Read > Think > Write > Publish – The Power of Student Publishing

I’ve launched a new website Read > Think > Write > Publish to promote publishing, an activity that enables students to think like writers, to apply their learning strategies and to organize and express their learning. The site provides sample student books and writing prompts.

Students at-risk for literacy need immersion in literacy tasks, reading and writing, that replicate the real world because they are the learners who lack the schema that defines literacy in the real world. Without publishing the student does not complete the writing process so they never rise above the level of “school work” to “real work.” They never function as a writer. Literacy must be grounded in the real world to have value.

Publishing student writing encourages the reluctant writer by strengthening self-confidence, rewarding interest and promoting a positive attitude toward writing.
When students publish, they think like writers. They have to problem-solve and make decisions as writers to assume the responsibility of a published writer. This supports them as readers. If they haven’t written themselves, they have trouble analyze another writer’s work. If they have experience they know what to look for and how to evaluate what they see. Publishing is an excellent method to accomplish three central tasks:
• Understand topics thoroughly
• Actively use the information they assemble
• Move knowledge into one’s schema

So why aren’t your students publishing their own books?

We all struggle to create authentic writing experiences for our students. Imagine if they had an opportunity to see their work in print – and we’re talking about a real paperback.  Let them go through the process of writing, co-editing, illustrating and designing a book. Rigor and relevance meets motivation and self-directed study. I’ve gotten so excited by the results that I’ve done workshops to train teachers. You can see material and sample student books at my website Read > Think > Write > Publish.

I recently discovered – a print-on-demand publisher. I’ve used it to publish five books for a dear friend and author – Abe Rothberg. He wrote the manuscripts. I formated them in Word and converted them to a PDFs. I designed the covers in Photoshop and converted them to a PDFs. I uploaded the PDF files to the Lulu website. Cost so far – nothing!

Lulu doesn’t actually produce any books until one is ordered. Then the magic starts – Lulu takes my PDF files and produces a perfect-bound book and ships it to the buyer.

The money side at Lulu is pretty straightforward. No charge for uploading a book. (If you want to give it an ISBN number, that’s $35). Book production costs are $4.53 per book plus .02 per page black and white (.15 per page color). Example: a 50 page book with b/w text would cost you $.5.53 plus shipping. No costs are incurred until a book is ordered.  As a book author you can limit sales to only yourself, and buy unlimited books at cost (with a break on author’s orders of more than 25).  If you want to offer the books for sale to the public, you can set the price. You get 80% of the mark up over production cost. Lulu keeps 20% and sends you the royalty checks. They will also host your book as a downloadable e-Book for free.

BTW -  Abe has had a distinguished career as a journalist, university professor and author of seven published novels, two books of history, a collection of short stories, two children’s books, and a volume of literary criticism. His previous work was published by mainstream publishers and has been favorably reviewed in NY Times, Harper’s, Time Magazine, and Publishers Weekly. He’s also a dear friend and mentor whose previous work had gone out of print. We decided to cut out the middle man. For more on Abe go to his website – Abraham Rothberg

PS – I don’t work for Lulu