My name is Lynda Henney and I recently retired from the position of Literacy Coordinator for the Vernon School District (SD#22) in British Columbia. Prior to that I was a primary teacher for 25 years. I have been an Adjunct Professor for the Language and Literacy course at the University of British Columbia Okanagan and also a Faculty Advisor for teacher candidates from UBCO and Vancouver Island University.
During my time as Literacy Coordinator I was involved in a British Columbia literacy project called Changing Results for Young Readers. This project had a significant impact on my professional growth. Of particular interest to me was a presentation done by Marie Thom and Lisa Schwartz (Richmond School District) on Story Workshop. The importance of inspiring children to play with natural materials, explore their environments, and create oral stories to accompany their play was still resonating with me when I retired. I wanted to continue my exploration of these ideas and decided to write some children’s books that could be used for independent reading, reading interventions, or classroom libraries, but that would also inspire and motivate children to play. Check out the Curriculum Links page where I tell more about the Read Play Talk Write process. Read Play Talk Write
My first step in creating my books was to make my characters. I used Fimo clay to build each animal and I chose Canadian animals to link to our Science curriculum. After I made the animals, I took them out into the forests and beyond to photograph them and create little stories.
I am focusing on beginning reading because, as a teacher, I was always searching for engaging, and inspiring little books for my students and they were sometimes hard to find at the early levels.
I have also written several nonfiction books as a part of the Foxy and Friends Books collection. In my experience of working with children who struggled with learning to read, I often found nonfiction books to be the ‘hook’ needed to engage these readers. I wanted to create books that would motivate children to ask questions and read more.
In creating my books, I want to emphasize the importance of oral language and storytelling. My hope is that children will want to play in nature, create stories of their own, and find joy in learning.