Need Help with Homeschool Language Arts? Try LAMP

Need Help with Homeschool Language Arts? Try LAMP

LAMP stands for Language Arts Mentor Program, an exciting new option for parents using BookShark who may feel intimidated about instructing their children in writing. Through the online support of writing coach Dave Myers, students get the feedback they need on their compositions so they can grow as proficient writers. Hear Dave's story from public school English teacher to homeschool dad and his thoughts on the superiority of homeschooling. 

Learn more about LAMP here

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Podcast Transcript

Janna Koch (00:36): Welcome to Homeschool Your Way. I'm Janna Koch, your host and BookShark's community manager. In today's episode, we explore BookShark's LAMP, language arts mentor program. It's an exciting new option for parents using BookShark who may feel intimidated about instructing their children in writing assignments.

Janna Koch (00:57): This episode features the mentor himself, Dave Myers. He'll share why homeschooling was an amazing experience for his family and why after retiring from public education, he continues to assist families in their homeschool journey. Dave, thank you so much for being here.

Dave Myers (01:15): Well, thanks for having me Janna.

Janna Koch (01:17): In a way to introduce yourself to our listeners, why don't you go ahead and just talk about how you got connected or into homeschooling first, personally, and then we'll jump into BookShark's LAMP mentor title.

Dave Myers (01:30): Sure. So my wife was actually sort of the key for us to hop into homeschooling. So both my wife and I actually were public school teachers and she had taught for about five years. And we started having a family and raising kids and we got to a place where they needed to start their educational process.

Dave Myers (01:51): And so my wife was feeling like homeschooling was becoming an option for her. And so she brought the idea to me and what I thought about it. And obviously, that was a little bit of an unusual position because we're public school teachers. Well, I was at the time and she had stepped out to raise our kids.

Dave Myers (02:10): And so, but we just really, we were convicted of values really is sort of what it came down to for us, was we just wasn't, we weren't sure that the school was going to represent our values and what we wanted for our kids.

Dave Myers (02:27): And so that led us to make the choice to start to homeschool. And so my wife, God bless her, hopped in both feet and learned on the fly. And so we had four kids. And we homeschooled my older two up through eighth grade, and then they entered at high school to the local public high school.

Dave Myers (02:49): And I had two kids that were still in junior high when my wife, she transitioned back actually to the classroom and went back to teaching. And so for a period of probably about a decade to 12 years. I'd have to go back and think that through.

Dave Myers (03:05): But we were in the homeschooling realm and our family just loved it. One of the things that we found was, and especially we knew this very well being teachers was that the public school is very regimented. And it has to be because you're dealing with mass number of people and mass number of students.

Dave Myers (03:25): And so to be able to homeschool, there was like this huge freedom that we felt to be able to hop in and to educate that way. And so we would be taking trips and my wife would prepare books to read on where we were heading or geography would get tied in to where we were taking our trips.

Dave Myers (03:44): And so natural life became a textbook for us. And we would do all sorts of historical sites and visits to different places. And so that was, to me, that was just so freeing to be able to just live life and have those experiences be part of the educational process for our kids. So that was really wonderful. We loved our time that we had with our kids when we were homeschooling, for sure.

Janna Koch (04:11): I, as a parent who is not classically trained in education, love that you bring legitimacy to homeschooling when you say that you and your wife were public educators, but saw the value in homeschooling, not because the public education is a bad option, but because it was just a better option for your family. And there is nothing like learning in life as opposed to learning inside of a classroom.

Dave Myers (04:36): Right.

Janna Koch (04:37): They're just two definitely different styles of learning. And so.

Dave Myers (04:41): Well, it definitely sticks better. If you are on site seeing a historical site, my kids are going to have memories of that versus a textbook that they may have read or talked about. And it just doesn't stick as well.

Janna Koch (04:53): Yeah. Which is one thing I love about BookShark. If you can't get out there, right? You can at least read about it in a story form so that you're making connections emotionally about these characters in these places. That does help it stick just a little bit more so.

Dave Myers (05:09): Sure.

Janna Koch (05:09): Yeah. What an exciting time for you and your family. Let's move into this week's homeschool hack. What do you have for our listeners that they can hopefully apply or at least consider that worked for you and your family?

Dave Myers (05:22): Sure. Well, I will not take credit for this at all. I'm going to pass this on to my wife because this is just how she operated. So my wife is a wonderful organizer and she, one of the things that she would do is on a Sunday evening, she would sit down and just map everything out for the week.

Dave Myers (05:40): So she would sit down and get the books out and see what the projects were that they needed to work on for the week. And she would get that stuff all done. And then like this, like in BookShark, for instance, there are from a writing standpoint, in the language arts, you'll have pre-writing activities to do at the beginning of the week.

Dave Myers (05:59): And then by the end of the week, the kids will have a final project that they're going to turn in. And so as a parent, my wife would always try to see what was the starting point for the week, and then where were we headed for the week. So that as a parent, you actually understood the continuum and day by day of what was going to go on.

Dave Myers (06:19): So that's, I'm going to say that's her tip, that she would just say, sit down, take a little bit of time, map things out, get things organized, take a look at it. Then it just gives you the ability to have a better conversation as a parent and leading your kids in their education. And it just, to be organized in anything obviously is a plus. And so if you can do that, I think that would help tremendously.

Janna Koch (06:43): Well, knowing where you're going is very important in life, whether it is driving directions. Or if you're at the store, knowing what you're going to get, because you have to know the ingredients you're going to buy in order to prepare the meals. Right? So.

Janna Koch (06:57): Yeah.

Dave Myers (06:58): So the other thing is, and of course this is the beauty of homeschooling and even in the classroom when I was teaching in the public schools. So it's also super fun to be able to deviate. And when you have moments that pop up and your kids bring up questions and they sort of seem like a sidetrack, oh, those are the best conversations and the things that kids remember.

Dave Myers (07:19): So you may have a curriculum that says, here's our starting point, here's our ending point, but you have the flexibility to deviate in that. And that's a beautiful thing. And like I say, those are the best conversations. Those are real, those are authentic learning moments because the kids interesting and they're sort of directing.

Janna Koch (07:36): Yeah. Those are the ones that we want to capitalize on.

Dave Myers (07:40): Right.

Janna Koch (07:41): And not just dismiss because it's not part of what we had planned. That is really interesting about homeschool. What I have found as a homeschool parent, I really have to get out of my own way.

Janna Koch (07:51): I have to put aside sometimes. I like to say, I like to have a general outline, but I don't like to have it mapped out so detailed that I can't deviate.

Dave Myers (08:01): Right.

Janna Koch (08:01): Because my personality would like to just, "Okay, that's nice, but that's not what we're talking about right now." But knowing that I can have that flexibility and go, "Okay, maybe not." It doesn't all the time lead to the final destination, but it's showing my children that they can ask questions and that they can work through their thoughts, even if they don't pertain necessarily to what we're talking about.

Janna Koch (08:25): I think it's just a process. The other day, my girls say, "Why do you talk to yourself when you're working something out?" And I said, "Well, that's my process. I don't need anyone to answer me. I just need to hear my thoughts out loud." For some reason, that just brings legitimacy to me as a person.

Janna Koch (08:39): So I have to remember that for my students too, that maybe just getting those questions that as a teacher, I'm sure you've heard just off the wall things that have nothing to do with anything. And I think as parents, we kind of get frustrated with that because we have a plan. But we too need to embrace that and sometimes get out of our own way so that those authentic moments can happen.

Dave Myers (09:01): Right. And one of the things they say from a student standpoint is the best students are inquisitive. Right? They just ask question after question, after question. And as a parent or a teacher, that might drive you a little bit crazy. But really that's awesome because that kid's engaged and that's the key to being successful. So that's, you know?

Janna Koch (09:22): Yeah.

Dave Myers (09:23): Great traits in the kid.

Janna Koch (09:24): Good. I think I may hashtag that, engagement is the key to success. I like that. We might have to make a poster.

[commercial break]

Janna Koch (10:51): So you are now what we consider BookShark's LAMP mentor. Can you just explain first of all, what LAMP is and how you fit into that?

Dave Myers (11:02): Sure. So my path, I'll give you a little bit of background into this. So my wife currently is the head or the director of a partnership program in Michigan. And Michigan has come up with a way to basically partner with homeschool parents. And so they are able to still homeschool, but they can also work with the public school at the same time.

Dave Myers (11:27): And for instance, they're able to take college courses. We have a fifth year college program that the kids can sign up when they're older. We have electives that we offer for the kids, so they can come in and take electives from the partnership.

Dave Myers (11:42): But at the same time, they're able to take, we offer BookShark at our public school system. And that's how I got engaged in this is my wife was offering BookShark as an option for parents if they were looking for a curriculum.

Dave Myers (11:57): And there's a lot of different curriculums that are out there, or some parents go it alone and they grab a little from this and grab a little from that. And so there's a lot of different ways to do it.

Dave Myers (12:09): But three years ago, when her program started to be established, they were looking for a person to grade out their language arts portion of BookShark. And they were doing the same for the other core subjects too, for science and history and math.

Dave Myers (12:25): And I stepped in and it actually was part of my public school duties for a portion of my day. And so everything is online and the kids were using an LMS, learning management system. And so every week they're submitting their work. And I'm a language arts guy. And so one of the things that happens, that's unique to language arts is there's so many moving parts that a lot of people feel very uncomfortable.

Dave Myers (12:54): Parents might feel comfortable up through sixth grade handling their curriculum or maybe eighth grade, but sometimes people get to a point where they just feel like their own skillset has maxed out and they're not comfortable going up to a higher level, whatever that may be.

Dave Myers (13:10): So that's where I come in. And basically, I'm the language arts mentor. And so what that means is the kids, they'll go through the BookShark curriculum. And they have different novels that they read or short stories that they read or poems. There's all sorts of different aspects that they'll read.

Dave Myers (13:31): And every week there's grammatical issues that the kids are being given that they have to work through. And as well as a writing project in some capacity. And again, there's so many moving parts, it's not like science, you have a right answer. You can look and say, "Okay, here's the right answer.

Dave Myers (13:49): Okay. Moving on." Or math is that way. You can look at it and say, "Well, I know you didn't get the right answer. So somewhere in the process, it wasn't." Those are tangible, really easy to see. And what happens with language arts is you're dealing with communication and words.

Dave Myers (14:04): And so there's all sorts of different ways that you can communicate the same idea, whether that's spoken or whether that's in writing. And so there's a lot of parents that feel like they want assistance with somebody who's more trained in manipulating language and working with language.

Dave Myers (14:22): And so that's where I came in. And so I started doing that about three years ago. I retired from the public school system just last year, but I kept on working for BookShark in this capacity. And I just, I love the BookShark program. So to me, one-. I'll share a fun moment with you.

Dave Myers (14:39): So when I was first getting started with BookShark, my wife's facility got all of the students orders in. They had all of the boxes, and so they had to organize everything. And so I happened to come in from my school day and I was wandering through, and I see all of the different books scattered all over the place.

Dave Myers (14:59): And everyone was organized by a different level, this is level A, or this is level D or whatever it might be. And I just started to scan the levels of what was there. And the book pile was big. It was tall. And so I was like, "Okay. Well, what is this? Is this a compilation of a couple of different levels?"

Dave Myers (15:23): And I'd look at, I'd be, "No. That's one level." So in my experience in the public school teaching, we would get through about four novels in a year. And we were reading other things, short stories or poems, or expository text.

Dave Myers (15:37): But the volume of what was there for the kids in BookShark was triple or quadruple the amount of what we would get in a normal public school setting. And so to me, and I started looking at what were the titles, what are the kids reading.

Dave Myers (15:54): And so I'm looking at this and I'm going, in my brain I'm going, "Well, wow. This is really good quality literature. And the amount of literature that the kids are getting through is fantastic."

Dave Myers (16:05): So as I started to get into this and do the mentor program, I'm on the other side receiving kids writing. And I'm looking at the opportunities every week for the kids to write. And again, the amount of opportunities that the kids had to write was exceeded way beyond what I would've been able to cover in a public school realm.

Dave Myers (16:30): And you're not talking apples to apples and oranges to oranges. And you're looking at your kid that you're working with versus me working with 30 kids in a classroom.

Dave Myers (16:42): And so I just thought that through, and I was like, "Wow, look at what this kid can cover because of the individual attention, the time that they have available, you don't have all of the other distractions that are surrounding a traditional classroom.

Dave Myers (16:58): And you are reading three or four times as much as my students would at a public school. You're looking at writing opportunities." Similarly, they're getting a lot more writing opportunities and doing different things that we would never be able to do.

Dave Myers (17:12): And so it was just exciting. I sat there and I just scanned the room and my mind was just like, "Wow, look at this." So, and I hopped in with the grading of it, and I've been doing it, at this point, I've been doing it for three years and one year full time. Well, for the LAMP mentor role this past year after I retired.

Janna Koch (17:32): I think it's interesting that as a teacher, you look at all that and you get excited, right? But as a parent, when that box comes, I mean, there could be almost tears when you think about the amount of information that is going to be covered. And so when I am talking with parents and advising them, I'm very quick to point out that it is only four days a week.

Janna Koch (17:57): I know that it can seem very overwhelming, especially for parents who come from a public education, public education mind. And so like you said, you remember maybe reading four books a year, and now you're asking your seven year old to go through eight to 10, how is that possible? There's so much flexibility in that, right?
Dave Myers (18:17): Right.

Janna Koch (18:17): We have a schedule for four days, but there were times for my girls, I had to schedule it over six or seven days. Break it up just a little bit more. Not because they couldn't do it, but because I didn't want them to feel overwhelmed. Right? So.

Dave Myers (18:31): Right. Well, and the beauty of homeschooling again is that this is normal life. And so we've got other things going on around us, whether it's family or community things that we're involved in. So, and it is, I love the four day program aspect. I think that's perfect, to be honest with you.

Dave Myers (18:50): It allows you some flexibility and you can juggle your days and you can, if you're really in, if your student's really in the mode, "Hey, let's keep on rolling. You can read more if you'd like today." And the beauty of what I saw was the quality of the literature that was presented because it's really high interest stuff.

Dave Myers (19:08): And to me, that's always, throughout my entire career, that's always been a core value of mine. Is that if I'm going to ask a kid to read, or we want a kid to be a better reader, let's give them something that they're interested in. Why does it have to be painful or why does it have to be boring? If I can just throw that out there. Right?

Janna Koch (19:26): Mm-hmm.

Dave Myers (19:26): And so for me, as I'm scanning the text, I'm like, "Oh, these are just such good reads." And so it's really fun to watch the kids get into it. And I can tell through the quality of the answers that I get from the kids too as the whole, how much they're enjoying the book.

Dave Myers (19:44): And it's really fun for me because I actually, it's online, but I still have the opportunity to engage. I can comment on anything, whether it's through writing or whether it's the grammatical stuff. I am constantly leaving notes along the way. And that's part of the beauty of... For me, I had a mom this year.


Dave Myers (20:04): I thought this was super interesting, because I never thought about it this way. But she said that she had been homeschooling her son and their relationship was at odds with each other because he didn't feel like mom was qualified to give him the appropriate feedback to his writing activities and whatnot.

Dave Myers (20:26): And it caused friction amongst them. And it was just a daily battle. And so I never really thought about it, but just having an outside person looking at it. She wrote me a couple of times during the course of the year. She's like, "I cannot tell you how much this has improved my relationship with my son because I'm no longer the one who's giving him the feedback." She could have said the exact same thing as.

Janna Koch (20:53): Right.

Dave Myers (20:54): I am, right? Could have been the exact same thing. But because I'm not her, he's able to just listen and take it as constructive criticism and not be offended. I just thought that was super interesting, because that was an aspect that I had never thought of before.

Janna Koch (21:08): Yeah. And it's interesting with different children. So I have three, my first two are twins. We never had that tension at all. It was like, "Okay, fine. I'll change it. I'll fix it. Thank you." Maybe not thank you in the end, but.

Janna Koch (21:22): But there wasn't any tension. With my youngest, it's totally different. And when I mark something, it's like a personal dig on who she is.

Dave Myers (21:34): Right.

Janna Koch (21:34): And I don't know if that's just the heart, her heart towards me. She just needs me to be her mom, not the person who... you know? Although I want to push her to be better. Right? To be.

Dave Myers (21:45): Right.

Janna Koch (21:46): To be the best version of her, not better, the best version of her. I think she feels like I'm pushing her to be better, like I don't think she's good enough.

Janna Koch (21:53): And so these are things that we don't necessarily think about until there's another option and it's like, "Oh." Ours was math. So as soon as I found a program where we could put, she was getting corrected from a computer program instead of me, oh my gosh. It was like night and day, like-.

Dave Myers (22:11): Awesome.

Janna Koch (22:12): There was no emotion attached to it, right?

Dave Myers (22:14): Right.

Janna Koch (22:14): No value of good or bad. And I think having an outside person, it can be very helpful that way, because you're not commenting on the person that they are, you're commenting on the work that was submitted.

Dave Myers (22:26): Right.

Janna Koch (22:26): Where a parent, it could be interpreted as, "You just don't think I'm good enough. I'm never going to be good enough."

Dave Myers (22:32): Right.

Janna Koch (22:32): And as a parent, that is heartbreaking because you see your child struggling with that. And I kept saying, "How can I say it differently? How?" And I just, I can't separate. With that child, I could not separate it in her mind.

Janna Koch (22:44): And so it was just better to find the outside source. That leads me to my next question. When you are doing this program, what are some of the things that you see that children improve upon as they're going through the 36 weeks in writing? Right?

Janna Koch (22:57): So you get submission week one. And then kind of just walk me through. And obviously, every child is different and every level is different, but I'd like the audience to just kind of hear why having this program in their homeschool with BookShark, it could be very beneficial for them.

Dave Myers (23:16): Sure. So this is my English nerdy side coming out now. So, and then this goes back to the excitement on seeing the books too. That's the English nerdy side too. But yeah. So it varies on the level of what we're talking about as to the type of improvements that you're going to see.

Dave Myers (23:37): I would say, I'm just going to use the word structure. Okay. Structure is one of the things that kids struggle with the most. And when I mean structure, it can go back to the place of literally how they develop their sentences. Right?

Dave Myers (23:54): So at a younger level, I might be seeing kids who their sentence structure was really not great when they started. And a lot of the grammatical lessons that tie in, and we're talking about writing, but usually what happens is the grammatical lesson for the week is also incorporated into the writing.

Dave Myers (24:13): So there's usually a rubric and that'll be a piece of the rubric. Hey, did the student do X, Y or Z? Right? So they're connecting the grammar to the writing, which is really good. And so for a younger kid, it might be literally just the sentence development.

Dave Myers (24:29): If they're at a place where the sentence development is pretty okay, then we start to see progression like with paragraphing. We'll see kids that when you're younger, okay, a paragraph is maybe three or four sentences. Right?

Dave Myers (24:43): But when I have a level J student, that's a high schooler, well, that no longer applies. But I'm still seeing a structural development. And so we've shifted from, let's say a three to five sentence paragraph to a five to seven sentence paragraph.

Dave Myers (24:58): And then we start to get at the upper levels, as you go through your progression, you start to get into lengthier writings. But there's still structural issues that are in place, like what do we do with an introduction?

Dave Myers (25:10): What strategies do I have that I can use for a good quality introduction to gather interest for a reader and to get them excited to read my paper? And so again, we're still dealing with structural issues like, "Okay, here are your options for an introduction or a closing or the body."

Dave Myers (25:28): And the thing is what-. And I want to make sure I throw this in there too. So in that aspect, I'm talking about essay writing, but there's a lot of creative writes along the way too, so there's a nice mix there's in there that are research based and the kids will have anywhere from four to six weeks to complete those.

Dave Myers (25:47): But at the same time, you'll have other weeks where all they're going to do is write a very simple poem. They may have a short story that they're writing. It might be as simple as a couple of paragraphs to a page to two pages.

Dave Myers (25:59): There's really a nice mix. And I just appreciate having those as options so that the kids stay fresh. And again, going back to the word engaged, right? That's one of the things with working with kids is you constantly want to find a new way.

Dave Myers (26:16): It might even be the same thing that you're teaching, but let's find a new way to get there. And I feel like BookShark does a really nice job of providing different avenues for the kids to write and to get there.

Dave Myers (26:27): So I would say that the greatest area though, that I see improvement with is really organization and structural issues. But that's as a technical writer. So like I say, there's a lot in language arts. I always say that the very, very first half of what you have to do is you have to know what you're talking about. If you don't know what you're talking about, the other technical aspects really don't matter. Right?

Janna Koch (26:54): Yeah.

Dave Myers (26:55): So regardless of whether you are writing a short story and you're making it up or a poem, one of the nice things that BookShark does is they often will have some sort of a pre-write, whether it's an outline or a mind map or whatever it is, and it just helps the kids to get organized.

Dave Myers (27:12): And so they really emphasize the writing process, which is huge. Because at the end of the day, and I know that, I've been in education for over 30 years now, I've never read a perfect paper. And I know that may sound like, "Really, what do you mean in?" No, there is no such thing as a perfect paper. You could do it differently. It could be expressed different ways. So what you do is you want to make sure that, is it a clear message, do you know what you're talking about, have you developed the idea so that... I always tell my students that it's got to be easy reading for the reader. That's the goal is that when you know that you've written very well, when that reader can read your writing and they don't have to go back a whole lot and reread sections, and it's just seems easy to them.

Dave Myers (28:02): When you get to a place where it's easy reading, you've done an awesome job as a writer. But there's no, to me, there's no perfect paper that's out there. And of course, you got a lot of different writing styles.So I'm obviously focused on if it's content based, if it's coming from some literature, well, of course they have to understand what they've read first, because they're going to take those concepts and then plug it into whatever the writing assignment might be.

Dave Myers (28:30): So there's a lot of different aspects to that. And so again, going back, you see structural improvement, but you also see idea improvement. And I see a lot of kids that learn how to start to really use the writing process well. I'll see kids at the beginning of the year, because BookShark will provide them multiple opportunities to revise. And at the beginning of the year, I'll see students that they write a rough draft and it's the same exact thing as what I see for a final draft. And so part of my job is to step in and say, "Hey, I like where you started with this original draft, but there's some things that we can do to make this better," and then give them the guidance.

Dave Myers (29:18): Right? And then to get them to understand this is a continuous process. And so yeah, there's a lot of different things that I do. And it's sort of magic to be honest with you. But you really do see the ideas develop, the structure develops. I like when I get to the place where I can start to talk about the word choice with the kids like, "Hey, I like what you did, but what do you think about trying a different word in this spot?" And I'm not going to do that with everyone and I'm not going to do that with the younger kids, especially.

Janna Koch (29:49): Sure.

Dave Myers (29:50): As they're just learning structure. But that's a really fun place to be is when I get writers that are like that and now we start to refine things. Yeah. That's really fun.

Janna Koch (30:00): Yeah.

Dave Myers (30:00): That's the English nerdy thing again.

Janna Koch (30:03): That's why it's really fun for you.

Dave Myers (30:05): Right. Exactly.

Janna Koch (30:06): And we give this option to parents so that you can have fun because.

Dave Myers (30:10): Right.

Janna Koch (30:10): It sounds a little daunting to me as a parent.

Dave Myers (30:13): Yeah. It might be like pulling teeth for others.

Janna Koch (30:16): Mm-hmm.

Dave Myers (30:17): Yeah. One of my favorite things is to take a look at where the kids started at the beginning of the year and then look at where they ended. You just, you can't help but see the growth. It's really fun.

Janna Koch (30:27): Yeah. Well, in closing Dave, what do you think would be a good takeaway for parents? So they have this option. And maybe our listeners aren't even using BookShark, but maybe there's something as the public educator of 30 years that geeks out about literature and writing, what are some parting words you have for our parents that could encourage them in this process?

Dave Myers (30:53): Sure. Well, the first thing that I would say is whatever the literature is that you're going to hop into is for it to be engaging and for the kids to have an interest. And there is nothing wrong, if you know that you have a kid that has a specific interest, there's nothing wrong with gauging your literature to that area of interest. That's actually fantastic. And the more a kid reads, like what you were just mentioning really, I just love seeing kids read. Because, and I've always said this as a teacher, if you can read, you don't need me, you can teach yourself anything. And so when a kid starts to read and they take that on for themselves, that's a thing of beauty. If you have a kid that's struggling in reading, let them. If they like auto mechanics or if they like working with their hands or if they are more of a farm kid.

Dave Myers (31:45): And okay, find stories, find short stories, find novels [inaudible 00:31:50], find anything that will tap into that. Because if you can get them reading and they start to enjoy it, what's going to happen is that their horizon of reading is going to expand. And what's really fun is they're going to start to see that their knowledge base almost subliminally increases. They don't even recognize that they're learning a context that maybe other people don't know. And then you'll start to, you'll get into other social settings and a kid will start to pop up like, "Oh, I know about this because I read." And where other kids may not have.

Dave Myers (32:22): But I would definitely tap into their areas of interest from a literature standpoint. And the other thing, and that's not to say, there's something to be said too about exploring new reads. It may not be something that you've tried before, but let's see. Reading opens up the world to places that you may never get to go to. Right?

Janna Koch (32:46): Mm-hmm.

Dave Myers (32:46): And this might be the only chance I have to ever go to Peru or China or whatever it might be. Right? And so that's fun too. And so I think that variety is good. You don't have to get stuck in [inaudible 00:33:01]. We'll start here because I know you're interested, but then we evolve and we develop from that. And I would also suggest the same sort of thing from a writing standpoint, is find a way to tie it into something that the kids already interested in. So they might be reading a novel that's really outside of their normal everyday experience. But maybe there was one point in that book that they just questioned or had an intriguing thought on. Let's take that one thing and let's see what we can do with it. Because oftentimes, and I've always said this with writing, it's all about the idea. Don't ever settle for a bad idea for writing. And if you are just trying to write to get it over with and to be done with it, you're sort of missing the point. So take the time to slow it down.

Dave Myers (33:55): And this is a huge thing for me. With writing, I was always very, very slow at the beginning of a writing assignment because I wanted to explore a bunch of different options and then let the kids have choices to narrow it down as to where they wanted to go with it. So they feel the autonomy. They feel like they're in charge of the learning, which is also fantastic. Because now they're owning it for themselves. That if I can get that kid to find one thing in a book, maybe the rest of it was irrelevant, but this one idea really stuck out. Okay, let's play with that and let's see if we can get the format or the question of what you're being asked to address, let's find a way to meld these together so that you're interested.

Dave Myers (34:36): And what happens is now the kid's voice starts to really come alive because they care about it. And as soon as they care about it, the writing and the quality of the writing is a hundred percent better than if they're just randomly fulfilling a goal or objective that mom or dad has for the week, "Let's get this done." Right? Because they care about it.

Janna Koch (34:58): Yeah. Well, Dave, you are clearly gifted at what you do because I'm excited to go write something now, just having spoken with you for this time. I do appreciate you coming on. I appreciate your partnership with BookShark and that you took the time to explain a little bit more what LAMP is for BookShark and our programming. But I know that parents and listeners who are going to stumble upon this will get something maybe inspired to find that niche for their child to start reading and finding connection and literature for those kids who say they don't like to read. And maybe we've even inspired some parents who would say they don't like to read, that they may find that they have not missed their opportunity in life, but they can also become readers as well. Thank you so much.

Dave Myers (35:48): Oh. Well, thanks for having me on, Janna.

Language Arts Mentor Program (LAMP) - Online TutoringLanguage Arts Mentor Program (LAMP) - Online Tutoring