Skultety, Nancy Laney 1960–

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Skultety, Nancy Laney 1960–

PERSONAL:

Born September 18, 1960, in Indiana, PA; daughter of Earl (a timber harvester) and Margaret (a homemaker) Laney; married Terry Skultety (a staff representative), October 12, 1985; children: Breanne, Kolby, Keely. Ethnicity: "Caucasian." Education: Indiana University of Pennsylvania, B.S., 1982; Indiana University of Pennsylvania, M.A., 1992. Religion: Roman Catholic. Hobbies and other interests: Walking, drawing, reading.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Homer City, PA. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Brody's Department Store, Indiana, PA, sales clerk, 1981-83; Contractor's Traffic Control, Penn Run, PA, flag woman, 1983-85; Homer-Center School District, Homer City, PA, reading specialist, 1993—; writer.

MEMBER:

Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Keystone State Reading Association.

WRITINGS:

From Here to There, illustrated by Tammie Lyon, Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 2005.

101 Words Your Child Will Read by the End of Grade 1 (with CD-ROM), Barron's Educational Series (Hauppauge, NJ), 2006.

SIDELIGHTS:

Children's book author and reading teacher Nancy Laney Skultety is the author of From Here to There, an informational book that describes, via an engaging story, the intricate process by which roads are built. Tired of the bumps and potholes in the dirt road he takes into town, Farmer Dibble asks city officials to put in a new road. With the approval of mayor, country engineer, and surveyor, the necessary machines and manpower is assembled and graders, bulldozers, compacters, and excavators go to work. Carolyn Phelan, writing in Booklist, praised Skultety's "straightforward" story and predicted that "young children who just love watching construction trucks will still find plenty to enjoy here." In School Library Journal, Rosalyn Pierini cited Skultety's use of "short, declarative sentences and the simple vocabulary," which combine to make From Here to There "accessible to beginning readers."

"I credit my parents for setting me on the path that lead to my being a published author," Skultety told CA. "Both my parents loved language and they instilled that love of language in me. Some of my fondest childhood memories involve hearing oral language. My father would tell tales of his army days at the dinner table. They were of ‘Beetle Bailey’ nature, always comic. Although I was unaware of it at the time, my father was teaching me the art of telling a story. My mother had her own knack for oral language. She rarely read a book to us at bedtime; instead she would tell us stories, classics, but told with her own flair. It wasn't just the Three Billy Goats Gruff crossing the bridge to eat green grass on the other side. It was ice cream grass—chocolate, vanilla and strawberry grass. She painted such wonderful pictures in my head. My mother taught me the art of creating visual imagery.

"I recall, when I entered school, not liking reading class. I grew up in the ‘Dick and Jane’ era. I remember being disappointed, wondering where reading class was. ‘Go, go! Run, run!’ didn't seem like a story. Those basal stories didn't use real language. Reading class was nothing like the stories my mother told me, and it frustrated me. It wasn't until high school that I began to like reading. I had two great English teachers. I loved their literature classes.

"When I was expecting my first child, Breanne, my mother presented me with an audio-tape recording of her telling stories and singing songs. It was of no surprise that my daughter Breanne would also love language. At age two she was reciting whole books verbatim. I read her five to ten books at a sitting. She seemed to be internalizing what I was reading. It was then that I was inspired to write songs and stories for her. The lessons of my childhood came to the foreground. I was amazed at what I already knew about story from my parent's example.

"However, it took me years of hard work to figure it all out. I had to climb every wrung of the ladder to learn what I needed to be a published author. The task was daunting at times, but my parents had taught me the value of hard work, so I had the determination to succeed. I also met some wonderful authors who took me under their wing and mentored me. Jerry Spinelli, Joy Cowley, and Peter Catalanotto have mentored me and inspired me over the years. I would not have achieved my goal without their guidance. Spinelli was my assigned mentor at Chautauqua Highlights Writer's Workshop. I met Cowley at a reading conference, and Catalanotto was one of our school's visiting authors.

"Breanne started me out toward my goal of becoming a published author, but each of my children has inspired my work as a writer. When my son Kolby was a preschooler, he loved heavy equipment. I read him everything I could find on the topic. I realized there wasn't much written about how a road is built. I came to this understanding, because I had been a flag woman for highway construction. I had worked as a flagger right after college, because I was unable to land a teaching job. During this same time my husband was working for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation as an equipment operator. So, my book From Here to There was inspired by my son, my husband's career, and my own experience as a flag woman.

"My third child, Keely, has inspired me also. The activity books I am writing for Barron's Educational have been influenced by understanding what a beginning reader needs in order to have reading success."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, May 15, 2005, Carolyn Phelan, review of From Here to There, p. 1667.

School Library Journal, May, 2005, Rosalyn Pierini, review of From Here to There, p. 97.