Preparing for an Author Visit
Thank you for inviting me for an author visit. As a former fifth grade teacher, I absolutely love going back to the classroom to work with students on reading and writing. Truly, it is the joy of being an author!
Here are some ideas that might be helpful in preparing for your author visit. I am always willing to work to make this the best experience for the students and teachers. Please contact me if you need any help at all. Thank you, again.
The best predictor for a successful author visit is the students' knowledge of the author’s books. Students who have read or heard the author’s books read aloud will more thoroughly understand the presentations. If you have a school librarian, maybe she might be willing to read the books to all the classes to ensure that everyone hears them. Asking classroom teachers to read them aloud to their class is another good way to prepare the children. Excitement builds as the students learn about the books.
If you choose Writing Workshop: 216 Story Ideas for one of your presentations, be sure to make the writing templates before the author visit. Students need to come to the presentation with the templates already made and ready to work. I will mail an example of the writing template along with the directions to the school well before the author visit. Anyone can easily assemble the templates. Sometimes schools use volunteers, teachers' aides, PTO members or the students themselves. The teachers can easily make the templates with the students a week or two before the author visit. It will only take 5 minutes for the class to make.
If you choose First Grade Story Mapping as one of your presentations, I will mail an example of the story map that each student must have when they walk into the presentation. The assembly of the map will probably be best if handled by an adult volunteer, aide or teacher.
It's also important to have adult volunteers in the First Grade Story Mapping session. Students will need help with some of the writing and organizing. A ratio of 1 adult to 5 or 6 students is ideal.
The technology set-up should be easy, but I like to arrive at the school an hour before the presentation to work on this. Schools need to have a computer with the capability to project onto a screen in every room where a presentation is to take place. I will bring my presentations on a flash drive and load it onto the school's computer. Please have the contact person who will assist with the technology set-up available an hour before the first presentation.
Book orders can be a fun element to an author visit, but it is completely optional. If your school chooses to have students order books, I will personally inscribe them to the students. Book orders work best if sent out 3-4 weeks ahead of the author visit. This allows families time to look at the book orders and make their selections.
Many schools choose to make fliers with my books along with a form for ordering. Please see the section Book Orders for Author Visits for more detailed information about ordering.
For easy record keeping, I will send an invoice for the author visit when all the schedules and plans have been set up. I do ask that payment is rendered on the day of services.