Sunday, December 19, 2010

Writing Contest

Current Contest:
Kindergarten Story

A fictional story or nonfiction about family life or school for ages 5-6, up to 150 words. The story should be appropriate to five- and six-year-olds learning to read on their own. It should be fun, use vocabulary and syntax well, and have high interest for a kindergartener. Take great care not to write too high for this age. Know what a five- or six-year-old can and cannot read. Originality and the overall quality of writing will also be considered. Publishability is the ultimate criterion.

Entries must be received by February 28, 2011. Current subscribers to Children’s Writer enter free. All others pay an entry fee of $15, which includes an 8-month subscription. Winners will be announced in the July 2011 issue. Prizes: $500 for first place plus publication in Children’s Writer, $250 for second place, and $100 for third, fourth, and fifth places.
Now warm up your computer and write a $500-winning kindergarten story!
The contest rules are important. Please read them carefully.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Great holiday idea

A writer from the Chicago Tribune was recently highlighted in the Washington Post with a new holiday idea straight from the heart, done in the home and influential in the life of a child.  

This holiday season I am putting my column where my heart is, and so I'm asking readers to celebrate by giving a book to a child, through a homegrown campaign called "A Book on Every Bed."

Here's how it works:
Take a book. Wrap it. Place it on a child's bed so it's the first thing she sees on Christmas morning (or whatever holiday you celebrate). That's it.

For more info:  go HERE

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Teacher Evals Go Digital

Here are some excerpts from an interesting article in the New York Times about some changes being made in teacher evaluations led by Bill Gates.  
"Mr. Gates is tracking the research closely. The use of digital video in particular has caught his attention. In an interview, he cited its potential for evaluating teachers and for helping them learn from talented colleagues.
“Some teachers are extremely good,” Mr. Gates said. “And one of the goals is to say, you know, ‘Let’s go look at those teachers.’ What’s unbelievable is how little the exemplars have been studied. And then saying, ‘O.K., How do you take a math teacher who’s in the third quartile and teach them how to get kids interested — get the kid who’s smart to pay attention, a kid who’s behind to pay attention?’ Teaching a teacher to do that — you have to follow the exemplars.”
The meticulous scoring of videotaped lessons for this project is unfolding on a scale never undertaken in educational research, said Catherine A. McClellan, a director for theEducational Testing Service who is overseeing the process.
By next June, researchers will have about 24,000 videotaped lessons. Because some must be scored using more than one protocol, the research will eventually involve reviewing some 64,000 hours of classroom video. Early next year, Dr. McClellan expects to recruit hundreds of educators and train them to score lessons.
The goal is to help researchers look for possible correlations between certain teaching practices and high student achievement, measured by value-added scores. Thomas J. Kane, a Harvard economist who is leading the research, is scheduled to announce some preliminary results in Washington next Friday. More definitive conclusions are expected in about a year.
The effort has also become a large-scale field trial of using classroom video, to help teachers improve and to evaluate them remotely.

In addition to the cost — which many struggling districts may consider too high — another barrier could be teacher opposition. The Memphis teachers union, an affiliate of the National Education Association, has partnered with the foundation for the project. But Keith Harris, its president, said the use of videotaped observations in evaluations raised troubling questions.
“Whose eyes would see these videos?” Mr. Harris asked. “Who would own them? This seems like an ‘I gotcha’ kind of thing. We think these observations deserve a human being.”
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, which has several affiliates participating in the research, also expressed reservations. “Videotaped observations have their role but shouldn’t be used to substitute for in-person observations to evaluate teachers,” Ms. Weingarten said. “It would be hard to justify ratings by outsiders watching videotapes at a remote location who never visited the classroom and couldn’t see for themselves a teacher’s interaction and relationship with students.”
Dr. Kane said doubts may disappear with time. “We’re not naïve,” he said. “We realize that most principals and teachers imagine an in-person visit from a human being when they think of classroom observations. But that could rapidly change. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that millions of classrooms could be using this technology within four or five years.”

Monday, December 13, 2010

Pretzels Anyone?

Auntie Anne’s Supports First Book

In October, Auntie Anne’s Pretzels launched a month long fundraising campaign to benefit First Book.  The campaign offered Auntie Anne's customers the opportunity to donate $1 to First Book in exchange for a bookmark - a keepsake that included a tear-off coupon for $1 off the next purchase.  Thanks to the tremendous support from franchisees and customers all across the country, Auntie Anne’s raised more than $20,000 for First Book.  A number of other franchise owners also raised funds through the use of coin canisters, personal donations and local events. 

To celebrate the success of the Bookmark campaign, Auntie Anne’s will host an event in their hometown of Lancaster, Pennsylvania on December 8th.  Children from the Boys and Girls Club of Lancaster will learn the history of the pretzel and the art of pretzel rolling from Auntie Anne’s employee volunteers.  Auntie Anne’s employees will distribute brand new books to participating children as part of a larger donation to each of the Boys and Girls Club of Lancaster’s three area locations.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Target's New Literacy Effort

Target has launched Target Read With MeSM, an initiative aimed at helping more U.S. children read proficiently by the end of third grade. Target is calling on you – parents and caring adults – to pledge to read with a child by visiting or texting READ to TARGET (827438). For every pledge received, Target and First Book will donate a book to children in need, up to one million books!

Information can be found at /

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Nonfiction Books that topped 2010

How I wish I weren't reading so many textbooks to get ready for spring semester because a lot of these nonfiction books from THIS LIST I've heard about, seen and want to read.  Particularly the bone one and the sugar one.

Anyone out there read them yet?  What is your evaluation?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Video Website

I decided to change the nightly routine where mom (that's me) sings to the kids.  Okay, I admit it.  I was just too tired to sing a note.  So, I looked up on my laptop for some christmas songs and came across this website that has not only the lyrics but also video for most of the songs we love.

The favorites song/videos of the kids so far are:

I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas
Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer
Snoopy's Christmas (Snoopy vs. The Red Baron)
The Chipmunk Song
The Twelve Days Of Christmas

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Preschool Craft Idea

Like all good teachers, I love to beg, borrow and steal good ideas.  Here is one that is too cute from a blog I read.  It's about bathtub murals made from foam for all those young artists out there.  It would sure save my bathtub tons of space currently taken up by squirty toys and naked Barbies.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

One of my secret wishes

This may sound weird to some of you, but I have always loved puppets.  I took a class at college and discovered that there is a whole world out there of puppetry that I never new.  I love when the Muppets appear in everyday locations or on TV, I love puppet shows, and shadow puppet shows and pretty much any form of that unique art form.

One day I was watching the show Ace of Cakes on the Food Network and someone from Lemon Productions had sent the cast a puppet to their likeness.  I immediately told my husband that I wanted puppets of our family, which he thought was a little creepy.  I at least want one of me, to use as a teacher.  I still don't have one and honestly don't know how much it would even cost, but it's on my list to get one day when I'm a millionaire.

Here is the link to the Production company with a blog and photos of their visit to the set.  Now tell me that doesn't look fun!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Top Three Level of Teachers

I just read an opinion article in the New York Times about how the teachers in America stink and how other countries are leading in education.  Having worked with many, many schools, teachers and pre-service teachers, I wonder how many of these important people with such fancy sounding speeches and opinions have been in a school lately or met more than a handful of teachers.

Some points that were interesting I thought was the idea of a West Point type center for teachers.  I didn't say I agree with it, but it is an interesting idea.  And I liked the way the end of the article mentioned parents.  Teachers are not responsible for compensating for the the decline of family values.  Let me know what you think.

See the article HERE

Saturday, November 20, 2010


With the holidays approaching, I've been thinking of all the food I can't wait to make and try and eat.  This article reminded me of my recent fascination with cookbooks and how they are still quite popular.  I even have a shelf of kid friendly cookbooks right now on my shelf that the kids look through and say "Yes" or "No" to according to how appetizing it looks to them.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Arizona Reading Journal

Just got my latest edition of the Arizona Reading Journal with my article published about Sesame Street.  The article sits nicely towards the middle and is called, "The Woman Who Paved the Way for Sesame Street:  A Biographical Look at Joan Ganz Cooney."  I'm quite proud!

I had an author friend of mine say that I'm not an aspiring author, but a pre-published author.  Now I've just got to get a book in that book store with my name on it!

Here are submission deadlines if you're interested in writing an academic article for the Arizona Reading Association:

Call for Manuscripts

Deadline for the yearly Spring Issue is January 15
Deadline for the yearly Fall Issue is August 15

The Arizona Reading Journal is published two times a year by the Arizona Reading Association, a member of the International Reading Association.Manuscripts or other potential contents for the Arizona Reading Journal are welcome. The journal is intended to provide readers with information about reading education in general as well as Arizona Reading Association activities.We are interested in manuscripts which 1) describe teachers' classroom practices and/or experiences, 2) report teacher research or other research-based projects, 3) review professional resources, or 4) describe Arizona Reading Association events and/or other related activities. Readers of the journal are involved in literacy education in a variety of capacities including teachers, librarians, administrators, specialists, consultants, and volunteers who are either school-based, community-based, or university-based. The Arizona Reading Journal is submitted to the ERIC Document System and the IRA.
Guidelines for Submitting Manuscripts: Manuscripts should range in length from approximately five to fifteen pages. Please submit two (2) copies of your manuscript. Include a copy of the manuscript on CD. Manuscripts may be submitted electronically as MS Word and PDF file. Please name Arizona Reading Journal as subject. Double-space all text, including references and quotations on standard 8-1/2" x 11" white paper with one-inch margins on all sides. Manuscripts should adhere to the conventions of style described in the American Psychological Association (APA) Style Manual. Please include the author’s name, position, mailing address, work and home telephone numbers, FAX number and e-mail address on the cover page. If you have any questions, please contact the Editor at (480) 949-1032, e-mail:
Submit Manuscripts to:
Sigrid Kuster, Editor
Arizona Reading Journal
6134 East Calle del Paisano
Scottsdale, Arizona 85251

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Delacorte Press Contest for a First Young Adult Novel
No entry fee. Open to writers who has not previously published a young adult novel. Novel must have a contemporary setting. Check website for extensive guidelines.
Deadline is December 31st (manuscript must be postmarked no later than December 31, 2010)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Candy Store

While at a local attraction about Halloween witches, there was a candy store.  I loved the mural on the wall with candy hanging down from the ceiling.  It would look great in a library.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Book Handling Skills

Just a quick post to brag about my one year old's awesome book handling skills.  He's a reader already!  He turns pages left to right, and loves his rereads.  That's my boy!

Friday, October 29, 2010


A neighbor of mine decorates her windows according to classic children's books.  She is my new hero.  I'm SO going to copy this next year.  This year it was Alice in the Looking Glass.  I took the photos at dusk so they aren't the best pics, but I'll go back and get more!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Another Book I Want

Children's book expert Anita Silvey asked a wide range of public figures: “What children's book changed the way you see the world?”

In her new book,
Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Children's Book (Roaring Brook, Oct.), she includes answers from more than 100 people, from financiers to actors, from athletes to singers; for this excerpt, we have chosen responses from those directly involved in creating books for young people.

-- Publishers Weekly, 7/20/2009

Saturday, October 23, 2010

My Treasure Hunt

I have a tale to tell.  I was thinking of my post for today when suddenly I got side tracked, then lost, then found myself in the middle of cyberspace trying to track down a map.  Stop.  Let me back up and start at the beginning.  
I remember seeing two maps at the Arizona Museum for Youth in Tempe,, when I went there a year or two ago for the Berenstain Bear exhibit. (It was wonderful and showed original first drafts of their books with notes to their editors with illustrations. 

When looking up the website for this newsletter I also saw that in June-Sept of 2011 there will be an exhibit of the life and art of Charles M Schulz.  Another one I’ll go to is Sept 2011 to Jan 2012:  The Art of Warner Bros Cartoons.  After seeing the work of Stan and Jan Berenstain,  I ventured over to gift shop and saw two posters that I loved but didn’t buy.  I should have followed my impulse because I’ve thought of those posters now and again and decided that I would buy them for myself for Christmas.  To Michelle, From Michelle.  I googled and googled and finally came upon them.  One was a map of the setting of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson and the other was Neverland from the book Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie.  

Cute, right?  
I found them on a few poster sites but also on a blog called Hey Teach. written by a woman in Prescott, Arizona 

The products I was looking at were in her 2007 archives.  It is the funnest blog with a bunch of products related to the classroom and literacy that are showcased.  Things like Skippyjon plush animals, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day dolls, music boxes that boys might like, and even literature-related Christmas Cards.  I spent hours there looking at all the things I wish I could buy, and that was only from the 2007 part of her blog!  I haven’t even checked 2008, or 2009 yet!  Now I can't seem to go back and find that blog but I did happen upon a great book that is one of my favorites!
So after many “ooh’s and aah’s,”  I glanced at her favorite links and one caught my eye.  “7 Impossible Things Before Breakfast - A Great Site for Book Lovers
Not only is the quote aligned with my Alice’s Adventures fettish but it also has endless amounts of book related fun and information.  The list of sites they love to the right is huge and I haven’t even gotten to that yet.  So…to abruptly end this not so short story…
I went back a day or two later and couldn’t remember the original site that had the posters, then bounced around  cyberspace desperately trying to find the awesome blog that I wish I had bookmarked and not cleared the history for, which had the posters of the maps from the museum that I should have bought two years ago.  I did chance upon a book with other maps from children’s books and promptly purchased it for myself.  Then in a holiday type miracle, I found a slip where I had scrawled the site down and thus you now are receiving your newsletter a few days late but with a wealth more literacy information than you would have had.  
If you check out any of these sites and find something you love, email me back a picture or the link.  I’m sure you’ll have fun treasure hunting like I did.  And you won’t even need a map.

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Great One Passes On

Professor Donald Graves passed away on Tuesday 28th September 2010 from pneumonia aged 80. 
I have many of his books and consider them timeless observations of children and writing.  It was his close observation of children that brought forth some of his greatest insights:
  • Like adult writers children must be given the chance to choose their own topics, to have an environment in which writing is encouraged and facilitated, to take greater control of their writing.
  • They must have 'real' readers - people who read their writing to hear what they have to say, not just to correct their spelling and grammar.
  • Children must be allowed to make mistakes, to use approximations in draft writing and to become risk-takers in writing.
  • As teachers we need to shift our attention from simply product and the surface features, to an equal concern with process and meaning.
  • To teach young writers is to teach them the craft of writing.
  • Spelling and grammar are best taught in the context of meaningful writing not simply as decontextualised activities.
  • Teachers (and parents) must become observers of young writers, asking them questions that teach and that focus their attention on meaning not just the surface features of writing and neatness.
  • Writing is about revision and re-writing and that like adult writers, children often need to 'make it messy to make it clear'.
  • He also shared his practical tools for encouraging writers - folders for first drafts, dates to track development, writing conferences, celebration of authors, 'publishing' children's work, blank books in the hands of preschool children with the instruction, 'Why don't you write' and so on.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Top Ten Lists

I came across this list at this website Found HERE, which gave me an idea for an upcoming class.  Top 10 lists.  

I think this one below could spur on a good discussion.  

10 things I think teachers should unlearn…
1. Teachers know all the answers.
2. Teachers have to be in control of the class.
3. Teachers are responsible for the learning.
4.  Students are obliged to respect teachers.
5.  Learning can be measured by a letter or a number.
6.  Teachers should plan activities and then assessments.
7. Learners need to sit quietly and listen.
8. Technology integration is optional.
9.  Worksheets support learning.
10.  Homework is an essential part of learning.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Mo Willems' Final Knuffle

Acclaimed picture-book creator Mo Willems says 2010 is "my sentimental year."
It's a year when two of his picture books -- "Knuffle Bunny Free" (HarperCollins, $17.99) and "City Dog, Country Frog" (Hyperion, $17.99) -- deal with the idea of letting go and understanding that endings are both hard and necessary.

"I think people are sometimes afraid of endings," Mr. Willems said in a telephone interview. "But I like endings. I like to be able to say that a story is complete."

"Knuffle Bunny Free," which Mr. Willems wrote and illustrated, is the third and final book about a girl named Trixie and her beloved stuffed animal, Knuffle Bunny. The trilogy began in 2004 with "Knuffle Bunny" and continued with 2007's "Knuffle Bunny Too." Both books won Caldecott Honors.

Of the three, Mr. Willems said that "Knuffle Bunny Free" was the hardest to write.

"It also took the longest. I spent several years on it," he added.

Read more:

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Top Books Checked Out at the LIbrary

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Thomas turns 65!

Tank Engine Trivia: Fun Facts About Thomas

  • Thomas the Tank Engine was not part of the Rev. Wilbert Awdry's first book. He was introduced in the second book.
  • New characters are introduced every year with their own fictional back stories -- Hiro is the first Japanese engine and Victor is the first Hispanic engine.
  • Thomas has found himself in many sticky situations, which have left him covered in jam, stinky cheese, sticky toffee, ice-cream, flour and mud.
  • More than 80 million pieces of wooden track have been sold globally.  That's 240 million inches -- approximately the distance from New York to Paris.
  • As of 2009, Thomas & Friends could be seen on television in 30 different languages and 185 territories.
Excerpted And Adapted From: Thomas & Friends 65 Fun Facts

Thomas the Tank Engine began as "Edward the Blue Engine" -- star of the many stories the Rev. Wilbert Awdry told his son Christoper in the early 1940s. Christopher, who was sick with the measles, would correct his father if he did not use the same words to tell the stories each time, so Awdry began jotting the stories down. Above, a sketch from Awdry's first manuscript of Edward's Day Out.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Kids and Technology Study Findings

A few findings from the survey done by Scholastic:
  • 28% of kids (ages 9-17) think that looking through postings or comments on social networking sites like Facebook counts as reading; only 15% of parents agree.
  • 25% of kids (ages 6-17) have read a book on a digital device (the majority on a computer or laptop/netbook).
  • 43% of kids and parents say that, when reading books for fun, it is most important for children’s imagination to be expanded, while about a third say the most important outcome is for children to gain inspiration through characters and storylines (36% kids/35% parents), with about one in five saying it is to gain information (21% kids/22% parents).
  • 86% of kids feel proud and have a sense of accomplishment when they finish reading a book.
  • Only 50% of kids say reading books for fun is extremely or very important; compared to 89% of parents.
  • 71% of parents wish their child would read more books for fun. 75% of children (ages 9-17) say they know they should read more.

The study also reveals that today's children have a broad view of what constitutes reading: 25% of kids (age 9-17) think texting back and forth with friends counts as reading. Most parents don't agree – only 8% of parents count texting as reading.
The report found that the power of choice is a key factor in raising a reader. Nine out of ten children say that they are more likely to finish book they choose themselves. And parents don’t try to overly influence that choice toward award winners or classic literature. Nine out of 10 parents say "As long as my child is reading, I just want my child to read books he/she likes."

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Know a Great Teenager? Enter this Contest!

Nestlé has been a proud sponsor of the biennial Nestlé Very Best In Youth program for more than 12 years. Created to spotlight the best in youth leadership, the program identifies teens whose efforts are making a profound impact in lives other than their own.

What You Can Win

Nestlé helps young people, who want to make a difference, 
realize their dreams by donating $1,000 in the name of each
 winner to the charity of his/her choice. Nestlé also awards the
 winner a trip for them and a parent or guardian to Los Angeles,
 California for the Nestlé Very Best In Youth awards ceremony.
 The trip includes round trip coach air travel, hotel accommodations
 for three nights, and spending money. Each contestant will 
receive a certificate of achievement from Nestlé and samples 
of Nestlé products.

Interested in Becoming a Candidate?

Contestants must be between 13 and 18 years of age and have 
parental or legal guardian permission to submit the entry form. 
Contestants must also demonstrate good citizenship, a strong 
academic record, and show how they have made a special contribution
to their school, church or community.
You may apply online for the 2011 Nestlé Very Best In Youth 
competition. To get started, click here. You will need to answer 
essay questions and submit the following:
  1. Two letters of recommendation:
    • One must be from someone connected to your school 
    • (teacher, counselor, or principal)
    • The other can be from anyone, but your parent/guardian
  2. Copy of your transcript or current report card
  3. A parent or legal guardian consent form

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Teenage Readers

For those of you who work with struggling readers that are older, here is an interesting article that offers intervention ideas for that age group.  It includes descriptions of Reciprical Teaching, Apprenticeship, Read 180, Language!, SRA Corrective Reading, Strategic Instruction Model (SIM).  I've heard of more but this article gives a good brief overview of the above.  Check it out!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Writing Contest is running their contests again

Smory that gets the most views in the month wins $300.
2nd place = $250. 3rd place = $200. 4th place = $150. 5th place = $100.
Fiction for ages 3-8. Written in English. No longer than 700 words
Poetry and rhyme is accepted.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Documentary I want to see

Click on the above title to go to a a two minute trailer for a great movie I want to see.  How do I get my hands on it?  

Friday, October 8, 2010

Picture Books

The love of every teacher.  The way I like to spend my extra money.  Picture books.  I came across this site and really like it.  What do you think?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Q and A: Differences in publishing?

Q"  Can you tell us about PublishAmerica?
Victoria: Oh boy, Publish America!!! Well, it's a neo-vanity publisher. Which is to say, it doesn't charge a fee, but gets its money on the back end by encouraging writers to buy their own books. Writers aren't required to buy their own books, as some vanity publishers do, but they receive constant incentives to do so, through discounts and special offers. PublishAmerica claims to reject 80% of all submissions. Which, even if true, isn't enough to ensure high quality (commercial publishers reject something like 97%). It does little or no editing, no meaningful book marketing, and its cover prices are the highest of any POD publisher around. It has a poor contract, its staff are rude and unhelpful, especially to writers who have problems or complain. Its books are badly designed and poorly formatted, and often full of errors introduced in the .pdf conversion process. It has also become so notorious as a bad publisher that plenty of people in legitimate publishing have heard of it, which is NOT the case with most other vanity publishers. For many people in the know, PublishAmerica reflects very badly on an author. Which is a shame, because while PA is ready to publish bad books, it's equally willing to accept good ones and there are some good writers who've gotten hijacked by PA and whose books will never, as a result, get the exposure they deserve.
Jan: Really virtually any print on demand set up is a PARTICULARLY bad idea for a children's writer. They cost far too much and cost is a MAJOR deal in children's publishing...ask any publisher. They have no bookstore placement. They don't get reviewed. You could print your books yourself and distribute them to your friends and get as many readers as your average POD publisher, And if you aren't getting readers...and it's costing you money...what is the point?
Victoria: Speaking of reviews, PublishAmerica authors send out so many books to newspapers and magazines that many reviewers simply won't even look at PA books. Some review sites have a policy against reviewing them because PA authors who've gotten bad reviews have gotten so upset and made trouble for them.
Q: what is POD?
Victoria: POD = print on demand. This is a technology that allows a single book to be printed and bound in minutes as opposed to being produced in print runs of several thousands. Unfortunately, print on demand has become associated with vanity publishing because of the big "self-publishing" companies like iUniverse and Xlibris. Nowadays, "POD" is practically synonymous with "vanity".
Jan: But although printing book by book seems cheap (and the initial outlay is less than having a print run) the per book price is well higher than most readers will pay. You really just can't sell these things.
Victoria: Right. It's also not true that POD books are indistinguishable from offset-printed books, as POD advocates often claim. I've seen a lot of POD books, some put out by very reputable independent publishers, and they just look...cheaper, somehow. Really, POD is a glorified Xerox process and you can tell the difference.
Q: What does "subsidy-published" mean?
Victoria: It means "vanity published." There really is no such thing anymore as a subsidy publisher, in the sense of a publisher that contributes something of value to match the writer's financial investment, most publishers that call themselves "subsidy" publishers are trying to put a nicer label on vanity publishing.
Q: S/elf publishing and vanity publishing are not the same?
Victoria: No, not at all. With self-publishing, the writer is like a contractor, he puts all aspects of the job out to bid--design, cover art, formatting, printing and binding and coordinates different service providers to produce the final product. With vanity publishing, the writer pays for a pre-set package of services. There may be some flexibility with design and formatting, but basically he's paying someone else to do it all. Not only can self-publishing be more cost-effective than vanity publishing (since vanity publishers build overhead and profit into the price), it can result in a much higher-quality product. But it's a lot more work. One more thing -- Some POD-based services, like iUniverse, describe themselves as "self-publishing" services, but this is somewhat misleading, since the service they provide is more similar to the packages provided by vanity publishers. Hence the confusion between "self-publishing" and "vanity publishing"
taken from “Choosing Reputable Publishing Professionals”   with Victoria Strauss           Thursday, March 9, 2006