Bear Wants More, children's writing, early literacy, gifts, imagination, Karma Wilson, learning, literacy, pre-school classroom

Some Progress

In my last post I wrote about my idea to create a story for one of my students that would be based on Karma Wilson’s Bear Wants More.

I like to give holiday gifts for each of my students and this student in particular loves that picture book. I’m hoping she’ll be excited to see herself interacting with her favorite characters.

Unfortunately she came down with the flu, so she’s been out this week and on top of that one of her classmates came down with Covid. I’m keeping my fingers crossed and my mask on in hopes that the whole class is feeling better in time for the holidays.

I thought I’d share with you the text I have so far. I’ve changed the name of the main character for confidentiality. I can’t wait to add my student’s photos to the book along with the images of her favorite characters.

Audra Wants More!

Audra wakes up. She’s hungry for words.

She blinks her eyes open,

she peers all around.

She spies, through her glasses, some books in a mound.

She’s eager to read them till the last page is turned,

but Audra wants . . . more!

Mouse scampers by with a book in his pail.

“Come along ” Mouse squeaks,

“Let’s read a nice tale!”

So up Mouse hops

onto Audra’s wheelchair,

they whiz down the hall

to read a book about a Bear.

The pages are many and they flip, flip, flip,

but Audra wants . . . more!

The noon sun glows, when along hops Hare.

“Good day, friend Audra.

Is that book about Bear?”

“Yeah,” says Audra.

Hare says “Follow me!”

There’s a nice stack of books

by my cup of sweet tea.

They turn page after page

with a plip, plip, plip.

And Audra still wants . . . more!

Badger shuffles by

with another Bear book.

“Let’s read this one

in my cozy reading nook.”

They head to Badger’s den.

He gives them a tour.

Audra reads the book

and she still wants more!

Meanwhile . . .

back in her room,

wait raven and wren.

When all of a sudden they hear a loud, Boom!

Books have arrived.

They’ve been plopped on the porch.

It’s a big book bounty

for their best bookish friend.

Audra looks toward the door,

wearing a smile so wide,

full of joy she can’t hide.

And she still wants . . . more.

She’s wheeled to the porch,

she follows her nose.

Her friends yell, “Surprise!”

And her happiness grows.

Everything is in a book uproar.

Audra reads and reads, one book, then two, then two times four.

She is full, full, full,

of all the book pictures and all the book words,

and she still wants more!

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Bear Wants More, early literacy, Karma Wilson, On Revision, paying attention, revision, teaching, William Germano

Revising Attentively

I’ve been reading the book, On Revision by William Germano. My purpose for reading it was to glean some perspectives, or tips to help me revise more efficiently and more effectively. The ironic thing about reading the book was that it made me think more about my teaching than it did about my writing.

“Good teachers, after all, don’t just demand attention. They pay attention.”-William Germano

It’s true, but I had never thought about it that way. When I work with students, it’s most often in a one-to-one situation. I work on the visual skills they need to develop, or the tools they need to use to access visual information, or on the tactile and braille skills they need to learn to gain access to the world around them. The best way to do that is to find out what they like, what motivates them. Once I can do that everything gets easier and more fun for both of us.

In his book, William Germano describes the act of paying attention in this way, “If you write, you’re asking your readers for some of their time, time they could easily spend on anything else. You’re not just providing them with a text; you’re inviting them into the text. Be a good host. Pay attention. Refill glasses. Pass the nibbles.”

This might not be a new perspective for some, but it definitely was for me. It’s so clear and tangible.

In my teaching, I spend a lot of time thinking up ways to capture my students’ imagination, their attention, in order to get them invested in the skills they need to develop. Why hadn’t I thought about that with the stories I write for children? Maybe it’s because the stories are for potential child readers. If I think in terms of actual readers it might give me a better perspective. I’ll have to try it out.

The funny and exciting thing is that I’ve just started a project (a holiday gift for a student) in which I hope to channel the magic that Karma Wilson created with her book Bear Wants More. One of my students absolutely loves this book and will work so hard to get to the reward of having it read to her.

She is able to say few words, “more” being one of them and she has excellent timing when we read the book together.

My hope is to further develop her early literacy skills by personalizing the familiar book’s setup. My student will be the main character and she will want more and more and books read to her.

It’s only in the planing and playing with stages; it’s got a long way to go.

It’s challenge, but I can just imagine my student’s reaction to seeing herself in a book, and maybe that’s just the perspective I need.

I’ll let you know how things are going as the project progresses.