Norah Colvin @ Readilearn (Priorhouse Interview)

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.

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Interview

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?

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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.

I especially like the problem-solving stories Dragona’s Lost Egg and Little Koala’s Party but there are many other fun stories and lessons too.

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:

https://www.readilearn.com.au/resources/

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Norah’s Fiction

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.”

Amen indeed.

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): 

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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:

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112 thoughts on “Norah Colvin @ Readilearn (Priorhouse Interview)

  1. Hi Yvette, lovely to see Norah featured here. She is one of the first bloggers I got to know when I started blogging and I met Charli Mills of Carrot Ranch blog through her. Norah is an inspiration to teachers everywhere. I do believe her goal has been attained and she now has a number of children’s picture books with her name on them.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Robbie – how very cool that Norah introduced you to Carrot Ranch – and now that you mentioned that I think she might have introduced me to that fiction challenge as well.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Hi again Robbie
      – Norah gave me some clarity on her picture book status:

       "I had a number of little picture books published and that is true. They are little texts for beginning readers that are published by Library For All – stories I donated to the wonderful organisation. I am very proud to have them published and am delighted to be able to support such a great organisation in this way. I have also had some stories published in anthologies. However, I have not yet achieved my goal of having a picture book published by a traditional publisher. That’s still on my wish list..."
      

      Thanks Norah

      Liked by 1 person

  2. what a wonderful interview Yvette. Thank you Nora for the contribution you make to the children and keeping your 6 year old spirit alive is such a gift. I love you knew at 10 you wanted to be a teacher and were the 3rd of 10.. some would have run but your heart sure is big. My daughter is a teacher too. Blessings to you both!💖👏👏👏

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Norah – it truly was my pleasure – and your interview was in the category of folks I already know so it did change things a little on my end.
      One of my goals with my interviews was to feature some folks I have been following and connecting with for a while – and so thanks for being part of that objective!
      Also, congrats again on five years of Readilearn and having almost 500 resources there.
      🙏😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you again, Yvette. It has been a pleasure to get to know you in the blogosphere, and I appreciate your kind words about readilearn. The resources are just two shy of 500 at the moment and I hope to exceed that number very soon. 🙂

        Like

  3. What a great interview, Yvette, and thanks for introducing Norah to us. So timely are her resources to me as I am starting my journey as a substitute teacher in our local, small school district soon. Her resources look great!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Terri – well that is good timing as you are going to be doing some substitute teaching – and wow – I did not know you had that lined up. In 2005 I did some substitute teaching in our county and have enough notes to write a small book – but not everything turns into a book- lol!
      And I hope you find lots of resources – from readilearn and elsewhere 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, in the interview, Hugh brought up bullying as he was bullied when he was young. I was bullied after we moved to the U.S. from Canada, not only by my classmates but by two of my teachers. I liked chatting with Norah.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. That is for sure and I could sympathize with Hugh, having endured it myself and not only by peers. It was difficult at that time as I was 10 years old and this abuse went on until I was 12.

          Liked by 2 people

  4. What a wonderful interview. I don’t know how teachers do all that they do, so they definitely are treasures of the special kind! Thank you for introducing us to her! 💕

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Thank you for sharing your interview with Norah! She sounds like an amazing teacher that any kids would love to know. I’m sure she has touched so many children’s lives with her teaching. And your organization of this interview with conversation highlights emphasized made it a smooth read. I just checked out the website and it is a happy place for teachers…my heart started racing looking at the resources. lol. I know…I’m the type who gets excited to read textbooks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Really appreciate your feedback and cheers to Norah for her love for teaching and still contributing to the area in her seasoned years by offering resources. And I am not surprised you were enjoying the resources because you have that extra large sized teacher’s heart too!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome! I was happy to read and leave feedback. It’s meticulously written; how do you do these? It must take a lot of time and energy to do them, but I hope you know it’s appreciated.
        Teaching is a hard job and having good resources to help you an asset. Gotta say that homeschooling is hard business, especially with the boundaries of time and workload. It’s a work in progress for all of us.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Thank you so much for your lovely comment about the interview. I agree. I think Yvette did a great job. I’m also pleased to hear you say that my website looks like a happy place for teachers. You’ve made my day. 💖

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you Norah! I’m happy to know about your website. Love to see how concepts are covered in different ways. I like the worksheets about author and illustrator highlights…kids get more interested in the writing and illustrating process that way.
        Agree. Yvette did a fantastic job with the interview!
        Have a great weekend and happy teaching.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I agree. Nowhere else! Here, we can meet with friends at any time of the day or night, not care about whether we’re dressed or not (I always am) and where people are located. Finding like minded friends has never been so easy. 💖

          Like

        2. I agree! When I first started blogging, I didn’t understand what bloggers meant by community but now I get it. You’re not writing into vastness…they’re interesting and creative people on the other end! I’ve been lucky to have met Yvette and she’s been an encourager and helping me meet other like-minded people.
          I hope you have a wonderful start to the weekend! Take care Norah and stay well. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        3. I agree. Yvette is amazing. She is a great writer and offers so much support and encouragement to others. Without her, I’d have not met you! 💖 Have a great week.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jo- I could never really visit the other contibyyirs there either – which is partly why I stoooed adding there – but they have a nice group and Sherri Matthews was a regular for years – do you recall those days?
      Anyhow – Charli has such a passion for writing that I think when she was born the nurse put a journal in her crib to start incubating her to write – hahaha

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Yvette, I love this interview. Norah is one of the finest people there is in the world. She is supportive and giving and full of energy. It’s so great to see her featured here. I’m adding a link to my Story Chat page to this post so that when people want a sample of you, they see this wonderful interview and can take off from there. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Author D Avery
      “Well that there were some purdy fine words about our friend Norah”
      that was my attempt to do western – hahah – because whenever I see your name I think of the country kind of slang you have mastered
      🤠

      And I like how you summed up Norah’s roles
      -educator, parent, grandparent, friend, poet, writer, so many things- well, she’s a great big-hearted person.”
      And glad to be her blog friend in this here blogosphere

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Hmm. Yes, language and grammar are going south since I let those wild western characters loose. I hope I am not seen as a one trick pony. 🙄 But in plain English, Norah is indeed a good person. It was a pleasure to see her featured here and to learn more about her.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. hi There – it did turn out to be a type of celebration and I am pleased because Norah was so awesome to work with on this – I had it in a folder for a while and earlier this year clobbered me! Blah! And so she was delightful to work with and I also really hope more folks check out readilearn resources
      📚🙏☺️

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi and thanks so much for reading and taking the time to leave a comment – it really is fun to get to know bloggers more through posts like this
      Take care
      📚☺️

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Number three of ten! No wonder you have experience with children! I love your cute lesson ideas and short stories, Norah. How fun to learn even more about you.

    Like

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