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    Put Some Spring Into Your Writing!

    Last updated 3 years ago

    It's Spring! Blooming flowers and warmer days prompt us to clean out the old and begin the new. Your writing can benefit from a bit of housecleaning, too. Give it new energy with a few ideas like these:

    Write about your new favorite thing
    What is your current obsession? Writing a paragraph about a thing that fascinates you is a great way to express feelings and make memories.

    Keep these two suggestions in mind:

    • Be spontaneous. Sit down and write as soon as the impulse comes. If you put the writing off, you'll lose the feelings that give it life.
    • Be very specific in choosing your topic—not just birds, in general, but the mockingbird you hear outside your window; not just baseball, but Tim Lincecum's quirky fastball.

    You can do a little research online to find facts and details about your topic. Then, let yourself go. Years from now, you'll enjoy reading about a thing that fascinated you at this moment in your life.

    Picture a Story
    Next time you're going out, use your camera. Take shots of what you see and do during your trip. Try for a mix of a distance and close-up shots—a pile of oranges at the market, a face on the bus going by, the weird mess somebody left on the sidewalk.

    When you're home, look at your pictures, and let them suggest a story to you. It can be a process story about your trip, like this: It was a sunny day when I left my apartment. First, I went to the market to buy food for lunch. Then, I saw a really strange thing.

    Or, you can make up a completely imaginary story, like this: It was Friday when the mutant oranges first appeared in the market on Irving Street.

    Use your pictures to illustrate your story.

    Add Some Trouble
    Recall an event you've experienced or read about. Think about how you'd feel if some part of that event suddenly happened in a different way. For example, suppose you go to the bakery to buy a blueberry muffin once a week. Imagine that this time, instead of putting your muffin into a bag, the person behind the counter throws it at you. Here's where you begin to write.

    How do you respond? What do the other people in the store do? Keep the scene going as long as you like. It could become a story or just a paragraph to tuck away until you need it in the future.

    You can find some great writing prompts online to put new life into your writing this spring. Give it a try. It will make you feel fresh all over!

    Contact us at The Literacy & Language Center to find out how we bring fresh ideas to helping children with reading and writing challenges.

    Student Writing - Big Bird the Talk Show Host

    Last updated 3 years ago

    March 20, 2015

    James Stokes
    Television Director
    Riverside drive
    Burbank, CA

    Dear Mr. James Stokes:

    The reason I am writing this letter is because I was wondering if you have any open time slots available to have my own talk show so that I can be a host with your kindest approval.

    I have thoughts beyond your imagination for this program. In the TV show (starring Big Bird) I would interview people and non-humans about their life, how it is going, and if their having any trouble or problems. I would try to make them laugh during their interview, maybe offer pizza discounts.

    My experience is beyond compare to anyone else's. I have experience with pizza delivery, so I have coupons to give away. This could be my give-away part of the show. I also was on Broadway show called "Cats", and a TV show on Seseme street. I am too a comedian, so I can make people laugh so hard that they are crying.

    I look forward to meeting you and will try to make you crack up during our interview.

    Big George Bird III

    Chatting About Books!

    Last updated 3 years ago

    Chatting About Books is a series of podcasts in which educator Emily Manning recommends books for readers in grades K-5. Each episode offers descriptions of books on a different topic. She includes details to inform parents and get kids excited about the books!
    Try this episode about Survival:

    Here's another on Lizards:

    Tell us about your favorite reading podcasts the next time you visit The Literacy & Language Center.

    Teen Tech Week starts today!

    Last updated 3 years ago

    March 8-14 is Teen Tech Week! To join the celebration, we'd like to be sure everyone has heard about the new Teen Digital Media Center, due to open soon at San Francisco Public Library's Main branch.

    The library staff is hard at work putting the finishing touches on this great space. When completed, the center—called The Mix—will offer a unique area for teens to read, do research, and use computers as well as studios to create their own audio and video productions.

    Check out pictures of the new space and this great video in which teens explain their vision and plans for using this new resource.

    Write It, Listen to It, and Shine!

    Last updated 3 years ago

    Web Content Writers do it. Mystery writers do it. In fact, most good writers do it sometime. Reading your work aloud on World Read Aloud Day, and every day, is a wonderful way to grow as a writer.
    Whether you read it yourself or listen while someone reads it to you, hearing your writing read aloud offers some real benefits:
    It lets you spot the glitches
    Most of us have had this experience: You write a sentence and read it over several times. Then, as soon as you send it to someone, you notice that you left out the word "is" or you wrote "you" when you meant to write "your." Hearing your work read aloud is a great way to proofread for errors.
    It helps you fill in the holes
    When you hear your words, you can see how ideas connect—or don't connect. Maybe you've written things in the wrong order, left out something important, or created confusion by jumping from one point to the next without a transition. You can hear those gaps when our work is read aloud.
    It gives you some distance
    In addition to spotting the problems, when you hear your words read, you begin to experience the writing a little more from the "outside," rather than being stuck in the middle of it. This is emotional distance. It is essential for growth as a writer.
    Where do you find an audience or a reader?

    • Ask friends and family members to be your audience while you read your work. If you want to, you can ask them to give you feedback about your writing, but the important thing is for you to hear your words being spoken.
    • You can also reverse the process. Ask someone to read your work to you while you listen. Be sure to choose a good reader who can speak the words accurately and clearly.

    Let your computer do the reading
    Macs have a built-in text-to-speech feature that lets you type your words and then listen to what you wrote.

    PC users can find text-to-speech or text reader software and apps online that will do the job for you.
    Whatever method you use, listening to your words read aloud can be a very satisfying experience because it encourages you to "own" your words and ideas and to think of yourself as a "real" writer.
    Today and every day this year, read aloud. You'll hear your writing soar!

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