There are many ways to make reading and writing a vital part of a classroom community. One idea you might consider is inviting an author to your school.
A recent survey on author visits* revealed some amazing statistics:
- 91% of those who responded said author visits “motivate[d] students to read more”
- 74% felt visits inspired “creativity and expression”
- 68% believed visits “motivate[d] students to write more”
The impact of an author visit reaches well beyond the event.
School visits are one of my greatest joys. I offer a number of presentations for grades K-8 that focus on everything from the writing process, creating characters, and exploring poetry, to history, ecology, and geography. I also offer presentations for writers, teachers, and librarians. If you’re interested in learning more, please read on! If you’d like to schedule a visit, please contact Sarah Azibo of The Booking Biz.
Many of the girls were concerned going in that it might be hard to talk to a PUBLISHED AUTHOR. After meeting and speaking with Ms. Rose, they were impressed to see that she is so personable and easy to talk to. Some commented that they never thought of authors as real people until they met Ms. Rose. I was especially impressed by Ms. Rose’s attention to valuing each question and answering each student with real thought and care. She took time to honor their interpretations and explain to them that sometimes readers take different things from a work than the author may have originally intended and that is not only ok, but it is a good thing! In sixth grade, young readers often view reading as a black and white process where there is only one “right” interpretation or answer. Hearing Ms. Rose explain that different interpretations are important is invaluable in guiding students on their journey as readers.
— Deidre Thomson, sixth-grade teacher
The Hockaday School (Dallas, TX)
Caroline Starr Rose’s writers workshop engaged even our most reluctant readers and writers! She broke the writing process down into simple steps that allowed students to feel empowered. Each student was able to leave with a plan to begin their next writing assignment. Teachers could see their confidence grow right before their eyes.
— Allison Anderson, Librarian,
Greater Atlanta Christian School (Norcross, GA)
Getting dyslexic students interested in reading is a challenge. But Caroline Rose delighted our students by bringing them back in time to May B.’s home in the 1800s with an interactive, hands-on presentation. We learned of May’s life-changing struggles and victories. Our students wanted more of the story and were inspired to read the book! And we learned some valuable insights on what it’s like to be an author. Thank you, Mrs. Rose and May B.
— Angela Patten, Head of School,
The Sage School (Suwannee, GA)
Caroline shared her creativity and enthusiasm for reading and writing with my 5th graders. She helped my students to understand that even authors have a process to complete writing projects and not all of it is easy. We loved learning how an author can take her passion for a character and time period and create a novel.
— Beth Little, fifth-grade teacher,
Double Eagle Elementary (Albuquerque, NM)
A typical visit includes three separate presentations. Feel free to pick one presentation to be repeated three times or choose a variety to best meet the needs of your students. Some presentations work better in a small-group / classroom setting (no more than 35 students), others are suited to large groups (no more than 100) or assemblies (over 100 students). Read below to see which presentations best suit your community.
Character is the Heart of Story: Using a simple graphic organizer, students will learn to create well-rounded characters with specific traits represented by various parts of the body. (grades 3-8) Suitable for a small-group setting.
Poetry 101: This introduction to poetry helps kids understand poetry is accessible, fun, and not just about love and flowers. Students will learn poetry basics, experience a variety of poetry, and create color poems. (grades 3-8) Suitable for small and large-group settings.
Buckboards, Buffalo Chips, and Bloomers: A hands-on presentation about life on the 1870s frontier. (grades 3-8) Suitable for small and large-group settings.
The Lost Colony: What Really Happened?: Learn about the real history behind Blue Birds and what might have happened to the Lost Colony of Roanoke. (grades 5-8) Suitable for any group size.
The Writing Process, From Idea to Publication: A glimpse into the ways authors work, including a question and answer session. (grades 3-8) Suitable for any group size.
Over in the Wetlands—The Plants, Animals, and Storms of Coastal Louisiana: A hands-on presentation about the flora and fauna of our Gulf Coast that includes information on the life cycle of a hurricane. (grades K-3) Suitable for any group size.
The Poet’s Toolbox: Rhythm, Rhyme and Repetition: Learn about these three poetry tools by clapping, jumping, and chanting poetry! (grades K-2) Suitable for any group size.
Sourdoughs, Stampeders, and Steamers: A hands-on presentation about the Klondike Gold Rush.(grades 3-8) Suitable for small and large-group settings.
Will Cody and the Pony Express: A Mission, a Boy, a Race Against Time Learn about this short-lived, uniquely American mail service and the boy who claimed to be a rider and later grew up to become America’s greatest showman, Buffalo Bill. (grades 2-4) Suitable for any group size.
Skype is an easy, affordable way to for me to visit your school, library, or classroom.
FREE 15-minute Skype Q&A: FIVE FREE SESSIONS PER SCHOOL YEAR, FIRST COME FIRST SERVED: These visits are intended for groups who have read one or more of my books and, with instructor guidance, have prepared questions ahead of time. The fifteen-minute freebie starts with a brief background on the book of your choice and allows for about five – seven questions from your readers. If you would like your entire book club or class to participate, I recommend a longer session.
Cost: FREE (one per class, per year – additional sessions may be scheduled as paid visits)
30 or 45-minutes Skype Q&A: Like the fifteen-minute freebie, these Skype sessions start with a brief background on the book of your choice but allow enough time to cover more questions. Please consider the size of your classroom or book club when determining which session to choose. (If your group is over twenty, I recommend the 45-minute session). Challenge your young readers to dig deep! The best discussions grow from engaged, curious readers who create book-specific questions.
45-Minute Full Presentation Plus Q&A: These Skype sessions are similar to my in-person author visits and writing workshops. They’re 45-minute sessions that begin with a 25-minute presentation, using a book of your choice as a focus title. We wrap up with 20 minutes of Q&A with students.
for teachers and librarians
10 Things I Wish I’d Known About Writing When I Was in the Classroom: As a former teacher, I put a high priority on the writing lives of my students. Unfortunately, I wasn’t equipped to serve them as best I could. It was only when I became an author that I was able to see some of the mistakes I made. In this presentation, you’ll see how authors and illustrators approach their work and learn strategies to encourage young writers of all abilities and interest levels.
Going Deep with Young Readers: Books play a unique role in the lives of children. They provide opportunities for them to learn about themselves and the world around them. Young people will claim reading as their own if we provide them with a variety of titles, honor their choices, and model our own joy. This presentation includes strategies to use in the classroom to help students learn to love the written word and to feel valued as the readers they are.
After-School Book Clubs: From mother-daughter book clubs to Author of the Month lunch meetings at the school library, this workshop will equip participants to think through the ways they can facilitate their own book groups or how they might present the idea to local schools, neighbors, libraries, or bookstores. The presentation incorporates strategies on forming groups, planning what to read, keeping kids active, spreading the word, and pitfalls to avoid. Sample handouts include actual book lists from an after-school historical-fiction book club, guidelines for participants, a tip sheet for parents, ways teachers and librarians might encourage participation, and activities that enhance discussion.
Where in the World are We Reading: Bringing Literature into the Social Studies Classroom: Learn about easy ways to incorporate historical fiction into your social studies curriculum. Based on the author’s own experiences in the classroom, this presentation highlights a literature-based project that can be easily altered to fit any grade or social studies strand.
A Writer’s Manifesto: Who You Are, What You Value, and Why It Matters: There’s plenty of advice out there for authors who want to set writing and career goals, but virtually nothing for those who want to thoughtfully plan how to live in the midst of the inevitable changes publication can bring. In this session, participants will explore the reasons they write, will create their own sustainable definition of success, will examine how they respond to public feedback, comparison, and envy, and will begin their own Writer’s Manifestos to both guide and encourage their future work.
Lasting Connections: Planning and Preparing School Visits: Whether you’re published or not, it’s never too early to start thinking about author visits. But how do you even begin? In this workshop, writers will brainstorm presentation topics and learn what teachers are looking for. We’ll talk about communicating with schools, creating your own speaking contract, deciding what to charge for your presentations, and handling the unexpected. Studying a variety of author websites, participants will gather ideas for preparing and promoting their own future visits.
* 2014 Author Visit Survey by Alexis O’Neill. Over 600 respondents in thirty-nine states and eight countries.