Inviting an author into your school is a great way to inspire students and bring books to life.
Here are six Ps to successfully make the day sparkle.
1. Plan the event:
Identify your goals: Is the desired outcome to increase students’ interests in reading, improve the students’ writing skills, spotlight a particular issue, or showcase the author on days like National Read Across America Day? Express these goals to your guest. With advanced notification, he or she will be able to tailor the presentation to your expectations (within reason).
2. Ponder your format:
Is it your school’s vision to have a workshop or presentation with a select group of students and parents, or would you like your author to read and entertain the entire (or portion thereof) student body? Students’ age group is a consideration when planning these events. With ample preparation time your author may be able to do both.
3. Perfect the stage:
Let the author/illustrator know what accommodations you can provide, where the presentation(s) will be set, and ask him or her if she or he have any special request, like a headset microphone, etc. Figuring out the specifics ahead of time makes the day run smoothly.
4. Prep your author:
Ensure your guest has all the information he or she needs to prepare for the visit well in advance of the visit. Supply the exact address of your school and the email address of his or her point of contact. Is there a certain place he or she needs to park? What’s your expected start and finish times? What’s your school mascot, and are there any verboten subjects? Do you have a preference as to which book he or she reads to your students?
5. Prime your students:
Introduce your students to the author’s work and build up positive anticipation each day leading up to the author’s visit. Ensure you have the author’s books on display in the library so your students can explore on his or her own time. Encourage your students to create posters or cards welcoming the author into your school.
6. Pre-Order books:
Have a number of books on hand for the author to sign on the day so students can purchase a memory. Order the books well enough in advance so that they arrive in time. The author will have a limited number of books available for purchase at the event.