Planning a Successful Author Visit
The best author visits are a partnership between the hosting school and the visiting author. An effective author visit can inspire and ignite imaginations and encourage goal setting and achievement. Make the MOST of your visit by trying some or all of the following:
Read the Author's Books
This is the easiest and most effective way to boost an author's visit. Students who are familiar with the author and her stories are more engaged, excited, and enthusiastic!
Share details about the author and their books with students through library book talks, class read-alouds, and in-class or extracurricular book discussions.
Consider seating plans and implement positive behavior expectations.
Students can create visual or dramatic displays by:
Dressing as characters from the book.
Creating welcome posters featuring characters from one or more of the author’s books (Consider having these signed by the author for display after the event!
Help students prepare questions to ask the author during any planned open discussion time.
Have multiple copies of his/her books available ahead of time. Pre-sales help with this goal, too.
Order Discounted Books
It’s best to do this as soon as possible, at least 6-8 weeks in advance. Be sure to order the author’s most recent book since she is likely to talk about it during presentations. Contact your local bookstore or institutional wholesaler to order books. You may also order books from her publisher (ask her for contact information).
Invite Parents and Family Members to Come!
Parents love to see their kids excited about reading, and they can reinforce the visit by purchasing books and chatting about the messages discussed in the visit.
Include the visit in newsletters/in broadcasts/on websites!
The more you share YOUR excitement for the visit, the more that excitement will carry over to your students!
Hang Event Posters Around Your School
Prepare the school (and community) by publicizing the event. Have students help design posters “advertising” the author visit, fill in the date/time/place, and hang them around the school for an extra dose of excitement about the visit.
Double-check the Details
A week or so before the visit, double-check the details with your visiting author. Remind him/her of dates, times, locations, and any special instructions (like parking information) she might need. It's smart to remind the author of the number of expected attendees and to double-check technology requirements at this time.
Build-in Small Breaks Throughout the Day
If your visiting author is doing multiple presentations for you, please remember to build in small 10-15 minute breaks for him/her throughout the day!
Schedule Extra Events Throughout the Day
For your avid readers and budding writers, work with the author to schedule special events like "Lunch with an Author" or the like. These smaller-group activities are often the most rewarding interactions of the day! Arrange space and time for autographing and selling books.
The day should be informative, instructive, and FUN! Spread the excitement and joy, take pictures, and watch your readers possibly pick up a new book afterward. There isn't a better reward than that!
Read More Ideas Here:
“Students at James Island Charter High School loved hearing Ms. Derting talk about The Body Finder! After hearing her presentation, students wanted to read more of her books and felt they learned something from her. Circulation of the sequels soared after her visit!”
Melanie Crumpton –James Island Charter High School (Charleston, South Carolina)
“Students were truly engaged during Kim’s discussion of her works and as testimony, her books flew off the library shelf with many students anxiously awaiting their return!”
Lori Russo –Heaven Hills Middle School (Kennewick, Washington)
“Kim Derting was fantastic! She's engaging, authentic, and funny. She knows how to relate to kids, and she thoughtfully encourages young writers. Plus, she brings the best swag!”
Erica Sage –North Tapps Middle School (Lake Tapps, Washington)