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A New Career Has Blossomed Forth

Sometimes I think that I was born a teacher and a teller of stories. So it was almost natural that I became a teacher and enjoy all that goes with teaching the very young including of course the story telling times.

As a young teacher it was fulfillment to encourage young minds to delve further to find out answers to questions which they sought, on their own. They soon learned to read well by following along the lines of their own interests in leisure time as well as school necessaries. So I taught full time until my children were born and part time later on.

As a parent I enjoyed visiting places of interest with my family. The beauty of the changing seasons was doubly enjoyed as I responded to the questions of my own very young children. “Why are the leaves changing colors, Mommy?” or “Why are the baby rabbits in our garden born in the spring?” Why indeed?

My husband Frank and I spent much of our leisure time visiting historical spots and areas of natural beauty. We always had a keen interest in animals too. I guess that we have visited the museums of most of our nearby cities as well as zoos including the London Zoo. There was much for all of us to learn and relearn.

As a part time teacher and guidance counselor, I had the opportunity to come in contact with a very large number of children which was to prove very beneficial to me, especially in my writing for children.

I continued my education also and my main interest was in the field of learning disabilities, which I utilized also in my work in schools, institutions.

The time came when I would think about writing. Of course I would write about things that I knew – for and about children and learning. At this time I was given the pleasant opportunity to edit a historical journal for a local church. I worked together with the pastor and a wonderful group of people including the printer and learned by firsthand experience all the facets of writing for books, book design and book publishing. This was an immense help to me later as I dealt with publishers of my own children’s books.

I continued working part time as an educator and in parent organizations and I ascertained from the education of my own children and from my observations as a school professional that most children lacked an effective approach regarding how to study. My first book would be in this area, I concluded.

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I sought to devise a vehicle which would be of interest to the young people and which would stress the positive imaginative qualities of the young inquiring mind. Thus was born the idea for Reluctant Ronnie.

The theme evolved of the helpful genie who could bring boys and girls more fulfillment beginning with how to learn to be more effective learners and readers. Jimmy, the young boy in the story, in a birthday wish expresses the need to become a better reader. The genie, from the Land of Birthday Wishes, was once a reluctant learner. Thus his name became Reluctant Ronnie. As he states in the folk story, “I guess that I wasn’t always eager about learning and reading and things like that.”

“And now?” asked Jimmy.

“Well, that’s why I’m here. I’m here to answer your birthday wish, to show you how to learn.”

The genie, Reluctant Ronnie, who was once a disinterested learner himself gives Jim step by step advice to assist him to better learning and reading. He shows him the importance of reading for fun. He also gives him approaches to learning history, geography, science, mathematics and literature. It is suggested that parents and teacher read the story together with their children and discuss it with them. There are pages for the children to use (workbook pages) and a Reading for Fun chart to encourage home reading. The beautiful dark green hard cover and the colorful soft cover were printed by Northwoods Press of Stafford, Virginia.

Members of many fine organizations have sponsored the sale of Reluctant Ronnie, focusing upon the big educational problem, deficiencies in reading. Members bought the book and urged the schools to.

Reluctant Ronnie has been accepted as a book to be distributed thru the Bur. of Supplies of the N. Y. Bd. of Educ. It is being considered for curriculum inclusion also, and is encouraging much thought by educators regarding stressing the fact that “content subjects must be taught today in the light of the presence of reading deficiencies of many young people.”

Reluctant Ronnie II – On Learning How to Read will be published soon. It is similar in format but for very young beginning readers. It will also be beneficial to learning disabled individuals. I am happy about these two books which are a step in the right direction for calling attention to the fact that there are constructive approaches to this most serious problem, widespread reading deficiency.

Recently I also edited a small anthology. It was an educational and cultural presentation by a community organization, called Seeking New Horizons. I am working on another children’s book which is being considered by two publishers.

So a new career has blossomed forth for me in mid life. I would like to hear from other men and women who have had some success in new mid life careers. Get in touch with me at address below.

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Published by Marie Ballweg, Staten Island, N. Y. 10314 for friends in the NAPA and elsewhere.
Printed by Alf in Cranford, N. J.

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