03/29/09 — North Drive teacher publishes 4th book

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North Drive teacher publishes 4th book

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on March 29, 2009 2:00 AM

Growing up on a farm in Saulston, Gregory Brown enjoyed watching Captain Kangaroo on TV.

"He would always read children's books on that show," he says. "I think that really got me hooked on books. ... He would take picture books, open up the book, turn the pages (in front of the camera). I thought it was the coolest thing -- I thought, wow, stories in books are really fun."

He has made a career out of doing the same thing. As a reading teacher at North Drive Elementary School, his passion has been instilling a love of reading in his students.

For years, the school has used the Readers Theater model, which Brown describes as similar to a play except all the children are seated with scripts in hand. The stories are written so that every character represents a different reading level.

Two years ago, Brown had his own Readers Theater script published, about Johnny Appleseed. Then came his series, "The Great Rhyme Travel Machine," which so far has focused on such themes as believing in yourself and winning an election no matter what gender or race you are.

His fourth Readers Theater book, the third installment of the "Great Rhyme Travel Machine" series, has just been released. Entitled "Saving Planet Earth," it teaches ways to protect the environment.

There are several reasons to be excited about this one, Brown said, noting that it comes with a DVD and a song.

"The company requested a song to go along with my book," he explained. "I wrote the words and music to a little song called 'I'm Going Green' and sent it to them. ... They've recorded the song and it will be included on a sing-along DVD that comes with the book set.

"Writing a real song that others could record has always been a secret wish of mine, so this is yet another dream come true."

Ideally, it would have been recorded in the voice of John Denver, who passed away several years ago. Brown still got to pay tribute to the famous singer, however, obtaining permission to use Denver's name as a character in the story.

A video of the song can be previewed on the publishers' Web site, www.playbooks.com.

Meanwhile, the educator is toying with several themes for upcoming scripts.

"I want to continue this type of adventure, important adventures, entertaining and yet (something that) teaches you something that you can use in your life," he said. "Maybe experience those adventures during a holiday. One day I may write a Thanksgiving story or a Christmas story or a patriotic story.

"Also, I love space so I'm hoping that one day the characters can do something that has to do with NASA or the space program."