Monday, November 25, 2019

The importance of school visits

I came across this article about how school visits have "a lasting impact" on students and thought I'd mention it here. From the article:

"In June 2019, The National Literacy Trust in the UK reported that pupils had authors visit their schools:
  • Were twice as likely to read above their expected level for their age
  • Were more likely to enjoy reading and writing
  • Were more likely to be highly confident in their reading"
Take those points in for a moment and really think about what they mean. ONE author visit can make a world of difference for kids.

A wonderful class I Skyped with

I know sometimes the thought of hosting an author for a day can be intimidating to someone who has never hosted an author before. But please remember, we want the day to be successful too and will work with you and help you. I have a tip sheet I send whenever I book a visit along with a short list of items I need to help make the visit go smoothly. Honestly, the number one thing is not difficult, it just takes a commitment from the teachers, and that is getting the kids familiar with the author's work before the day of the visit by book talking and reading aloud. Kids do much better if they feel like the know the author versus going to a presentation by a stranger, and the way they feel they know the author is through getting to know the work.

I also help you figure out if it's feasible to partner with a bookstore or not for selling books and am happy to provide order forms for you. And if you can't or don't want to do it, it's okay! Students do love getting signed books but I think most authors understand that you are busy and you may not have the bandwidth to make it happen. Some schools have great volunteers to help make it happen, but that isn't the case everywhere so don't feel bad if it's not feasible. 

Funding is often the big thing that holds schools back from hosting an author but there are lots of solutions. I've done a couple of visits that were funded by grants that teachers applied for. A school can also seek out sponsorship with a business who would fund the author for some advertising in return. Sometimes the PTO is more than happy to do a special fundraiser for the visit. There are also bookstores that offer schools a 20% discount on books so the school can sell them at full-price and use that money to pay for the visit. That's just a few ideas, there are plenty more.

There is an informational page on this website about my school visit presentations and pricing, but please feel free to reach out if you have questions and I'm happy to answer anything you'd like to know. And if a Skype visit would be more your thing, I'm always willing to do those as well. A short Q&A Skype is free if the students have read one of my books, or you can pay for a longer one with a writing presentation and time for questions at the end.

If you're a parent, student, teacher, or librarian and would like one of my author visit brochures to present to pass around and/or share with the administration, you can drop me a note with a mailing address at

I love getting kids excited about reading and writing. That's my number one goal at my school visits. When I talk about using juicy words or how revision is more than fixing spelling and talk about what REAL revision means, teachers tell me later that they love that I'm reinforcing what they've been telling their students for months. 

Yes, school visits take some extra work. But work that is very much worth it in the end.

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