Friday, October 24, 2014

Author School Visits? Have You Done Them, We Need Your Advice

Today I'm asking you guys for some advice.

My daughter, Jessica has been asked by the local elementary school to come in and give a talk about writing and being an author.  She's a little nervous as it will be her first time actually speaking in front of a group.  

For those of you who have spoken to kids in 4-6th grade, or are teachers, we would appreciate any ideas that have worked well for you on how to engage them in the discussion instead of just talking at them.  

She has about 30 minutes with each group and she wants to have enough ideas to last the whole time, so she's not just staring at a bunch of blank faces with nothing left to say!

She would love to get them to do a little activity and involve them in the writing process.  

Thanks and have a great fall weekend!  Anyone going to get apples and cider?

Kathy :)


  1. I just visited a school yesterday!

    Have her talk about the process, because most kids don't know. She could do something that would get the kids involved. I do a characterization session and help the kids make their very own characters. Be sure she takes bookmarks for the kids!

  2. L. Diane- Thanks so much. That's a great idea! And I'll order some bookmarks this week!

  3. I agree with Diane's suggestion. I would certainly talk about the process. This is a mystery to a lot of kids. I would also talk about how you generate ideas and how much work it takes to develop these ideas. Kids often think that writers' words flow out beautifully on the first draft and that is discouraging to them when they look at their blank pages or rough drafts. Be sure to donate a book to the school library!!!! And perhaps you could give a book or two away with a drawing from the names of the kids who participated. Your daughter should also ask the kids what they want to know about authors and writing or if any of them want to be authors.

  4. Fundy Blue- Oh those are great suggestions too! Thanks so much! :)

  5. Never spoken to a class of kids, but looks like you have some fine suggestions there.

  6. I'm not good with public speaking. I'd be more nervous than Jessica! Good luck to her. I'm sure she'll figure something out :)

  7. Jessica should just think of them as a class full of Ryans. Try to think of it as an informal conversation as the class size will not be hundreds of people (GR has spoken to groups of a dozen to 500 audience sizes so far, and the smaller ones lend themselves better to more informal discussions). Take some of her drawings and sketches that relate to or resemble book characters or scenes and set them up around the room. Also explain how (if it is true) drawing helps with the writing. Remember that, unless there are published authors in the elementary school class (it could happen, but unlikely) she knows more than any of them about the writing process as well as how to self publish and market a book. Think of the class as friends who have asked her how to write and publish a book. Definitely hand out bookmarks! (Full disclosure-GR contributed to these ideas). When is it scheduled (in case we might invite ourselves as helper/cheerleaders)?

  8. Oh, and it's called cider and donuts, and yes we did just today. :) And one more thing...GR gives her speeches in her second (non-native) language. So Jessica should give hers in Chinese, or Spanish, or at least Canadian! :) That should make giving it in English a piece of cake (or a piece of sushi-in Japan, or a piece of dumpling in China, or a piece of tres leches cake in Spanish).

  9. Alex- Yup I think we can work with those.


    David-It's in Ryan's class, so that should help! :)