Author Visits: How Bringing Wordsmiths to Your Classroom Can Lead to Big Wins

3 min


As a teacher, one of the areas you’re no doubt concentrating on each year is fostering a love of reading in your students. This is particularly the case when you teach junior students who are learning to read by themselves. 

There are many things you can do to encourage children to read more. For example, make sure you have a wide variety of quality reading materials on hand to suit all interests, and read out loud to students, share positive reading experiences, and make time for reading in class. 

Another positive way to get kids more excited about books, words, and stories is to invite authors to speak to your class. There are many benefits to be enjoyed from this, not just for your students but also for yourself and your school.

Benefits for Students 

Many positives come from students getting to meet authors directly. When they hear authors speak about their journeys and challenges, children learn that authors are ordinary people who have to work hard to make their books the finished products sold in stores. Not all authors are the best spellers or readers, after all (many are dyslexic, in fact), so hearing how they were able to get books in print will inspire young writers. 

Most authors will talk about the persistence required to get published the first time, and then to have additional books contracted. This demystifies the process for students. Rather than mistakenly thinking all authors have a natural ability to write and that the process is an easy one, students will learn that, like with anything in life, getting back up after a knockback is vital. 

This information will encourage young writers to be more willing to have a go at writing content, even if they don’t feel it comes naturally to them. Many teachers report that students show an increase in confidence in their writing after an author visit. 

Authors also share helpful, practical tips with students during visits. For example, they talk about how they come up with ideas, plan and write a first draft, and some writing dos and don’ts. They might teach students about story structure, using lyrical language, characterization, setting, conflict, etc. 

Authors also share stories about how they got published, what it’s like working with editors and/or illustrators, and other relevant business subjects (particularly helpful for older students). All of this information is good for kids to know and will help them to understand there are many layers to creating a publishable book. 

Another plus for students is that they’ll probably come out of the event more drawn to books. Authors chat about the tomes they’ve loved and been inspired by over the years and often explain how much they learned from their reading. This, in turn, helps children to see reading as “cool,” and to want to develop the same reading and analysis skills as authors. 

Benefits for Teachers and Schools

Authors are naturally curious people who are on the lookout for ideas and ways to combine them. They’re often students of human behavior, and take in as much as they can around them. When students hear about this, they may start to be more open and interested themselves. This increase in engagement and motivation makes it easier for teachers to get children involved in storytelling and to be excited about coming up with plot ideas instead of intimidated. 

Another plus for teachers is that authors often share new ideas about encouraging students to read and write. These are ideas to incorporate in the classroom. Many authors bring additional workshops, coloring-in sheets, and activity lists for teachers, too. These can help educators to further delve into curriculum topics and to tie reading and writing into numerous subjects. 

Furthermore, often what authors say in their presentations helps to cement what teachers have been advocating in the classroom anyway. Some students need to hear the information again from an external third-party to pay attention to it.

For schools, author visits are useful because they show parents the kinds of opportunities that children attending the school can access. 

If you feel like you’re inundated with work and don’t have the time to arrange an author visit, remember the benefits. There is much to be gained from having an author speak with your class. Try it out just once, and you’re sure to want authors to visit time and again. 


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Jason

Newbie

This is Jason, freelance writer and part-time teacher. I used to write articles about education, classroom management and a lot during my free time. I strongly suggest my readers to visit sites like www.learninga-z.com to check wide variety of quality reading materials on hand to suit all interests.

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