Lumos Learning: Could you please tell us more about yourself and why you decided to write stories for your kids?
George Smith: I always enjoyed my English literature classes in school and especially the classes where we were assigned to write short stories and more recently I have written some of the short stories that appear in the Lumos practice test books and also for my local community news newspaper.
Lumos Learning: Who and what inspired you to write the journey of the little red boat?
George Smith: I was on vacation at our summer house on an island on the river and I just retired from working full-time and was looking for something else to do and it occurred to me that maybe I should author my first book and self-publish it so other children could also share in the story.
Lumos Learning: Can you tell us more about the setting and the purpose of the book?
George Smith: Well the purpose is really not only to entertain my granddaughter but to also entertain other children and it kind of launched a program for me where I went to schools and would read to classrooms and also go to craft fairs and things like that to sell the book so it was a whole new experience.
Lumos Learning: Why are you so passionate about helping kids become fluent readers?
George Smith: Well as a young person I developed a reading habit early and I really enjoyed reading about other people and places and the adventures that they participated in. In the journey of the little red boat children there can learn about marine life in this particular river in main and also the emotions that the little red boat fell as she drifted down the river and also the kindness that my granddaughter extended to the little red boat once it had drifted into our dock. I just think in general that reading can bring enjoyment and learning to children and they’re both very important parts of a child’s development.
Lumos Learning: Children who have new addition to your storybook have also access to the online oral reading fluency support and can you tell us more about this module?
George Smith: This module has seven several features that will enhance the student’s ability to read accurately pronounce correctly and comprehend the material the student can read record and listen to a story for the first time and this
is called a cold reading. Then the student can listen to the story as read by an expert storyteller and can try to pick up tips on expression from the storyteller and they can also re-record this story as many times as they want which will improve presumably each time they re-read it and this is called a hot reading. Then there is an interactive quiz that tests the students comprehension of the material that’s presented.
Lumos Learning: Can you tell us more like what role does the vocabulary practice play in improving the reading fluency and how does that help like a student practice vocabulary using the Lumos Learning or fluency program?
George Smith: When a student incur encounters a word they don’t know um it may cause them to pause and will interrupt the fluency of their reading and the reason they pause is could be because they don’t know how to pronounce the word and or they don’t understand what it means and it can also in fact affect their emphasis on a word the tone that they assign or the volume if they’re reading so to help a student understand words they’re not familiar with there is a vocabulary flash cube in the Lumos product that displays several words taken from a story and for each word selected the flash cube provides pronunciation a definition an example of usage someone will speak the word and the part of speech and there’s also an exercise to match the selected words with their definitions so the student has to match each word with its definition correctly.
Lumos Learning: Children can access the read along in the online program so how does the read-along help children become better readers?
George Smith: First of all they can listen to the expert storyteller and can listen to see when there are pauses pace the pace of the story that when it’s being read pronunciation or an emphasis and they can also read along with the storyteller to practice their expression so those are the ways that the online program helps children become better all around readers.
Lumos Learning: Who can benefit from the oral reading fluency practice and will it emerge readers will be will it help emerging readers?
George Smith: Yes it’ll help emergent readers and readers for whom English is a second language not their primary language so I think it can help any reader if it’s a proficient reader already then by going through this and judging their own proficiency they can see what level they’ve reached but for an emergent reader or someone who’s just learning English this can be a great help to them also.
Lumos Learning: How can educators and parents measure the students oral reading proficiency ?
George Smith: Educators and parents can create accounts in Lumos for themselves and for their students and so they can then view their students progress when the student attempts to do certain tasks such as the cold read the hot read vocabulary comprehension. They can listen and view how proficient that student is with the different tasks they can also see a comparison between the cold read the first read that a student did and subsequent hot reads of the material so it gives them an idea of if the student’s proficiency is increasing and gives them a very good picture of where that student is relative to reading skills.
Lumos Learning: I do have a special request if you don’t mind sure would you mind reading a page from your book?
George Smith: I’ll read a few pages from the book that would be great I’ll start with the cover of the jury of the little red boat and you can see the river and you can see other boats on the river including a lobster boat since it was done in maine so I’ll show how the book begins and it begins with the little red boat we get this straight tied to its dock.
Once upon a time there was a little red boat that lived on a river on the coast of maine the little red boat was happy she belonged to a nice family who kept her tied to the dock and in the picture you could see a sailboat in the background it turns out the sailboat was the little red boat’s best friend but then a storm came and it was so severe it broke the rope that held the little red boat to the dock.
So this is the next scene where she is drifting down the river and it’s very stormy and cloudy and she’s afraid a little bit red boat was afraid because she’d never been out on the river alone she had always been safely attached to the sailboat and the sailboat and the family made sure that the little red boat was safe but this time the little red boat was alone and there was no one to protect her.
Although the rain had stopped it was cloudy and cold and there was no sun well then we pick up the story a little bit later when she meets one of several characters in the river and in this case it happens to be a seal as a little red boat floated down the river she saw a rock and sitting on the rock was a seal.
The little red boat said I’m alone and afraid please Mr. seal swim with me and keep me company in a few hours it will be dark and I will not be able to see at all but the seal said I cannot stay with you I’m hungry and I must find some fish to eat sorry and he swam away she had other encounters with other creatures or things in the river and they weren’t very friendly.
She was still sad as she voted down the river but then finally she floated into our dock where my granddaughter saw her and that’s the next picture I’ll show you and as you can see by the hearts of the picture my granddaughter was very excited to see the little boat because they didn’t have a boat so every day when grace woke up she ran to the dock to hug a little red boat and say good morning and every after every evening after dinner as the sun was going down she ran to the dock to hug a little rope red boat again and say good night well the little red boat and grandpa enjoyed the the boat and grace enjoyed it too very much.
So finally we get to the last page where grace has grown up she has her family but she still comes to the island to visit the little red boat and here’s a photo of all of them and the book ends as follows the years passed and grace grew up she went to high school and then to college but she still came to maine to visit grandpa and grandma in the little red boat. Grandpa and grandma used a little red boat too, in a few more years grace married, had her own children and she brought them to maine in the summer and they played with a little red boat they loved her too just like grace did. So would you like to have a little red boat to play with would you clean it and paint it and hug it would you make the little red boat happy maybe someday you can have a little red boat too.
Mr. George Smith, an author of Children’s book. He has written a creative children’s storybook, ‘The Journey of the Little Red Boat.’ It’s the World’s first children’s storybook with Oral Reading Fluency Support!