Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Big words for small readers

Lately, I have been working on the revisions for my children's book, The Yellow Rose. I gave it a complete rewrite, though some fragmentary lines from the original are in the story. I was satisfied with the new version, yet, because I knew it was a children's book (for the age 8-12 crowd), I wanted to get feedback from a child.

My oldest child is almost 9, so I asked her to give it a read.

I was concerned she might have trouble understanding what was happening in the story but, instead, she ended up being confused over some of the words. The following is the list of words she needed a definition for:


I was surprised she didn't know the meaning of the word "ashore," on account of the popular children's song, "Michael, Row Your Boat Ashore." But, there it was.

I wrote down these words and discussed with her an alternative word that might be easier for children to understand.

Also, another thing I was concerned about it the name "Schmidt." I thought it would be too hard for her to read, but it wasn't. (Perhaps she has known someone with this last name?) Nevertheless, I am still leaning towards changing that name to something simpler.

I'm glad I got her feedback on the story and will work on fixing the words she didn't understand. Even though I'm not a gardener, and not involved in any kind of gardening (yet!), I feel that a book about a rose should have some aspects of gardening which should be emphasized in the story. I'll just have to make sure it is done in a way that a child can understand.

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  • At 10:46 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Dawn I have a book called the Childrens Word book and it includes lists of words and definitions of words kids at different ages can understand. It is not a complete list of course, but every now and then when I have a question about a word being too easy or too hard, I check this book and it has always had the answer I was looking for.


    However i think Jen is a very good advisor!

  • At 7:26 AM , Blogger Dawn Wilson said...

    Thanks for mentioning that book!! I have checked it out and it looks awesome. I'll definitely get my hands on a copy soon. As for Jennifer, she definitely made me rethink the word thing. Maybe I should be clearer so a child could better understand those parts of the story. Thanks for commenting. :)


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