Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Ten Reasons Author Visits are Valuable to Schools

Across the United States, many schools invite an author or illustrator to visit their school on a regular basis--many do so once each year. So what are the benefits of an author visit?

1) Author visits excite kids about reading. After all, when the whole school is abuzz with the news of an impending visit, and a lot of kids are chatting about certain books, and when there's even a chance to get a signed book when the author arrives, well...the excitement spreads!

2) Author visits create an opportunity to get a "special" book into the hands of students through book sales to the kids. Not all schools include a book sale, but most do. Schools find that parents are often willing to purchase a visiting author's book, and so it's a great way to get children's print material in the home. Schools generally purchase some books for their school library as well, which is another way to get those "special" books into kids' hands.

3) Authors have the chance to pass on writing tips to students. Kids often ask how author get their ideas, and idea generation can be a toughie when students find themselves with a writing assignment. Many authors have other writing tips to offer that kids take to heart. After all, an author is an expert writer, right?

4) Authors can help kids to understand that what students do in the classroom is really very much like what authors do in the working world--especially if authors discuss their writing, and rewriting process.

5) Author visits often encourage kids to try books they normally wouldn't try. For example, if a student has no interest in nonfiction, but a nonfiction author visits, that student will more likely than not have exposure to that author's nonfiction work. And, given the connection the student has with the author, it's possible that the nonfiction book will be embraced by the student, changing their attitude that genre.

6) Author visits give kids the chance to hear their teachers' lessons affirmed by an "expert" or "authority," the author. This goes a long way in supporting the work of the teacher.

7) Authors can sometimes shed light on the teaching of writing which can benefit the teachers in the school. Authors have the opportunity to be in a great number of schools and can see first hand what techniques are working and what are not. 

8) Author visits can recharge teachers' excitement over books, reading, and writing. With so many things to tug at a teachers' attention, this refocusing can be a good thing.

9) Likewise, author visits can inspire teachers to be writers. Many teachers have a secret desire to write children's books, and visiting with an author, especially one who encourages them to pursue that dream can be a shot in the arm. This is not only good for morale, but excitement is catching, so a teacher who is serious about and excited about her own writing, models that, thus encouraging it in her students.

10) Finally, author visits give kids the very exciting opportunity to meet someone famous. (At least in their minds!) 

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