Monday, August 5, 2013

Showcase: Writer, Writer, Words on Fire Fun and Easy Ways to Build Your Child's Passion and Skills for Writing By Laurie Zupan

Cover for 'Writer, Writer, Words on Fire Fun and Easy Ways to Build Your Child's Passion and Skills for Writing'


Writer, Writer, Words on Fire is the book for parents who want to help their elementary age children become passionate and effective writers. As a parent, a veteran teacher with more than 27 years experience, and a published writer the author has lots of ideas, specific examples, engaging and entertaining stories which illustrate many things parents can do to help. The goal of the book is to support the parent in building his or her child's passion, confidence and skills in writing.

Regardless whether your state is using local standards or Common Core Standards, these ideas will help parents help their kids.

The book is full of tons of concrete examples that are explained in enthusiastic, and easy-to-understand language. Each of the chapters is short enough to be read in the bits of free time that a busy parent would have available like while waiting for soccer practice to end, waiting for her turn at the dentist, or in the last quiet ten minutes of the day.                 

Poetry Please,
or Try It, You'll Like It!

If you're looking for some good reading either for yourself or to share with your children (or both) check out some poetry!

Poetry is magical. It can inspire, shift your perspective, change your feelings, help you see something in a new way, and more, if you find the right poems.

Just ask a fourth grader who read a poem by Emily Dickinson. She brought it to me (I was her teacher) and asked, "Has Emily written any more? I never read anything like this before!" She was practically breathless with excitement. Of course we found many poems by Emily. That was in April. By the time we were working on Mother's Day gifts, I had forgotten all about those poems. Anne was the last person finished painting her picture frame. I walked over to see what was taking so long, and I noticed that Anne was writing on the back of the frame. When she saw me looking over her shoulder, she said, "These frames are an okay gift, but I'm giving my mom Emily." Anne was carefully copying Emily's poem, "Hope is a Thing With Feathers" on the back of her simple wooden frame.

Another one of my students came across Basho in his reading. Matsuo Basho may be the best Japanese haiku writer ever. Remember haikus? They are only three lines. The first line has 5 syllables. The second line has 7. The last has 5 again. That's it. The best ones create a vivid image (or mind movie as we call it in school). Larry could not believe what Basho could do with just a few words. He kept asking, "How can he do that?" And of course, Larry needed to read more.

Remember when you're reading poetry that there are many different kinds to choose from. Don't be discouraged if you don't enjoy Shakespeare, for example, or T.S. Eliot.

Start with what you already enjoy. Do you love nature? Look for poets who write about nature like Robert Frost. Do you love jazz music? Check out some poetry written in a jazz beat like poems written by Langston Hughes. Keep reading. Keep looking for a poem that moves you.

You may want to check out a book like Poetry Speaks or if you're reading with your children there's Poetry Speaks to Children. These anthologies come with CDs, so you can listen to poets read their own work! It doesn't get much better than that unless you go to a poetry reading....
You may even feel inspired to write a few lines. Your children may too. And who knows? You may have the next Robert Frost or Langston Hughes or even William Shakespeare in your own home. Enjoy!

If you like these ideas, you'll love my book, Writer, Writer Words on Fire: Fun and Easy Ways to Ignite Your Child's Passion and Writing Skills. Find it and much more on my website at


I am crazy about writing, parenting, and teaching. These three experiences intersect in my book Writer, Writer, Words on Fire. This book marries my love of writing with my passion as a parent and experience as a teacher.

Throughout my teaching years and well before, I have considered myself a writer. I've had tremendous passion for writing. In 1999, I went back to college to earn an MFA in Creative Writing. I've had work published in literary journals, online and in a national magazine.

It's been my greatest joy to be the mom of a brilliant and successful son who has graduated from college and finds himself in the working world. He is an avid reader and accomplished writer among many other things.

I currently live in Southern California. I write, teach, and look forward to visits from my son.

My portrait was taken by Cielo Roth Photography at

Where to find Laurie Zupan online

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