause.
By: Jo Colvin, Alexandria Echo Press
Elaine Simpson has spent most of her life making sure that children learn to read. Now, books she has written will aid in that cause.
Simpson is a 1st grade reading intervention teacher in School District 206, in which she has one-to-one lessons designed to meet the needs of individual learners. She also works with Leveled Literacy Intervention, a small-group reading program in which she coaches and trains teachers who work with literacy intervention in kindergarten through 6th grade. Both of these programs are provided in addition to classroom reading instruction.
Last year, she received a letter from the Hameray Publishing Group, a company that specialized in publishing leveled literacy materials for use in classrooms and intervention programs.
It was an invitation to send in a manuscript for a children’s story. The invitations were sent to people who are involved with literacy in some way. As a member of the Reading Recovery Council of North America (RRCNA), Simpson was invited to participate.
“I had always toyed with the idea of writing someday,” Simpson said. “There are times I write my own books for kids anyway, based on the words they know. It was a natural next step.”
During Christmas vacation, Simpson “played around with some things” and wrote two children’s books in her literary effort.
“I decided to take the plunge and send them in,” she said.
Simpson’s manuscripts were two of 380 the company received from literacy experts across the U.S. The books were to be geared to the kindergarten through 2nd grade level.
Of the 380 submissions, only 40 would be chosen to be part of the “Kaleidoscope Collection,” a series of 40 leveled readers written by trainers, literacy coaches, reading specialists and reading intervention teachers.
Both of Simpson’s books were selected.
“I am amazed that two of the 40 are mine,” Simpson said. “That is really exciting.”
Simpson describes A Bad Day as a rhyming book about a child who has all kinds of terrible things happen throughout his day. Sam’s Birthday tells the story of a boy who has all his friends tell him that they can’t attend his birthday party. She also says that both books have an interesting “twist” at the end.
The Kaleidoscope Collection will be available in November. It is sold via catalog, primarily to schools or other groups that work with literacy (visit the website www.hameraypublishing.com for information or to order the books). The books can be purchased as a set or individually.
Half of the royalties from the sale of the books will go to the RRCNA. While she is excited to see her books in print, she is even more excited to know that she could use her skills to promote an issue about which she is so passionate.
“It’s not about me becoming a well-known author,” she concluded. “If what I am doing can contribute to eradicating illiteracy, that’s what’s most important.”