Rose has always been good at math. She intuitively understands abstract concepts and algebraic formulas. But she has always struggled with language arts. She was slow to talk, slow to read, and slow to grasp the structure of a sentence.
A couple of years ago I purchased Rip the Page! by Karen Benke as a gift for my daughter. I had the pleasure and the privilege of meeting Karen at Hedgebrook, a writer’s retreat on Whidbey Island in Puget Sound in the winter of 1997. Karen is a creative writing expert and an award-winning writer. She is the author of the poetry collection, SISTER, and teaches as a Poet in the School. She also offers creative writing workshops for children and adults. Although our busy schedule conflicted with the workshops Karen offered, the book is written to mirror a writing workshop. Rose dove into the workbook-style writing manual designed specifically for children. By the time she finished the book, she had improved her writing skills and increased her confidence as a writer.
She was so confident of her writing skills that she wrote a poem for me on Mother’s Day.
Mom, you are like a colorful hummingbird
Your soft wings rub against me and comfort me when I am down
Your singing is so beautiful it comforts me more
You wake me up at sunrise with your singing
Then you sit on a branch and watch me
You will never leave my side
Soon I am walking on earth and you are flying right above me
You watch me move ever so softly
You are one of the closest people in my life
You understand me like how you understand the wind
Mom, you give me strength
You are always there for me
You are very special to me
You are my mom and I LOVE YOU WILL ALL MY HEART
After reading the poem, my eyes brimmed with tears of joy and pride. I know my daughter could not have written the poem without Karen’s wonderful instructive writing guide.
If you have a child who loves to read and write, Rip the Page! is a gift that will give back to you just as it has for me through my daughter’s poem.