Reading Rockets: Launching Young Readers
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Reading Rockets: Launching Young Readers

Kate Duke
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Meet author and illustrator Kate Duke as she charms a group of kids with an original story and drawings. You'll need the RealOne Player ( to see the four-minute video clip.
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Reading Rockets: Launching Young Readers
Writing and Spelling
Read Together With Kate Duke
Roots of Reading Roots of Reading
Sounds and Symbols Sounds and Symbols
Fluent Reading Fluent Reading
Writing and Spelling Writing and Spelling
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Reading was always an important part of Kate Duke's life. "Both my parents were great readers and we children were always amply supplied with books," she said in an exclusive interview. "My parents seemed to enjoy reading to me as much as I enjoyed being read to."

The author and illustrator of Aunt Isabel Tells a Good One and other books, Kate Duke writes on several levels. Kids who read or listen to her tales always enjoy the adventures of her exuberant and sweet animal characters. But Ms. Duke also subtly interweaves learning concepts into her stories, such as writing and adding and subtracting.

Near her home in Connecticut, she often visits schools to talk about her work. "I like to go to schools because it renews my feeling of what children are like," she said.

Selected Books by Kate Duke

Aunt Isabel Tells a Good One

Aunt Isabel Tells a Good One
Aunt Isabel agrees to tell Penelope a story, and together they think of all the elements that make up a good story.

One Guinea Pig is Not Enough

One Guinea Pig Is Not Enough
One lonely guinea pig plus another makes... two smiling guinea pigs in this light-hearted introduction to basic addition.

Twenty is Too Many

Twenty Is Too Many
In this charming and boisterous book about subtraction, twenty guinea pigs begin to jump ship, each in his or her own funny and unique way.

"I find out what makes children laugh, what doesn't make them laugh, what their current interests are," Ms. Duke noted. "I am always cheered and inspired by their energy and imagination."

Watching Kate Duke let her imagination run as she creates an illustration is like seeing magic happen. She remembers being surprised and pleased when, as a youngster, she discovered she could draw. Today when she visits a class, she always brings some of that magic with her, involving small groups of children in "drawing a story."

"I try to encourage children to take chances and not be afraid, especially in terms of using their imagination." - Kate Duke

With the children gathered in front of her, she quickly sketches illustrations, asking questions along the way, as the kids come up with characters, plot, and action. "I keep on asking questions and drawing the pictures to go along with them to keep the story developing," she said. "I try to encourage children to take chances and not be afraid, especially in terms of using their imagination."

While her parents gave her a love of reading, it was a teacher who inspired her to write for others. "When I was in sixth grade I wrote a short piece, something that had happened to me over the summer. The teacher gave me the first 'A' I had ever had on anything I wrote, and she wrote at the bottom, 'Lovely.' That was the first moment that I thought of being a writer."

Click here to read about another children's book author, Walter Dean Myers>>

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