Inviting an author to come and speak at your school is a wonderful way to motivate the readers and writers in your classroom. They are experts in the craft of storytelling and can provide your students with incredible inspiration. In order to have a successful author visit at your school, you need to be prepared! Here are some key tips for making it run smoothly.
Before the Author Visit
Choose an author
Many authors are willing to make visits to schools. You could pick a local author or a big name that many students will be familiar with. Check the author’s website or social media channels for contact information. They (or their team) will be able to give you details about available dates, cost, etc. This will help you get the planning process started.
An author visit often costs money. You will need to pay them for both their time and travel (if they are not local). In order to do so, you’ll need to fundraise. Think of some ways that you can connect the fundraiser to the author! If you have a parent group that works with the school, they will be able to help get the fundraiser up off the ground.
Read as many books by the author that you can. Have the school librarian put them on display in the library. Pass the books around to all of the classes that will see the author present. You could even have older students read the books aloud to the younger grades. Allow time for students to discuss the books and possible questions they might have for the author.
Have students create their own books or stories that connect to the author who will be coming to speak. If it is Mary Pope Osborne, have students write their own Magic Tree House adventure! If it’s Dan Gutman, have them write a weird story about your school or their own baseball card adventure. Let them get creative!
Build excitement for the author’s visit. They are a major celebrity – and they are coming to YOUR school! Create a countdown to the day they will be arriving at your school. Place the countdown in a high-traffic area so that all students (and even parents) will see it! The more build up, the better!
The Day of the Author Visit
Have a schedule set up
In order to stay organized and make sure everything goes smoothly, create a schedule of how the day will go. Clarify with the author on how many presentations they are willing to do. Some prefer smaller groups, while others would rather present to the whole school at once.
If the author will be at your school all day, provide them with a delicious lunch (probably not one from the school cafeteria!). They may even be willing to sit with a few students for an extra special treat, but be sure to check first.
Memorialize their visit
To further their “celebrity status,” have the author leave their mark on your school. They could sign a framed photo to hang in the school or add a signed copy of their book to the library.
Let students write (or read)!
After listening to the author speak, your students will definitely be excited! They may be inspired to read more of the author’s books or even create some of their own. Allow them time for some creative reading or writing!
Write thank you notes!
Have each student or class write a thank you note to the author. Brainstorm some of the key ideas that the author talked about or what resonated with them. Students could even design a card to go along with their letter.