With the first day of school rapidly approaching, many parents are wondering how to keep kids enthusiastic about reading throughout the school year. Have you thought about hosting an author in your school? Parent groups and teachers may not be aware of this terrific resource. Many children's authors will visit schools and offer workshops, assembly presentations, and more. What better way to become excited about reading and writing than visiting with a real author!
Alexis O'Neill, children book author and school visit specialist says that librarians often hears comments from librarians who say, "kids are so charged up that books are being checked out all the time." According to O'Neill, this enthusiasm is the direct result of a face-to-face experience with an author. She says, "Isn't that supposed to be the true fruit of a reading program? -- getting kids to check out books ON THEIR OWN -- not for an assignment, not for points -- but just for the sheer love of reading!"
Children's authors are passionate about books and about kids. O'Neill explains, "Most children's authors enter this business with a mission to make a difference in kids' lives through their stories. Many have had significant previous careers in education and possess great skills and knowledge in making powerful curriculum connections. A children's author is a writing consultant with star appeal. A one day visit can turn lives around."
Many authors will create a program to meet the needs of your group or school. Fees vary, but expect to pay an author as you would any educational specialist visiting your school. If you home school, consider getting a group together and share the cost with other parents. Authors will be happy to autograph books, which can be pre-ordered from your local bookseller. In some cases, the bookseller will give your group a discount, or donate a percentage of the cost back to your school.
There are likely children's authors right in your own community who could offer a wonderful program to your students. If you need assistance finding someone for your school or group, contact the Society of Children's Book Writer's and Illustrators at www.scbwi.org