Articles tagged "learning"

Guest Blog: Using imitation to learn writing skills

Did you know that many famous writers improved their writing skills by copying the work of others? But even if you do not plan to become a professional writer, being able to write well is an important skill that you should have.

One of these writers is the well-known Robert Louis Stevenson who decided to copy word for word the great works of writers before him, so that he can learn how to really write. He read a passage twice and then tried to reproduce it from memory. It took a lot of work until he was able to read lengthy passages and reproduce them without a flaw.

How can copywork help you become a better writer?

Improving your style

Copywork will help you notice the differences in styles and their unique and subtle characteristics, which in time will become part of your own style.

Improving word choice and syntax

You will start noticing how great writers carefully chose and arranged words to achieve maximum impact. Whenever you feel that your writing starts getting a little boring, do copywork with the authors you admire to get better at streamlining your own.

 Improving paragraphs

One of the main problems I had was with organizing paragraphs and making the transition between them. Copywork gives you a view on how great authors organize their thoughts.

 Improving spelling, punctuation, and grammar

By copying the work of established writers, that has been rigorously proofread and edited, you will practice your spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

Improving memory and focus

If you adopt Stevenson’s method, you will definitely improve your memory and your focus. You need good cognitive strength to be able to read a whole paragraph and then write it from memory word for word. When I first tried doing this, it was a complete failure. Before my self-publishing career kicked in, started with one sentence and then slowly progressed.

How to Get Started

First, you have to choose a writer that you admire and whose style inspires you. I recommend you to choose authors from both fiction and non-fiction, so that you become familiar with both styles. Start copying them using a pen and paper not typing on your computer. Studies have shown that handwriting offers a multitude of benefits for your brain and overall health, also helping you think clearer and learn better.

I advise you to start with shorter passages or only one sentence and then slowly increase to longer pieces. If you start with long and complex paragraphs, you will burn out and become frustrated. You can start with aphorisms, scripture verses, and poems and then move to short stories and whole books.

The secret is to do this every day, just like journal writing. I usually do this in the morning, before I start my writing sessions.

Do not think that anyone can do copywork and that it’s just a waste of time. You will see its benefits only if you put in time and effort.

Kira Carr is wedded to her job as a freelance writer and blogger. She creates many amazing posts regarding helpful techniques & strategies for new bloggers and freelancers. This girl is a translator by education. She goes mad of reading American modern literature.


Guest Blog: Learning about America’s Presidents

Written by former advertising executive turned TV producer, Toni Steedman Zelickson, and illustrated by nationally renowned caricature artist, Jeff Mangum, “The 45 Presidents” is an 84-page, large format activity book featuring a caricature of each president, presidential trivia, First Lady matching activities, and other iconic images such as Air Force One, the White House, and Mount Rushmore. “The 45 Presidents” book is also part of a multi-media trio that includes a new original song and music video by the Raggs Band, the Emmy-Award winning characters from the Raggs children’s TV series.

Early this year, “45 Presidents” was awarded a Silver IPPY from the Independent Publishers Association and handpicked by, “The 45 Presidents” placed second in the multi-media category from a field of nearly 5,000 worldwide entries across all categories!

Jeff & Toni

The book is a companion to the multi-media offerings Raggs presents, in the form of audio (a extensive library of over 300 tracks) and video located at Kids can have fun learning about the history of American Presidents, with fun facts, illustrations, and a historical timeline. Summer is here, and it may be tough to think about learning with the sunshine and vacations on the horizon, but now is the time to get ready for the fall and keep your kids interested and excited to learn about the history of the USA’s leaders!

The accompanying music videos are free-to-view on YouTube, and supplement the book with more ways to learn about the Presidents. You can find the videos at the book’s home page,

Raggs is an Emmy Award-winning, musical preschool series about five colorful pups who learn life lessons though an innovative mix of live action stories, music videos, concerts, cartoons and interviews with real kids. With over 200 episodes, 300 original songs and animated new media music videos, Raggs is available worldwide in English, Spanish and Portuguese and has begun dubbing in 15 additional languages for distribution in 100 countries in 2017. The Raggs brand includes CDs, DVDs, toys, books and live shows, including a partnership called “Play at Palladium with Raggs” with the Palladium Hotel Group at resorts in Mexico, the Caribbean and Brazil. The original characters were created by Toni Steedman, a Charlotte, NC, advertising executive, for her then six-year-old daughter Alison. Raggs and all rights are owned by Blue Socks Media LLC, Charlotte, NC. For more info, go to

Independent Authorship for the Senior Citizen

Individuals over 60 years old have a great deal of experience to impart on others, but sometimes they do not have their “visions” shared because of the complexity writing and publishing their stories.  In most instances, the senior has access to word processing software, and the ability to use the software, but after writing their story has to wait for printers or traditional publishers to review and approve their stories.

Chris (center) with Senior Center directors


This is where I come in. I’m an independent author with Lulu for almost 20 years (yep, he has been with Lulu almost from the very beginning!), and I teach at local senior centers in Baltimore Maryland about self-publishing and how to format and publish a person’s works so that they may share with others their knowledge and experience.  The course, entitled “Self-Publishing 101 for Independent Authors,” is taught with help from a study guide that I wrote and published on Lulu!  Using this study guide, along with the many different types of books (children’s, fiction, non-fiction, and education) I also published over the years, I aim to make the publishing process simple and clear.

My first class was given at Parkville Senior Center near Baltimore and had several individuals that wanted to learn more about self-publishing.  The students actually had products in electronic form that they wanted published and Chris accommodated them through a step-by-step approach.  As a result, most students have published works with Lulu.  A sad chapter in this story is that one of the students completed his book, and has it published on Lulu and shortly after publishing his work passed away.  His book of poems is available for sale on Lulu, which has been a great consolation for his relatives, who know that he left something for his future generations.

The gift of knowledge and experience is something that is priceless, and knowing that these individuals in the class have the ability to author a book that focuses on something they want to share is also priceless.  The fact that Lulu provides a platform for these individuals to express themselves makes them feel useful.  This, according to author Elie Wiesel, in his book “Night,” is something that can make the difference between life and death.

With Lulu as part of that platform, I’ve been able to make a great impact on the future independent authors; young heart, old smart.

With a combined 35 years of experience as a military officer, federal civilian and private industry combined, along with periodic teaching at the secondary and undergraduate levels, Chris has the perfect combination for writing everything from fiction to children’s books. Take a look at the many different offerings and see if one of these many titles fits your needs. You can contact Chris at if you have any questions or special requests.


Check out Chris’s Author Spotlight

Do enhanced eBooks promote children’s literacy?

Mixing a children’s book with something like a videogame seems like a no-brainer for promoting reading skills, right? Apparently not.

A new study finds that enhanced eBooks for children don’t raise literacy levels. The study, which followed 32 pairs of parents working with young children, found that the young readers were distracted by the many different interactive parts of the enhanced story, and quickly forgot certain key parts of the narrative. The young readers were given an eBook, a physical copy, and an enhanced eBook version of the same story. After reading them all, the comprehension just didn’t add up.

The authors of the study commented, “The enhanced eBook was less effective than the print and basic ebook in supporting the benefits of co-reading because it prompted more non-content related interactions. When adults prompt children with questions pertaining to the text, label objects, and encourage them to discuss the book’s content in terms of their own experiences and curiosities, this elicits increased verbalization by the child and can lead to improved vocabulary and overall language development.”

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