Susan Marcus and a special appearance by Liza Wolff Francis

Please join us Wednesday 05.22.13 for another edition of Writing on the Air. We broadcast every Wednesday from 6-7 pm. You can catch us on your local Austin 91.7 FM KOOP radio station, or you can stream us LIVE on

You need to LIKE Writing on the Air on Facebook because … why not? Aren’t you on Facebook anyway?

Our feature guest this week is Susan Marcus. We also have a special appearance by poet Liza Wolff Francis. Basically, this is going to be another great show.

Listen to the Interview.

In a future that will require visual literacy and innovative thinking, today’s kids will be expected to think across disciplines, come up with imaginative solutions, and have the capacity to invent with many media. In order to succeed, they’ll need creative thinking skills. Yet, we’ve been trained to think that some kids are “born” creative, while others are not.

But as the experienced educators, researchers and co-authors of The Missing Alphabet: A Parents’ Guide to Developing Creative Thinking in Kids (Greenleaf Book Group, October 23, 2012, 288 pages, $17.95) have discovered, this simply isn’t true. Rather, every child is born with a rich creative capacity; parents can build on that by supplying the Sensory Alphabet — the building blocks for creative thinking — an alphabet that is missing in schools today.

The Sensory Alphabet is as fundamental for creative thinking as the ABC’s are for reading and writing, and it is the foundation for understanding our sensory world: line, color, texture, sound, movement, sound, rhythm, space, light, and shape. As children learn this basic vocabulary and are involved in creative work/play, they gain the confidence and self-understanding needed to become creative problem-solvers and innovators.

Over the past 40 years, Susan Marcus, Susie Monday, and Cynthia Herbert, PhD. have studied how children individually learn and create, and also how parents and educators can help them utilize untapped reserves of their creative potential. The authors were the co-founders of Learning About Learning Educational Foundation, a future-oriented organization in San Antonio, Texas. Responding to the needs of 21st century literacies, they have collaborated to produce “New World Kids,” a series of after-school programs for pre-K through second grade, now being used in school districts, museums and creative arts programs. Today, parents can have access to this approach in The Missing Alphabet, no matter where they live.

Through vivid photographs and illustrations, The Missing Alphabet helps parents and educators hone in on a child’s natural strengths, and develop that child’s particular brand of imagination. In a digital world where information is often communicated through pictures, icons, sound and video, tomorrow’s adults will need highly developed creative thinking skills that are beyond words. This guide will help build a strong foundation.

SUSAN MARCUS, SUSIE MONDAY and CYNTHIA HERBERT, PHD are the co-creators of the popular “New World Kids” program, as well as The Foundry in Austin, TX, producing programs in creative thinking for children, parents, and professional development for educators.

Susan is a designer of educational programs and products and consultant to museums. She is the co-author (with Herbert) of Everychild’s Everyday (Doubleday), and When I Was Just Your Age (University of North Texas Press), and (with Monday) New World Kids (FoundryMedia). Susie is a children’s museum designer, educational consultant, and an adjunct faculty member of the Southwest School of Art in San Antonio. Cynthia is a developmental psychologist, the former Director of the Texas Alliance for Education and the Arts, and a specialist in Differentiated Education.

Please read more on their webpage, and find the book on