Good Morning Readers,
Today I am featuring the Priorhouse Mini Interview with blogger Norah Colvin.
Norah Colvin is a life-long teacher who has worked in various educational roles, teaching both in and out of formal schooling situations. She is a poet and flash fiction writer and five years ago she set up a wonderful online site that offers a myriad of teaching resources at www.readilearn.com.au
Norah uses her blog and Readilearn website to frequently remind us to laugh a little more and live our life to its full.
Question: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Norah: Education is my life. I have spent most of it with young children, in the classroom, in the home with children and grandchildren, and in my imagination writing stories for them and creating tools to help them learn.
I often say I am a six-year-old at heart and, as A.A. Milne wrote, “I think I’ll be six now for ever and ever.”
I love children’s literature, especially picture books, and would happily spend all day reading to children.
Nothing makes me smile more readily than seeing a young child enjoying life. Nothing makes me frown more than seeing a young child’s natural curiosity being curtailed.
Did you know that Norah is the third out of of ten children?
Did you also know that Norah decided to be a teacher when she was just ten years old – and was practicing her educator skills even earlier?
Norah: I am the third of ten children. Although I often say that I decided to be a teacher at age ten, my mother may have had an inkling even earlier. When a brother, four years younger, did something “naughty”, she’d delight in reminding me that I’d enthused, “I’ll teach him,” when he was about two. She considered I had taught him very well — to be naughty. Who’d have thought?
Another thing I enjoy with what Norah does online has to do with the author interviews and children’s book reviews. For example, this recent post here shows your interview with James Solheim and your succinct review of his book Grandmas Are Greater Than Great
Question: I have been following along with your Readilearn site for years now and noticed that as of this year, 2021, that site has almost 500 resources available. Can you tell us a little more about Readlilearn?
Norah: Readilearn is a collection of lessons and activities to support teachers who work with children in their first three years of school.
The “readilearn” word was formed of three components with the ‘i’ in the middle to show the importance of the individual who is central to learning, flanked by ‘read’ and ‘learn’ as equally important to one’s education. I pronounce it as ‘ready learn’ which also refers to the lessons that are ready for teachers and to teach to students who are ready to learn.
Question: What are some tips for readers for accessing the almost 500 resources available at readilearn?
Norah: The resources are arranged into curriculum categories such as Literacy, Mathematics, Science, Craft that can be accessed from the Resources dropdown menu on the top bar or the Resources page. Each of the main categories also have subcategories. The best thing to do is to have a look around, explore a little, and try some of the free resources. If you think they are right for you and your children, you can access all the resources for an annual subscription of just A$25 (about $19-20 USD). You can also purchase resources individually but, depending on how many you purchase, the best value is with a subscription.
Some of my favourite featured resources are the stories which aim to get children talking, thinking and learning across the curriculum in ways that are meaningful and fun.
Norah, I also like those problem solving ones and I will add the link for the resources page – where folks can also sign up to receive the redilearn newsletter:
I also follow Norah’s flash fiction entries as she contributes regularly to the 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch Communications. I used to sometimes add my own flash fiction to that challenge but stopped in 2020 to work on other writing projects. However, when I did participate there, out of the many entries that came in each week, I always looked forward to Norah’s submission most (and Charli’s).
I enjoy Norah’s short fiction because she edits to give us a calm essence and smooth word flow. Everyone has a signature style in their writing. Some writers have a lot of energy, some have a fast pace while other might have a heaviness. Some authors intentionally try to make their selections “difficult to get” on the first read and others might keep things as simple as possible and merely write and post. There is so much variety and Norah’s writing usually has a bit of depth with all this calmness that usually leaves us with a learning nugget. Using fiction to pass on learning likely comes from decades of being a teacher – because educator’s just naturally plant seeds of ideas as they go about their life.
Norah uses her writing to educate. It is like a suitcase she carries with her life mission – raising awareness about investing in our children. (Because the children are our future after all.) And – quick insert here because right after I posted this I was on the “sorry…less” blog with a Rundown post (https://sorryless.wordpress.com/2021/10/22/the-rundown/ )
and there was an excellent video with a toddler running to meet her brother’s 💕and Marc @sorryless added:
“As I watched this video of little Emelia Muddamalle greeting her brothers as they walked home from school, a quote by Gandhi came to mind. If we’re to teach real peace in this world, we have to start with the kids. Amen to that.”
Not all of Norah’s fiction is about children, but much of it is. An example comes from a recent Carrot Ranch entry where she wrote about a Mud Cake Recipe (here) – check out the last two lines in this snippet I have shared below – she reminded us to let children play and explore – and such clever wording lets the reader feel like they are back in early childhood – touching the wet earth (even if someone never made mud pies – they can feel it through the details). Here is the snippet:
Another fiction piece to check out from Norah is this “young love” post here about Josh’s marriage proposal. And here is our correspondence from 2019 (it really was a delightful ending so go and check it out):
Question: What goal have you not yet achieved but are still working towards?
Norah: One day I would love to see my name on the cover as author of a picture book.
Question: What brings you the most joy?
Norah: My children, my grandchildren, other people’s children; reading and writing; problem solving.
As we wind down this post, some readers might recall the February 2017 Priorhouse post (here) where Norah Colvin was featured for her Puddles and Rainbows post. The image I used for that post is a nice one to end with because we see Norah in action:
Norah, Thank you so much for doing this mini interview for Priorhouse blog.
And thank you readers, for joining us today.
To connect – here are a few links:
- Norah Colvin Blog: https://norahcolvin.com
- Resources Site: website www.readilearn.com.au
- Twitter: @NorahColvin