The Perk of Predictability in Stories

Yesterday, I read a well-known book with my first-grade group called Is Your Mama a Llama? It’s about a llama looking for others like him, who would have a llama for a mama, told in a fun and predictable rhyming pattern. “Is your mama a llama?” I asked my fried Dave. “No she is not,” is…

If You Want To Perform Magic, Teach Reading

Learning to read is a magical process: we recognize letters and assign them sounds and then smash the sounds together into words. Then we read many words in sentences and in paragraphs, not only decoding the them but extracting meaning from them. It’s pretty trippy if you dwell on it too long. Seeing as learning…

Sometimes, You Need A Win

If you know me in real life, you know I go to Starbucks a lot. A lot. My kids attend Taekwondo classes across the street from the Starbucks location I frequent the most, and they pretty much live at Taekwondo, especially around tournament time. The baristas know my name. I gave them copies of The Seventh…

What’s the Key to an Engaging Story?

Last week, my fifth-grade reading group and I finished a classic novel. I’m not going to say which one it was because I’m not going to say very nice things about it. The story itself was fine. It followed a classic narrative structure and was occasionally gripping. The problem was… Well, it was boring in…

In A Crowd Of Encouragers, Who Would You Draw?

This morning, I taught the third grade class in the kids’ area of my church. The lesson was about Biblical figures who persevered through difficult circumstances and those who encouraged them along the way. To go along with that, we completed a seriously cool project with the main point being this: when times get tough,…

If You Want To Learn Something, Teach It

Yesterday, I read this great article by Nat Russo about how important it is for writers to master the craft before we start defending our style. Click on his name to read the whole thing (which I recommend), but here’s a chunk of it: You’ve heard people do this. When you offer constructive criticism, they’ll…