Claire wrote her first books while still a teacher in Fort Lee, New Jersey, She started out as a self-publisher as EardleyPublications when 38 publishers turned down Dangerous English...as well, too dangerous. After marketing the book herself for several years along with What’s So Funny? and Three Little Words: A, An, and The, Claire sold rights to Delta Systems, one of the largest ESL distributors in the U.S.
Her next book, “Hi! (the English Children Need)", was written in 1984 for her elementary ESL students at School Four in Fort Lee, using her classroom experiences to create materials geared for students immersed in an English language environment. The first two hundred copies of "Hi!" were printed by students at Hackensack Technical High School for the use of Claire's own ESL students for the next few years...then the rights were bought by Minerva Books, Limited.
Prentice Hall commissioned Claire’s next book, ESL Teacher’s Activities Kit, and she left her day job to become a full-time writer. Claire based this comprehensive teacher resource book on her experiences with students from many backgrounds, many English ability levels, and many age levels. The Activities Kit was followed up by a Holiday Activities Kit for ESL teachers.
A few years later, Claire teamed up with Judie Haynes, another ESL teacher to write the Classroom Teacher’s ESL Survival Kits, # 1 and # 2. By coincidence, Haynes and Claire share the same birthday, April 6.
Claire’s experiences both as self-publisher and being published by others led her to go back into self-publishing, this time, with a newspaper, Easy English NEWS, a monthly newspaper she founded with Mariko Sasaki, a former colleague at Fort Lee, now director of JBC Language. The newspaper was partly funded by the Robinson Foundation, and devoted to helping newcomers feel welcomed to this country. At the same time, its purpose is to help recent arrivals to learn vocabulary, reading, andAmerican customs, culture, holidays, government, history, geography, health, idioms, and humor.
“How are we going to celebrate this grand anniversary?” Claire wondered.
“Each day in business is a gamble,” said Claire. “So with the theme, “Life is a gamble,” Mariko and I took my small New Jersey office staff to dinner at Terraces at the Meadowlands race track. Easy English NEWS provided the money so each of us could each make a $2 bet on each race...” It was sobering...but that’s pretty much what it’s like to be in business...you win some and you lose some. And if you lose too many, you’re out.”
Claire has lost some, and she’s won some with her publishing business. At first she hoped book sales would help support the publication of Easy English NEWS...'
("a very expensive toy,” a knowledgeable friend had warned her when she started). Claire took part-time jobs, and took in a boarder to share expenses, but eventually, the paper started giving her a salary, and allowed more funds for advertising. With years of experience, she now wins a lot and does better than she did at her race track celebration. Easy English NEWS now funds what Claire calls her “bad habit of writing books” and over the past five years, has covered the costs of illustrating and printing five levels of student books plus accompanying CD sets for ESL Phonics for All Ages. This series is designed to help the literacy needs of older newcomers who are not literate in any language and also have very limited English.
Elizabeth Claire, Inc. is dedicated to producing materials for students and teachers of English as a second language.