by Margaret Welwood
Working with a new Facebook friend, I found a (free) outlet for some of my poems, and a unique way to market my picture books for children.
There Once Was a Singer Named Lil
There once was a singer named Lil
Whose voice was so utterly shrill,
It cracked windows and doors,
And it shattered stone floors.
Now that takes incredible skill!
After you’ve recovered from the trauma of Lil’s portal-defacing, granite-pulverizing soprano voice, please note the way Sarah K. Blodgett has modified the text. Like many other people, she has found that simple ways—in this case highlighting syllables and underlining “long” vowels—can make a significant difference.
But what Sarah K. Blodgett has latched onto is the fact that it’s syllables we must read, and not individual letters.
According to Professor Suzanne Kemmer of Rice University, “Syllables apparently are a more natural unit for humans to perceive and hence code (write) and decode (read) by means of marks on a page.”
As we know, buh-i-tuh helps with bit, but as soon as we add an e after the t, the rule changes. Add er at the end, and we see why Kemmer insists that it’s syllables as a whole that we must read. The difference between biter and bitter will be readily perceived by one who has learned to read using syllables rather than individual letters.
Blodgett has found a way to make this feature work for struggling readers.
Noah Text™ “simulates predictable writing systems by highlighting critical word patterns”—something reading teachers do all the time. However, in books modified with Noah Text™, the highlighting is embedded, making it easier for children to practice reading on their own.
Now, the experiment:
I “liked” several of Sarah’s Facebook posts and studied her website. I was impressed with her strong interest in helping people learn to read (prompted by her son’s struggles), the years of research she’d pored into the project, and the fact that she was already working with another author. Sarah was clearly passionate about her cause and her product, and did not wish to run a one-woman show. I also noted the relative scarcity of material in Noah Text™.
After she checked out the pdfs, we had a phone chat. We agreed that the two books would be modified and printed, and I would supply her with several to show at workshops. She would list the Amazon links on her website, and I would include information about Noah Text™ on mine.
Additionally, I had poems looking for a home. I offered her an assortment, including the above limerick, to be modified with Noah Text™ and listed with the other freebies on her site. My thinking is that if people like what they see, they’ll check out my books online.
What are some interesting ways you’ve promoted your books or seen other authors promote theirs?
Margaret Welwood loved teaching English as a Second Language, writing magazine articles, and editing a business magazine and adult non-fiction books (one an Amazon #1 best seller, the other a Writer’s Digest award winner). However, with the arrival of grandchildren and their welcome request—“Grandma, can you tell me a story?”—she began writing and editing picture books for children. This is now her favorite genre.