Meet Colleen Hord: Teacher, Writing Specialist, and Book Author.And during the last two years, she’s been extra busy writing 12 books, five of which have been published, with the remaining seven being released later this year. The books cater to grades K-3 and have simple but meaningful titles, such as “My Green Lunch” or “My Safe Community.” Other titles are: “Clean and Green Energy,” “Need it or Want It? and “What’s my Role?”
“I absolutely love to write,” says Hord. “It’s my passion.”
The books are fun and teach children about recycling, re-using material goods, conserving energy, and being safe. Hord currently teaches second grade at Grass Valley School in Camas, and it’s clear from spending time with the class, they enjoy her books, too.
Student Tyler Vanderwood, 7, says he thinks “the books are good, and they’re good for the earth.”
Kennedy Linton, 8, calls Hord her “favorite person” and loves to read Hord’s books. “She teaches us how to write better,” she adds. “And I like that.”
Hord has cultivated her 30 years of teaching experience and love for writing into a mission. “I want all these kids to learn how to write properly,” she said. “And I get so much joy from that.”
Hord’s teaching career began in 1982 at the Cheyenne Indian Reservation in Montana. Her career took her to Wyoming, Arizona and ultimately, Camas, where she started teaching in 1990 at Lacamas Heights.
|Colleen Hord is a teacher, writing specialist and author of 12 books.
Since then, she has taught at Helen Baller and Dorothy Fox, where she served as a writing specialist. She spent three years in Washougal, and then returned to the Camas School District. She is in her second year at Grass Valley.Grass Valley is a green school and Hord serves on the Eco team, which helps the school maintain its green certification. “It’s fitting given some of the books I’ve written,” she says.
Rourke Publishing, based in Florida, approached her several years ago to write children’s books. She started the process in 2010. During the course of 18 months, she wrote the 12 books in collaboration with Rourke’s Editor-In-Chief, Luana Mitten.
“Colleen is just wonderful,” says Mitten. “We work well together, and she really has a way of getting content to the right reading level.”
Mitten says Colleen’s experience suited her for the writing projects.
“We choose writers who know the content we seek,” says Mitten. “So we frequently work with teachers who specialize in a given subject area.”
Book production begins in the fall, says Hord, so “I work pretty hard on the weekends between September and December writing the books.”
By Christmas, Hord’s books go into a final manuscript, and then Rourke’s artists go to work on photos and illustrations. The design process lasts until May and the book goes to the printer by July.
“It’s a fun process,” says Hord. “I really get into it and do a lot of research.”
Hord says her experience in the classroom teaching the beginning reader is very helpful to the book writing process. “I can see where the needs are and I address them in the books,” she says.
The exact content of her seven books in production is hush-hush, but we can say four are children’s stories and three are biographies.
Rourke Publishing has been in business for 33 years and caters to both US and international markets. Consumers can buy directly from www.rourkepublishing.com or www.amazon.com (with individual books or collections) and schools can purchase collections by going to www.rourkeclassroom.com, which sells the paper back versions. They come out simultaneously with the hardcover versions.
Mitten wasn’t able to provide exact sales figures, but did say Hord’s books have been re-printed several times already. “They’re good sellers,” she said. “She does an excellent job.”
Scott McCoy, one of Hord’s Grass Valley School colleagues, agrees. “I’ve been impressed with her books and what they teach the children.”
As for what’s next? “More writing,” she says. “And more teaching – I love it!”