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Reluctant Reader Resources!

April 10th, 2014 by Kendra Martin

Lorimer is proud to publish childrens and young adult books that appeal to reluctant readers. This week, we wanted to share some resources on reluctant readers that you might find helpful for designing curricula or assembling reading lists for students. Happy planning!


Ms. Yingling Reads

Ms. Yingling reviews books for middle school students, especially boys. These include adventure books, fantasy books, historical books, humorous books, and sports books. She also follows a long list of similar blogs.


Teach Mentor Texts

Talks about using "mentor" or "anchor" texts—books that can be used as examples of good writing for students and can help them to improve their writing.


Boys Read

Transforming boys into lifelong readers. Will accept reviews of titles.


Help for Struggling Readers

Addresses technology tools and solutions for struggling readers, including "brain-training" apps.


Learning Inside Out

Provides advice on what to look for and what to avoid in remedial reading programs. Also has information on dyslexia and dyslexia resources.


Lexile Framework for Reading

Has a form that matches readers with texts, based on their lexile level.



Author Interview: Sylvia Gunnery

April 23rd, 2014 by Kendra Martin

I just received the Spring 2014 newsletter from the Canadian Society of Children's Authors, Illustrators, and Performers (CANSCAIP), and splashed on the front page was the smiling face of our author Sylvia Gunnery!

Sylvia Gunnery author

Author of Game Face, Out of Bounds, and Personal Best, and award-winning teacher in Nova Scotia, Sylvia is also keeping herself busy at the moment as President for the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia. 

Below is a short excerpt of YA author Vicki Grant's interview with Sylvia: 


When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I was always writing. In scribblers, on holidays, or dutifully following teachers' instructions to write about what I did on my summer vacation or how I'd spend a million dollars. In grade 4, I wrote a story that my friend, Donna, bought for a bag of chips and gave to her older brother (who probably would've rather had the chips.) 

But all that isn't about the word realize. I was 30 before I knew in that sure, realized way that I wanted to be a writer. And that's when I sent some stories (terrible stories, really) to Banff and was accepted for the 5-week summer writing session with W.O. Mitchell, Alice Munro, Eli Mandel, Sylvia Fraser, and others. That was 1976.... In 1984, Scholastic released my first novel for teens. 

You've written black characters and male characters. Do you worry at all about 'expropriating' another's voice?

I don't think of writing fiction as "expropriating" (stealing, taking, walking off with, as a thesaurus defines it.) Fiction writers explore and research and reflect on and arrive at some kind of understanding of others. It's what we must do. Right now, I am writing about three sisters from Halifax, ages 15, 17, and 20. They're driving across Canada. My sister and I drove across Canada when we were in our late 20s. Perhaps in each of these fictional sisters there is something of me and of my sister. But really, at 67, I have to work very hard to truly know each of these young characters, what motivates them, what worries them, how each will or won't influence the others, and why. I have to be inside their stories with them, listening and watching carefully in order to get their voices right. 

What do you want your readers to get out of your books? Entertainment? Insight? A peek into another world? 

My earliest motivation for writing teen fiction was to give my students a peek into their own worlds. In the early 80s when I started writing for teens, the stories offered to them through our schools were really about other worlds--books written by American or British authors, mostly. Very few by Canadians. That's changed now, through the efforts of a lot of book lovers across Canada--writers, publishers, librarians, teachers, and organizations such as the Canadian Children's Book Centre. And I do hope my books give my teen readers some insights into their own lives. 

What are the best tips you can give a beginning writer?

One tip: Get used to spending a lot of time sitting in one place, pushing forward with your writing even though doubts will probably stand right behind your chair, snickering. 

What energizes you? 

I sometimes get energy from stories (especially when they're cooking right along) but that answer is too simple. I might get my energy from the sea. There's something about negative ions in the ocean that's very positive (sorry, I had to do that). I've lived by the ocean since 1990. Right now, I can hear it hauling pebbles back into its waves and then crashing up against the shore again. But maybe that's too simple too. Could be friends. Could be family. Love. Maybe it's me carrying on Mom's attitude she seemed to grab onto even more as she'd aged--she'd sing "Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side..." 


Thank you, Vicki and Sylvia, and CANSCAIP for a great interview! 


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