Saving the Reluctant Reader

During school visits I make it a point to ask the question, "Who likes to read?" Many enthusiastic hands always shoot up, but it has never been unanimous. It doesn't matter what state I'm visiting, it doesn't matter if the school is public or private, some children admit they do not enjoy reading. What can be done to entice those children to read?

First of all, don't panic. Figure out why the child shuns reading. Start with the most basic explanation by checking for physical impairments. Perhaps the words look blurry to the child. Maybe the letters run together or get switched around. An organic problem can make reading a frustrating experience.

Take a look at the reading material that is available to the child. Books are not "one size fits all". Children have different personalities and interests. Some children enjoy fiction, while others like non-fiction. Some devour graphic novels. How-to and do-it-yourself books can be of especially high interest to elementary age children. Let your child sample a variety of genres.

Make reading a habit. It's never too soon to start reading to your child. Even if the child is too young to follow a story, hold him on your lap and read. The child will learn to associate reading with love and comfort. Continue to read aloud to your child as he grows. Chapter books make great bedtime rituals for older kids. Even independent readers can enjoy a great read-aloud.

As an author and a lover of books, I want to encourage all children to read. When I'm at a school and I encounter those kids who say they don't like reading, I tell them it's because they haven't yet discovered the right book. The right book is out there for each child. Be a hero and help those reluctant readers find that book.

My goal is to see all the hands go up when I ask, "Who likes to read?"



Premiere Magazine

Premiere Magazine included my most recent book signing for Treasure in Catclaw Canyon in their September issue. This photo from the magazine included Tracie Taylor, a long time friend and parent of a former student. Many thanks to Tracie and all the others who took time to attend. It was a fun day at the Greene County Library.



Teacher Guide Now Available in Paperback

Good news for those who prefer to hold a physical book in their hands. Treasure in Catclaw Canyon Teacher's Guide e-book is now joined by a paperback version. This teacher guide is a classroom companion for the novel Treasure in Catclaw Canyon. 

The guide includes a vocabulary list, discussion questions with an answer key for each chapter, extension activities, as well as an art and craft section.

The paperback teacher guide is available here.
Suggested for use in third through sixth grades.



Readers' Favorite Five Star Review

I awoke this morning to this wonderful review of Treasure in Catclaw Canyon from Readers' Favorite Review. 

For immediate release:
Author's new book receives a warm literary welcome.
Readers' Favorite announces the review of the Children - Adventure book "Treasure in Catclaw Canyon" by Anita Stafford, currently available at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1081739452.
Readers' Favorite is one of the largest book review and award contest sites on the Internet. They have earned the respect of renowned publishers like Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Harper Collins, and have received the "Best Websites for Authors" and "Honoring Excellence" awards from the Association of Independent Authors. They are also fully accredited by the BBB (A+ rating), which is a rarity among Book Review and Book Award Contest companies.
"Reviewed By Gail Kamer for Readers' Favorite
Treasure in Catclaw Canyon: The Legend of Sassafras House, Volume 2 by Anita Stafford is the story of a boy who misses his father and believes the best of him when that might be a questionable action. It’s a tale of stolen items and a treasure map. Kale discovers a painting in a local store. This painting was stolen and Kale believes he needs to rescue it. He believes a treasure map he has will lead to gold and thus help him pay for it. Kale is interviewed by a local newspaper about other money he found, which brings his absent father back into his life. Where has his dad been for six years and why does he show up now? Can Kale find the treasure? A unique ending awaits you.

Many children miss absent parents and wonder what they did to cause them to stay away. Treasure in Catclaw Canyon: The Legend of Sassafras House, Volume 2 by Anita Stafford is a great resource for discussing these feelings. Written in the first person, in easy to read text, the mystery of a treasure map lures in young readers. Anita Stafford connects the plot with the analogy of the domino and butterfly effects to add dimension to the storyline, along with great foreshadowing of events to come. In addition, Anita Stafford supplies a link to a teacher’s guide. I recommend Treasure in Catclaw Canyon for school counselors and for parents dealing with this issue. A wonderful story!"
You can learn more about Anita Stafford and "Treasure in Catclaw Canyon" at https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/treasure-in-catclaw-canyon where you can read reviews and the author’s biography, as well as connect with the author directly or through their website and social media pages.
Readers' Favorite LLC
Media Relations
Louisville, KY 40202


Book Reviews

An author needs reviews as much as a fish needs water. Reviews are essential in the book business. Not only do authors like to receive feedback, potential readers want to know what everyone else thinks about a book.

Even when readers love a book, the reviews may be hard to come by. This is especially true for children's books. A kid might like to leave a review, but most kids don't have the means to do so. Children's authors must depend on parents to leave a review for their child.

Sometimes parents aren't really sure what to say in a review. Honest reviews are the best. If you don't know what to say, just ask your child. Ask what he liked or didn't like about the book. Use the child's words in the review. Good or bad, the author will benefit from hearing honesty.

Most online sellers use a 5 star system for book reviews. Assigning a number of stars may be confusing to some. Here's my own general interpretation for ranking a children's book.

5 stars = I would definitely recommend this book for kids.
4 stars = Kids would probably enjoy this book.
3 stars = This is an okay book for kids.
2 stars = There's probably not much kids would like about this book.
1 star = I wouldn't recommend this book for kids.

I want to know what my readers think. Reviews are how I find out. You don't even have to buy the book to leave a review. You can review a book that you received free or checked out of a library.



Books Are Alive and Well

I was overwhelmed with the turnout at my recent book signing. One particular attendee was a young man I met last year while visiting a middle school. He told me he had read The Legend of Sassafras House, and that he wanted to buy book #2 in the series, Treasure in Catclaw Canyon. Those were sweet words to my ears.

I've heard several people complain that family members are preoccupied by video games and/or social media. I know those things can, and have, become an obsession for some. However, judging from the number of people who came to the book signing, I am confident that my community is full of readers. Before you label a person, consider that looks can be deceiving. There could be something of substance on that screen.

Although nothing can replace traditional books for me, e-books are a popular alternative. If you see me staring at my tablet or phone, I'm likely reading a book. I have a large collection of e-books in my library. I also use the Libby app to check out electronic books from the public library.

The Legend of Sassafras House and Treasure in Catclaw Canyon are available in both paperback and electronic versions. So, whether you're a reader who wants a book on a screen or one to hold in your hands, there's something for everyone. All kinds of books are alive and well.

Photo credit: Paragould Daily Press



August Book Signing

Want to know something authors fear? 

One thing is having a book signing that no one attends. I can't say this has ever happened to me, but it could. It's a nightmare-quality fear.

I'm going to take a chance that something like that won't happen, though. I'll be signing books at the Greene County Library in Paragould on Monday, August 12. I'll be there from 10:00 a.m. until 12 noon. I'll bring books 1 and 2 of the Sassafras House series. This includes The Legend of Sassafras House and Treasure in Catclaw Canyon. 

I hope old friends, new friends, relatives, and in-laws will all have a chance to attend. Bring a kid with you. These books are suited for ages 8- to 12-years. I'm looking forward to seeing you there. 📘😊