The writing skills my daughter, now excelling in ninth grade English Honors, left Vanessa’s class with continue to be an invaluable set of resources.Betsy Leva
I know that the many fun and challenging lessons I’ve learned from Ms. Ziff will help me achieve my goal of one day being a professional writer and filmmaker.Jaren S. 7th Grade, The Buckley School
Ms. Vanessa has challenged me to stretch my writing and I am excited for what I will do next.Evan, 3rd Grade

Vanessa is an outstanding writer and a joy to work with.

Aimee Trudeau, Web Developer, Kizmato.com
Vanessa got my 8-year old son excited and intrigued to dig deeper into his experiences and bring his thoughts to life. Now Evan’s words dance and sing, which makes me want to dance and sing!Sally Micelotta
Ms. Ziff maintains a good balance of knowing when to give more help and when to insist that you rise to the challenge of the learning situation. She instills confidence, honors excellence, and respects effort.Kenneth 8th Grade, Harvard Westlake
I learned as much from teaching with Vanessa as any of her students under her guidance. Where so many others fall back on old tricks, Vanessa taps into her extensive experience to invent new methodologies for each and every one of her clients.Patrick Kieffer, Fifth Grade – English & History, The Packer Collegiate Institute
Vanessa has a gift for inspiring even the most reluctant writer and her passion for writing is infectious. She is a favorite workshop leader at our Young Writers’ Conferences.Julie Moore & Rena Svetic, Young Writers’ Conference Founders
Having an eight-year old highly gifted boy was not enough to make him put all those brilliant ideas on paper. Daniel feels constantly challenged by Vanessa and that ignites him.Liliana Benitez
It's obvious that Vanessa is a wordsmith: "Write. Observe. Revise. Discover...W.O.R.D."  These are the four essential ingredients for becoming a writer; two of them about the work (writing and revising) and two of them about the joy (observing and discovering.) Vanessa accomplishes it all.  Julie Larios, award-winning poet and children’s author
Vanessa Ziff Lasdon possesses the dynamic combination of an incisive intellect and boundless passion when it comes to teaching her craft and sharing skills with her students.MaryLynn Richmond
Vanessa’s methods are creative, thorough and innovative. She makes writing fun and has turned our daughter’s “like” of writing into a true “LOVE”.The Altmans
Vanessa captured the essence of what I wanted to relay on my site without sounding trite, unlike my experience with previous writers.Martin Pugh, Musician
Ms. Ziff set the foundation for my analytical, constructive, and creative skills. Whether writing a sonnet or writing an essay, I still have her lessons in my mind.Kenneth 8th Grade, Harvard Westlake
Ms. Ziff always pushed me to do my best, and never let me slack off.  She introduced me to my love of writing and gave me the confidence I needed both academically and in myself.Georgia 9th Grade, The Buckley School
I honestly don’t know what kind of a writer and reader I would be without the tools I learned with Ms. Ziff. She was always a very understanding, rigorous, and involved teacher, and an incredible mentor.Maddie 9th Grade, Marlborough School
Vanessa’s greatest ability is to help each student realize his or her own untapped potential. It’s the stuff that changes lives!Jacqueline Frohlich
The skills Vanessa taught my son--particularly the value of revising many times […] attention to detail, and high standards—are still with Nico several years later.Liz McNicoll, Attorney, Paramount Pictures
Vanessa transformed our son Josh from a decent writer into an excellent writer.  We wholeheartedly recommend Vanessa and her ability to draw out the best in your child’s writing ability.Jill and Larry Krutchik
Whether it’s teaching a student to become a more vivid creative writer, a more effective analytical writer, or a more selective business writer, Vanessa can do it all.Meli and Stephen Rose
Vanessa’s vast skills, complete dedication, and clear purpose construct a solid core for every student she teaches. Her passionate nature produces both a fun and rewarding learning experience.Michele Noble, Director, Writer, Filmmaker
All of us remember teachers who inspired us to greater heights and who influenced our lives. Vanessa Ziff Lasdon has played this role in my daughters' lives.Jack Tauber, M.D.
While we continue to be impressed by Vanessa’s many attributes, it is her high energy level, extraordinary patience, and passion for what she does that make her truly unique.Melissa and Rob Weiler
Vanessa is a true master of her craft. She is a blast to work with, completely trustworthy and utterly authentic. To work with Vanessa is a privilege; you just want to soak up all her talent, and bottle it up for yourself! She is an inspiration.Sarina Fierro, Head of Lower Elementary, Curtis School
Ms. Ziff is always organized, resourceful, and ready for anything. She believes in a process, [...] the best of all being the Ms. Ziff approach, which makes her spectacular.Kenneth 8th Grade, Harvard Westlake
My son learned more about writing and literary appreciation from Ms. Ziff in fifth grade than in any other year of school. I wish all teachers had Vanessa’s passion for teaching and inspiring!Kim Ford
Vanessa is high-energy smarts and charm, the kind of writer and teacher who captures and captivates readers of all ages.New York Times bestselling author, Cynthia Leitich Smith
Vanessa is truly a one-of-a-kind teacher. She’s extremely organized, communicates ideas effectively, helps motivate, and has a lively, engaging teaching style that brings out the best efforts in all of her students.Howard Tager
What our daughter values most about her time in Vanessa's class is being inspired to become an organized writer who could convey her thoughts in a meaningful manner.Laurie and Chris Harbert
Ms. Ziff’s friendly demeanor and enthusiasm made communicating easy and learning exciting. She taught us to understand and appreciate the material, and have fun in the process.Alivia 8th Grade, Harvard Westlake
Ms. Ziff is definitely not just my teacher and tutor; she is my mentor.Lexi 7th Grade, Harvard Westlake

Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

Boost Core Upper Elementary Writing Skills & Creativity This Summer with Vanessa! July 21-Aug 15

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Click on the images below to download our application

and complete enrollment!

Summer Writing Camps

 


 

 

Summer S.T.E.A.M. Camps

Write. Design. Build. Film. Solve: W.O.R.D. Ink Camps at Curtis School, 7/14-8/15

Monday, May 5th, 2014

W.O.R.D. Ink

 

Write. Design. Build. Film. Solve: W.O.R.D. Ink Learning Camps at Curtis School, July 14 – August 15

 

Thank you for helping us spread the W.O.R.D. on school campuses and among friends!

EARLY ENROLLMENT DISCOUNT DEADLINE: MAY 19TH!

Click on the images below to download and complete your application today!

2014 W.O.R.D. Ink Workshops & Application on Curtis Campus

COMPLETE ENGINEERING CAMP

July 14-18 / July 21-25 / July 28-Aug 1 / Aug 4-8 / 3rd – 7th graders

TABLETOP MOVIEMAKING + STOP-MOTION ANIMATION

July 21-25 / July 28-Aug. 1 / Ages 8 – 12

GRAMMAR, MATH & STUDY SKILLS 

Aug. 4-8 (Recommended for 4th & 5th graders before our “Writing Skills Intensive”) 3rd – 5th graders

WRITING SKILLS INTENSIVE

Aug. 11-15 / 4th – 6th graders


Patrick’s team of experienced designers and engineers has a bazillion cool projects up their sleeves. Kids can work on any project they’re interested in each day, each week, at their own pace. From AC circuits and bridge construction to toy design and zip lines, when it comes to our Complete Engineering Camp, the sky’s the limit!

Visit our Tabletop Moviemaking YouTube Channel! Check out our Writing Adventures Tumblr Blog!




 

 

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2014 Course Catalog & Inspiring Kids to Write!

Friday, February 28th, 2014

Vanessa Ziff Lason

Head & Heart to Hand & Page:

Inspiring Kids to Write

By W.O.R.D. Ink Founder & Executive Director, Vanessa Ziff Lasdon

 

There’s a writer in all of us because there’s language in each of us.

Have we not all shared the same spark of joy in first learning to write our very own name?

Writing is self-discovery and self-expression.

We begin with a spark.

To inspire a child to write we must reignite that very first wonder and delight, and we must hold the spark steadfast with the intention of kindling a long lasting love of language within the child.

 

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PSSST! CoMe IN: Character, Symbolism, Irony & Theme

Friday, January 10th, 2014

Guest post co-written by W.O.R.D. Ink team members, Gannon Daniels & Vanessa Ziff Lasdon

Gannon Daniels

Vanessa Ziff LasdonWelcome back and Happy New Year!

In the first two installments of this WRITE-themed blog post series on literary response essay techniques (Part 1; Part 2), we addressed 5 of the elements of fiction that our acronym, PSSST, CoMe IN! represents: Narration, Plot, Setting, Style and Mood.

In this final post we’ll survey the most important element of fiction, CHARACTER, followed by 3 final elements that are a bit trickier to grasp at first, yet no less commonly addressed in essays: Symbolism, Irony, and Theme.

PSSST! CoMe IN and explore with us!

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Re-vision the Holidays with Giving Tuesday & littleBLUEPRINT.com

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Guest post co-written by W.O.R.D. Ink team members, Jaya Mukherjee & Vanessa Ziff Lasdon

Jaya Mukherjee Vanessa Ziff Lason

I love the revision process because in writing and life, to revise our process can signify more about us than the art we create. The challenge we must pose to ourselves is to revisit something familiar with completely new eyes. Whether it’s an essay, a facet of our own identity, or our perspective on the world, if we approach revision with an open mind, the process can be an opportunity of discovery and exploration. I find this notion of revision to be particularly pertinent during the holiday season.

Giving Tuesday littleBLUEPRINT

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The Power & Puzzle Behind Connection

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Becky French, W.O.R.D. Ink team memberCo-written by W.O.R.D. Ink Team Member, Becky French & Founder, Vanessa Ziff Lasdon

 Watching Students Learn

As I scatter the puzzle pieces on the teaching table in front of my fourth and fifth graders, I expect them to dive right in, strategy in mind, and finish by the end of the hour. Instead, most just stare, as though a puzzle is a foreign object, and for many I soon realize, it is. Those with some experience approach first, while the others observe. By the end of half an hour, all hands are on deck and, working together, they solve the puzzle by the end of the period.

I’ve never learned more about the way my students think than I did while observing them put this puzzle together. Two years later, I find myself watching with the same fascination as my infant daughter begins to explore the world around her, with no prior notions about how anything works, no system or rules, just curious hands and a mind to match.

At the risk of sounding cliché, I’ve truly always found students to be puzzles. Some have all the pieces and know exactly how to place them, while others have either misplaced a few or had theirs depreciated or taken away. It’s my job as a teacher and specialist in learning disabilities to help these students relocate and utilize their missing pieces, and then determine what strategies helped the most. The only way I can effectively do my job is through observation and connection. I must watch my students read, write, grapple with math problems, and interact with others. To truly help students learn and grow, I have to know them, understand them for where and who they are, and ensure that they trust in me.

Puzzle-piece

Why Connect?

The Internet is bursting with research illustrating the value of connecting with students and strategies for building and sustaining those connections. Connection nurtures success on all levels, from classroom management to grades, but how does connection help a tutor? (more…)

Teachers Write! A Virtual Summer Writing Camp for Adults

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

Teachers-Write-Button

Teachers, Librarians, Homeschool Parents, and Children’s Writers: Do not miss one of the most enriching personal and professional development opportunities of the summer: Teachers Write. By participating in Teachers Write – renowned author Kate Messner’s free, on-line summer writing camp – you learn to be a better writer, you instantly integrate into a community chock-full of captivating individuals from all over the world, you have opportunities to interact with an awesome panel of authors AND you can win free books for your classroom or library!

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New from W.O.R.D. Ink! Customized, “Build-It-Yourself” Summer Workshops for Kids, Teens & Adults

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

It’s an exciting and busy time for W.O.R.D. Ink. We are in the midst of expanding our company services, employee base, and client reach. Amidst the buzz, Team Ink needs to honor personal, familial, and additional career commitments. For that reason, we’ve decided to scale back our W.O.R.D. of the Week blog from weekly to biweekly posts for the time being, so that we can maintain a steady stream of useful content while simultaneously focusing on other aspects of professional and personal growth.

Screen Shot 2013-04-30 at 9.37.25 PM

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Learn, Teach, Share at the Family-Friendly Maker Faire!

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

IT’S CALLED “THE GREATEST SHOW (AND TELL) ON EARTH!”

Maker-Faire

There’s a reason the MAKER FAIRE has wound its way around the globe in seven short years and spawned over 60 mini-Maker Faires from Tokyo to Oslo. This is not just another social gathering – it’s a mega-science expo, an inventor’s haven, and a county fair rolled into one. 

Yes, the Maker Faire is a geeked-out weird-science fest. But, really, it’s so much more. The Maker Faire is totally Geektastic for every age, gender, and profession — for anyone who makes anything and everyone with a thirst for knowledge, resourcefulness, and creativity!

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Alice…in Widdershins

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Widdershins. Isn’t that a great word? Means “counterclockwise energy” in Wicca tradition. I actually borrowed the word from an interesting 2010 lecture by poet, author and professor Cynthia Huntington, while at a VCFA alumni retreat. I collect weird words (wabi sabi is another favorite of mine. Means “perfection in imperfection” in Japanese), in case I ever decide to recycle them into new creations, such as for today’s post. 

On Widdershins, and counterclockwise energy.

The kind of unusual, down-the-rabbit-hole energy required for…Revisions.

down the rabbit hole

Mary Blair

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I Pledge Allegiance to the Cause

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

Ongoing Observations on Progressive 21st Century Educational Philosophy & Practice

I had planned to hit the hiking trail yesterday as my reward for teaching two weeks of intensive writing workshops over spring break. Both workshops are still in their infancy. Before this spring, I’d taught the Writing Skills Intensive only once last summer and the Tabletop Moviemaking course twice previously. But I’m a fanatic about research, revision, and reflection. Throughout the workshop weeks I’d constantly tinkered with my curriculum, adjusting its scope, sequence and delivery into the wee hours of the morning, making note of future changes like a mad scientist on the brink of a breakthrough.

Writing Skills Intensive Tabletop Moviemaking

So like I was saying…hiking. That was the plan on a glorious Monday morning. Coffee in hand, sneakers tied, I rifled through a few emails, browsed my favorite blog feeds, and well…one thing led to another (damn you, Internet Rabbit Hole.) Anyway, I found myself –- by way of the righteous GOOD.is – first at the articles written by, then at the personal website of, my friend and ex-colleague, Chris Thinnes.

GOOD.is

A.)  Wow. Chris never disappoints. He’s one of the most articulate, intelligent and exciting guys I’ve ever met.

B.)  Serendipity? Chris’ recent guest post on GOOD, (“Stop Exploring ‘Innovative Education Models’: We Need Action Now”) made me jump on the couch in bounce position. Forget the hike. I was already headed to church.

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Velveteen Rabbit Revisions: How to Bring Your Writing to Life (with a Whole Lot of Love!)

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

Have you ever tried to solve a What’s Wrong With This Picture dilemma? Where you stare at the image for an hour straight without seeing a darn thing, but when you walk away for a while and then take another look, the answer jumps right off the page?

Color Illusion

Welcome to the Revision Process.

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Keep Calm and Teach On

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

Keep Calm and Read On. That’s the theme for this year’s California Association of Teachers of English (CATE) Convention, taking place February 8 – 10 in Santa Clara. W.O.R.D. Ink is devoting our week’s blog post to considering this theme, with a slight variation extended to all learning:

Why is it important for a teacher to keep calm and teach on?

 crown (more…)

Edutopia Resource Discovery Dump!

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

W.O.R.D. Ink is taking a short break from full-post blogging this week, but we still want to leave you with nine outstanding learning resources. Our discovery dump today is brought to you by one of our favorite learning resources, Edutopia.org. Edutopia, part of the George Lucas Educational Foundation, empowers and connects teachers, administrators, and parents with innovative solutions and resources to better K-12 education. We hope the links you explore inspire you to share with others!

Edutopia.org

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Sweat the Small Stuff: Shape Voice with Sound & Syntax, Part 3

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

What is Voice? (Part 3)

In this 3-part revision series, we’ve debunked several mysteries behind the magical element within every great work of writing: Voice. It’s my hope that you’ve been able to see Voice not as an elusive and unattainable ingredient, but rather, as a series of deliberate, layered choices made throughout the revision process, and as accessible to all who practice the craft–within every genre and for any purpose. May you walk away from this series inspired to “Re-Vision” your writing with techniques that work!

revisionbulb

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Be Still Already! Coach Your Mind to Live Like a Writer

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013
concentrate

Last week I made a plan to write and I did not stick to it. At least, not the way I’d intended.

Life got in the way again, and I just let it barge right through my carefully carved-out quiet time. Then I spent the rest of the week feeling terrible about not having kept the promise to myself. Well, today, I’ve decided to shorten my post in OBSERVANCE of the writing I must complete.

You will find Silas House’s observations on The Art of Being Still quite apropos for creators of all kinds. Please take a look, if only to press the “reconnect” button within yourself as an artist. The essence of House’s reflection boils down to this:

Stop talking about writing or not writing, and Just Do It already.

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10 Safe Outlets for All-Age Youth to Publish Writing Online and In Print

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

Hello, 2013! Year of the Snake! Let’s make this year a time of steady progress and attention to detail, of focus and discipline in achieving what we set out to create. 

Year of the Snake, White Background

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On The First Day of Christmas, Three Inspiring Links

Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

Merry Christmas, word lovers! I feel so honored to share this special holiday with you! Today’s post is on DISCOVERIES, so please enjoy the following three Seeds and Sparks. May they inspire you and ignite your imagination! Share with family and be sure to curl up on your own to savor them, too. Remember: the holidays are also a time to be loving and joyful with yourself! You deserve it!   

storybird pg13-top100 choice literacy podcasts

 

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Sweat the Small Stuff: Shape Voice with Sound and Syntax, Part 2

Monday, December 17th, 2012

What is Voice? (Part 2)

In this 3-part revision series, we’ll debunk several mysteries behind the magical element within every great work of writing: Voice. It’s my hope that you’ll see Voice not as an elusive and unattainable ingredient, but rather, as a series of deliberate, layered choices made throughout the revision process, and as accessible to all who practice the craft–within every genre and for any purpose. May you walk away each week inspired to “Re-Vision” your writing with techniques that work!

TapDance

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Smartpens to Songwriting: 10 Supercool Gift Ideas for Kids & Teens

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

If you’re like me, the holiday season is somehow slipping from your grasp and your shopping days are limited. What’s more, you want to find just the right gift for each person on your list, although – let’s be honest – some are nearly impossible to please and you’re really trying to steer clear of the plastic gift card route.

In life, I’m big into intentionality, so when I gift, no matter what the age, I go for:

  • Unique
  • Practical
  • Aesthetic
  • Budget-friendly
  • Lovingly made or expertly crafted

Check out the following 10 supercool hi-tech-meets-lo-tech gift ideas for kids and teens that I’ve personally sized up. Each is sure to make everyone’s spirits merry and bright!


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Proof in the Figgy Pudding: Holiday Writing Inspiration

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

 

Amidst sensory overload, the holidays provide valuable details for authentic storytelling. Have a journal handy, because proof of holiday writing inspiration is in the Figgy Pudding!

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SparkTruck: Sparking a Creative Movement Across the Nation

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

 

In our gloom-and-doom era of deep, nationwide budget cuts to education, creativity is on the chopping block and hands-on learning is a luxury that many schools claim they can’t afford. SparkTruck to the rescue! This self-proclaimed “educational build-mobile” is on a mission to bring creative and purposeful crafting to students around the nation.

 

 

 

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Please, Sweat the Small Stuff: Shape Voice with Sound & Syntax

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

What is Voice?

In this 3-part revision series, we’ll debunk several mysteries behind the magical element within every great work of writing: Voice. It’s my hope that you’ll see Voice not as an elusive and unattainable ingredient, but rather, as a series of deliberate, layered choices made throughout the revision process, and as accessible to all who practice the craft–within every genre and for any purpose. May you walk away each week inspired to “Re-Vision” your writing with techniques that work!

Fred Astaire

(more…)

Dear Luck: Keeping the End in Mind

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

Today is a WRITE post, and that means providing you with the encouragement and opportunity to get your thoughts down on the blank page. Consider this Dear Luck post a spiritual pick-me-up quick-write that you’ll want to revisit time and again.

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Self Advocacy for Learning Differences, the Top Rule in Writing, a Revision Gallery, & The Vote for Education

Monday, October 29th, 2012

A Team Ink guest blog special: Jenny on personal truths, Becky on self advocacy, a revision gallery by author Kate Messner, & Simona on CA Prop 30 versus 38. 

Thank you to my three guest bloggers from the W.O.R.D. Ink tutoring & editorial team, who participated in this special, multi-topic W.O.R.D. of the Week post! 

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Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

 

This week on DISCOVER:

 

I am SO excited to share with you Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun, which hit bookshelves and online stores on October 16th.

 

Unbored, written and edited by Joshua Glenn of HiLoBrow and Elizabeth Foy Larsen, and illustrated by Tony Leone, is a 350-page DIY “activity guide and curiosity-sparker” for all things fun. The book is geared toward ages 8-14, but many activities involve adult participation, and you’re definitely going to want to play!

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Writer’s Block: 12 Ways to Cure a Monster of a Problem

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

This is Grumble.

Grumble’s my Writer’s Block beast, and boy, he’s a moody one. A real monster of a problem, especially when the delicate creation stage of a project begins. Grumble can smell the sweet scent of hope and acrid stench of fear from a mile off. He squares off with The Muse on my left shoulder, perching on the right, just inches from my ear, and an arm’s length away from the DELETE button. There’s no finer victory for Grumble than a day without a word on the page. He delights in looming over me with his hairy eyeballs and doomsday expression, squashing seed ideas and spitting on sparks before either can lift off.

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W.O.R.D. of the Week

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

W.O.R.D. of the Week is a blog and virtual writer’s notebook that explores the power of words in four fundamental ways: through writing practice, observations, re“vision” techniques, and discoveries. This is a place for writers and word lovers, parents and professionals, students and educators to share in the essential ingredients of becoming a wordsmith. Two elements concern the CRAFT (writing and revising) and two focus on the JOY (observing and discovering). Believe that you can accomplish all four, that you possess a unique voice, and that what you have to say matters.

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