No-strings-attached donations to schools? Beware!

No-strings-attached donations to schools? Beware!

          When a company offers materials, supplies or money to a school, it’s a kind gesture, a simple tax write-off and good public relations for the business, correct? Not to mention a boon to the cash-strapped school that involves no...
A writer’s perfect pause

A writer’s perfect pause

I just took a weekend pause for my birthday. And it was a perfect pause, a wonderful getaway. A cabin in the woods on an island I hadn’t visited for years, with my loving husband of 31 years. A couple of hikes, a picnic, a delicious dinner at an Italian...
How to encourage your child’s writing

How to encourage your child’s writing

Smart parents write lots of notes to their kids, and set things up so their children need to reply in writing. At school, notes often take the form of criticism. Parents can counter this association by leaving him notes to compliment him on a job well done; notes are...
Learning to write: boys versus girls

Learning to write: boys versus girls

by Pam Withers & Cynthia Gill “The largest achievement gap between boys and girls occurs in writing.” —Ralph Fletcher, Boy Writers Laura’s oldest son was in second grade when his teacher took her aside and told Laura point-blank, “Paul is getting behind in...
Writing about happy Syrian refugees

Writing about happy Syrian refugees

All you need is a box to have fun. But the three kids in this box are special. They’re recent Syrian refugees (arrived in February in Victoria, BC, Canada) who were invited to a family-day welcoming picnic on Mayne Island, BC, Canada, where I spend my summers.      As...
Sisters!

Sisters!

If I haven’t gotten much writing done lately, it’s because I was privileged to have three sisters (and two nephews) descend on me recently. It was like a “sister retreat” or partial family reunion. There are six kids in our family. I’m...