Posted by: nancyisanders | June 16, 2010

Summer Reading Club: Purpose

Are you having fun reading this summer? What are your favorite children’s books that you are currently reading?

As I mentioned earlier, I went to my public library and saw that they had a Summer Reading Club for kids to sign up and join. I decided I wanna join a Summer Reading Club, too, so I started one right here on my blog! If you want to join, just hop on board the fun and start reading!

The purpose of reading clubs for kids is to get them reading so they will become better readers. But the purpose of our club is a little different. It’s to get us reading so we will become better writers.

Good readers make good writers. The more we read, the better we’ll write. This is especially true if we want to get published as children’s authors in today’s competitive market.

We need to read, read, read the books in the genre that we want to write.

We need to read, read, read, the CURRENT books in the genre that we want to experience breakthrough and get published in.

We need to read, read, read with purpose, as if we’ve signed up to take a class for on-the-job-training over the next several months.

In upcoming posts, I’ll be sharing tips on how I read with purpose and really examine what I’m reading in specific ways so that I grow as a children’s writer.
I hope you’ll share tips of your own, too!


  1. When reading for pleasure I read a bit differently than when reading as a writer. Picture books usually get both treatments, since those are my passion. Books for older children and adults get my writer’s “oh-ho!” when I see something “writerly” jumping out. I see a set up. Or a wonderful turn of phrase. And so much more. On the other hand, if something is mentioned, it better be answered or used later. If there are too many similes, I get irritated.

    As I mentioned, pb are my passion. I don’t remember the titles but years ago I read a pb that dragged on and on but it had only 248 words. The book I read after that bounced with energy. It was almost 500 words! Such a difference and it wasn’t the number of words but the choice of words and how they were put together.

    • Thanks for sharing, Mary Ann! And I’m with you…picture books rule! -Nancy

  2. I try and review three picture books a week on my blog that I randomly pick out of the library. Recently I have been drawn to specific authors i.e. Rosemary wells and Margie Palatini. The more you read the better the chances of some of the magic coming out in your stories. And what fun it is too!

  3. As a former teacher I used many books by Kevin Henkes as read alouds in the classroom. As a writer, I’m in love with his newest book called My Garden. I actually discussed it today on my own blog. This book inspired me to think outside the box. Add it to your reading list!-Mitzi

    • What a great review on your blog, Mitzi! I’m definitely adding this one to my reading list. -Nancy

  4. As an author-illustrator, I recommend not just looking at the pictures as you read but study them separately, read the pictures without using the words. It will help you to write with more depth. A well done illustration is more than a picture. It creates hooks, tension, flow, story, and emotion. It provides more information for the reader and many times secondary themes. Try reading the pictures first or picking one and spend time with it before you read the book. Look at it from an illustrators perspective.

    • Something I’ve done as a writing exercise starts with a picture book I’m unfamiliar with. I covered the text with paper using the same kine of removeable tape I use when making text dummies. Then I wrote a story to go along with the illustrations. What a surprise! Or maybe not. When I compared my story to the published version, it was similar. So Diane, this supports your comments about well done illustrations.

      • Mary Ann, what a fantastic exercise! I’m going to try this for sure! -Nancy

      • Mary Ann, can you tell us what kind of tape you use and where you get it? I’d like to get some removeable tape, too. -Nancy

      • I’m glad you like the exercise. First of all, I can’t take credit for the exercise. Stephanie Gordon gave it as homework in a facilitated workshop several years ago. I bought used books at the library sale for my project.

        As for the tape, I use is Scotch 3M Removable Magic Tape. It comes in a roll in a blue box. Staples or Office Max carry it so I imagine most stationary stores would carry it.

        I use it for more than dummies. I make my own post-its to attach notes to the back of the door for things to remember, stick notes to the dashboard of the car. It is reusable, too, when I’m feeling parsimonious.


  5. This is better than Goodreads! Cheers everyone 🙂

    • p.s. What a great idea Mary Ann. That sounds like so much fun.

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