It’s Monday! – What Are You Reading? 6-30-14

It’s Monday! – Here’s what I’ve been reading the past week…

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee

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When I started reading this book, I was unsure if it was going to be one that I enjoyed.  Normally I don’t choose books that deal with wizardry and such topics.  However, once I got going, I loved the story!  The characters were easy to relate to, and I couldn’t put the book down.  I hadn’t planned on staying up late to read, but I read it start to finish in one sitting.  With each turn of the page, I wanted to know whether or not Ophelia was successful with her quest to free the Marvelous Boy.  I would DEFINITELY recommend this book to my students.

Dear Life, You Suck by Scott Blagden

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So….  Normally I don’t enjoy books that contain profanity, but this would definitely be the exception.  Cricket Cherpin (and yes… this is him real name), is a 17-year old teen that has lived in a Catholic orphanage for the past eight years since the death of his little brother.  No other boy has lived there that long and he is the only teen residing there.  Cricket is constantly standing up for his young “brothers” against bullies at school, and he tells them creative stories that he makes up after dinner.  Memories from his past haunt him and make him very negative about what life has to offer.  His constant funny analogies of life actually made me laugh out loud at points in the story.  (And I am a fairly stoic person in general.)

Now…  I decided to look up other reviews about this author’s first book as rereading mine doesn’t seem to do the book justice…  at all….  Here is my favorite that I feel sums up the book much better than I did.

https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/scott-blagden/dear-life-you-suck/

“Dear story, you rock.

Seventeen-year-old Cricket Cherpin (yes, his real name) has lived in a Catholic orphanage in Maine since he was 8 and his little brother died. He has a deep facial scar, the legacy of a prostitute mother and a drug-dealing father, and he hides an even deeper, internal scar through constant fighting and irreverence for authority (he’s not afraid to tell it like it is), religion (he hates Jesus), language (f-bombs land) and sex (he thinks about it a lot). Although Cricket is deemed a bully, his punches keep younger boys and school nerds safe. In this debut, his first-person narration, loaded with biting sarcasm and never-ending nicknames for his oppressors, reveals the push and pull of his soul. Cricket loves old movies, feels comfortable with his feminine side and relishes telling stories to the younger orphans, yet emotions surrounding a potential romance, guilt over his brother’s death and an uncertain future make him ready to jump off the local cliffs. While a slow build of hints to Cricket’s past helps explain his current state, a sudden chain of events forces him to confront his violence, relationships and the direction of his life.”

Only fellow classic-movie and -television buffs will understand all of the teen’s references, but all readers will appreciate Cricket’s complex, lovable character and the strong adults who nourish it.(Fiction. 14 & up)

I worked for years with students that suffered from emotional disabilities due to trauma they experienced while being raised in “tough” households.  This book was an eye-opening view of how these teens sometimes feel.

DEFINITELY RECOMMEND!!!!!  However, this book is definitely more suited for older teens due to the strong language and content of the material.

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

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LOVE!  LOVE!  LOVE!  Need I say more?  I had heard that Sarah Dessen’s books were good, but I thought this one was fabulous!  My daughter just finished reading Just Listen, and I will work on tackling that one on our long trip to Kansas next week.  She will definitely be one that I will keep in my sights for future down time.  It was one of those books where I lost track of time.  When I got done reading, I couldn’t believe that it was almost 11 p.m.  Getting lost in a story is amazing…

Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

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Bryce and Julianna are two eighth grade students that have been neighbors for years.  Juli has literally been driving Bryce nuts since he moved into the neighborhood right before second grade.  After years of avoidance, Bryce starts to see Juli in a different light.  Part of this change stems from tensions in his own home and finally seeing his father for who he truly was on the inside.  Van Draanen wrote the story by alternating narrators with Bryce and Juli taking turns telling the story from their personal perspective.  I feel as though this is a story that would keep my students’ interest as it flows very easily from one subject to the next while making the reader want to know what will happen next. 

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell

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When I originally picked this book, I wondered how a story that only had one character living on an island could really have enough information to hold my attention.  Once starting the book though, I was immediately hooked.  O’Dell did a wonderful job of describing her surroundings in a way that kept me intrigued and wanting to know what happened next.  This is a beautifully written story, and it is no wonder that it received the Newberry Award.

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School Wide Reading Programs

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Literacy is a huge concern in our society.  There is a huge push to make sure that all students read on grade level, and there is much talk as to how to accomplish that task.  Since many professionals have differing opinions on the best way to increase reading scores, I decided to look into school wide reading programs to see what is available for educators.

One of the articles that I really liked is entitled, Steps for School-Wide Reading Improvement.  I like this article, as it breaks down information into the following easy to follow instructions: 

  • Background
  • Part 1:  Implementing a School-Wide Plan for Reading Improvement

o   Step 1 – Leadership Team Part 1 – Getting Started

o   Step 2 – Leadership Team Part 2 – Maintaining Momentum

o   Step 3 – Engage in Professional Development To Improve Reading Instruction

o   Step 4 – Make Adjustments to Your School-Wide Reading Programs

o   Step 5 – Improve Parent Partnerships

  • Part 2:  Using Study Groups To Improve Reading in Your School

o   1 – Providing Ongoing Professional Development through Study Groups

o   2 – Literacy Development in Kindergarten:  Phonemic Awareness, Phonics Instruction, and Oral Language Development

o   3 – Word Recognition

o   4 – Fluency

o   5 – Vocabulary

o   6 – Comprehension Strategies

o   7 – Talking and Writing about the Meaning of Text

o   8 – Motivation

o   9 – Balance Literacy Instruction and Assessment

o   10 – Meeting Individual Student’s Needs

http://www.nea.org/assets/docs/HE/mf_schoolwidereading.pdf

Within each subcategory of the above outline, there are specific suggestions as to how to accomplish each task.  The information provided is very well laid out, and it could be a good starting point for educators to start looking deeper into development a program to meet the needs of their individual students.

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The next book that I would recommend for those that are looking at implementing a program is entitled, Taking Action on Adolescent Literacy.  In Chapter 5:  Develop and Implement a Schoolwide Literacy Action Plan, the authors state, “A schoolwide literacy action plan is an essential blueprint for improving student achievement. An effective plan requires the skillful use of data about student performance, literacy needs and expectations in the school and community, school capacity to support literacy development, current teaching practices, and effectiveness of the literacy program. To generate change, leaders must actively use a literacy action plan to guide decision making around instruction, programming, and resource allocation.”  They go on to say, “An effective schoolwide literacy plan guides action on many levels, focusing multiple activities toward increasing students’ reading, writing, and thinking skills. A comprehensive literacy action plan has action steps related to five key areas: 

  • Strengthening Literacy Development Across the Content Areas;
  • Literacy Interventions for Struggling Readers and Writers;
  • School Policies, Structures, and Culture for Supporting Literacy;
  • Building Leadership Capacity; and
  • Supporting Teachers to Improve Instruction.

This information was provided to me at the following website:

http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/107034/chapters/Develop-and-Implement-a-Schoolwide-Literacy-Action-Plan.aspx

No matter what format and program that a district decides to implement, it is important that all teachers are trained so that it is consistent school wide for students to have the best outcome.  Children are the future, and it is our job to make sure that they can compete in this competitive, technological world.  Without a good reading foundation, they could have many struggles throughout their lives.

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 6-23-14

It’s Monday! – Here’s What I’ve Been Reading

Over the course of this week, numerous books came into the library that I recommended for purchase.  Some I didn’t have time to read as they were chapter books, and they arrived on my last day of interning.  However, the following picture books I felt were great!  They would be great additions to any children’s library.

Gravity by Jason Chin

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This is a very simple book to introduce the concept of gravity to children.  The end of the book provides more in-depth information for those wanting to expand their knowledge.

Humble Pie by Jennifer Donnelly

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Donnelly’s book provides great descriptive words to add to the wonderful story.  Children will be exposed to a higher level of reading for picture books, and it has a good moral of helping others and not always just taking.  I would definitely recommend it to others.

The Spiffiest Giant in Town by Julia Donaldson

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What a sweet story with a wonderful main character.  The giant just wants to fit in, so he purchases some spiffy new clothes.  Along his walk home though, he encounters many creatures that are less fortunate, and he chooses to help them out which puts him right back where he started.  I recommend that you read this lovely story to find out how it turns out.

Emily’s Blue Period by Cathleen Daly

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Sadly many children in our society have to deal with the reality of parents separating.  This sweet book shows how little ones may experience “blue” periods but can still be happy in life.  It is a very well written story that tackles a tough subject in a sweet way by discussing “blue” artwork.  RECOMMEND…

In addition to these great picture books, I read some adolescent literature that is wonderful as well.  Over the course of the summer, most of the books that I have chosen have been very enjoyable.  There are only a few that I was “iffy” on.  This week I tackled the following books:

Hoot by Carl Hiaasen

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Hoot highlights some of the struggles that children have when moving to a new town.  It is tough to fit in, but it only takes some courage, the friendship of a few, and a common goal to change the course of daily life.  In their quest to save endangered burrowing owls, the antics and vandalism of a construction site are revealed.  This book is definitely one that will keep the interest of students, and it was a quick, fun read for me as well.

Rules of the Road by Joan Bauer

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Rules of the Road was recommended to me by the cataloger where I completed my internship.  Although I had never read a book by Joan Bauer, I would definitely reach for another one.  The teen girl whose life was challenging due to an unpredictable drunk of a father showed wonderful character as the story progressed.  This story is truly inspirational showing that no matter what a person’s circumstances in life, they can be successful.  It was definitely worth the read, and I will look to read more of Bauer’s books.

The Giver by Lois Lowry

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To some people in a Utopian society, being selected to the position of “Receiver of Memory” might be an honor.  However, as Jonas soon learns after he is given this distinction, it has some responsibilities that prove to be challenging.  After learning what it is like to see colors, experience thrilling events and painful memories, Jonas must decide if he wants to continue to live in a world of “sameness.”  Is there something more to life than what he has always known?

What would you do if given the responsibilities that were put on this boy in his twelfth year of his life?  Read The Giver to find out…

And… although I haven’t read them yet, I hear that the sequels to this story are good as well…

Holes by Louis Sachar

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Stanley Yelnats is a teenage boy that is sent to a juvenile detention facility due to an unfortunate series of events.  Upon arriving at the desolate location, he quickly realizes that his days are not going to be easy.  However, he befriends a boy called “Zero,” and together they learn some interesting facts that tie their families together from years before.

The trials and tribulations that the boys experience at Camp Green Lake lend to a fast moving and entertaining story for all.  Read closely to find out the true reason why the boys are forced to dig holes that are five feet deep and five feet wide day in and day out in the hot desert under the warden’s watchful eye.

The BFG by Roald Dahl

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The Big Friendly Giant in this story is just that… Friendly!!!!  Not like all of the other giants that children usually imagine in their minds.  This whimsical story is very nicely summarized on the back of the book, so I will give you the exact words chosen by the author below:

“Captured by a giant!  The BFG is no ordinary bone-crunching giant.  He is far too nice and jumbly.  It’s lucky for Sophie that he is.  Had she been carried off in the middle of the night by the Bloodbottler, the Fleshlumpeater, the Bonecruncher, or any of the other giants – rather than the BFG – she would have soon become breakfast.  When Sophie hears that they are flush-bunking off to England to swollomp a few nice little childdlers, she decides she must stop them once and for all.  And the BFG is going to help her!”

I am a little embarrassed to say that I have never taken the time before now to read this sweet story as it was our youngest daughter’s very favorite book years ago.  She literally read it over and over and over again!  I just never took the time to pick it up.  I am glad that I finally did, as I think that students will love it!

Literary Prizes and Awards

My main blog idea for today was to research different literary prizes and awards.  Although I have shared those ideas below, I wanted to share some wonderful children’s books that I read this week while interning in a library.  The first one is “Jacob’s New Dress” by Ian Hoffman.  I have seen some very conflicting points of view on this book, but I thought it was beautifully done.  Many children and families that are challenged with raising children that don’t conform to societal expectations could benefit from the wonderful approach that this author took in addressing a touchy subject in the eyes of many people.  I also loved the illustrations, and I feel that it is a great book for all to read.

Also, one of the blogs that I follow shared some non-fiction choices that I grabbed to read that were lovely as well.  When you have the time, the following three books are great reads that tell children how important and special they are to the world. 

  • “I Have the Right to Be a Child” by Alain Serres
  • “We Are All Born Free” by Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • “Whoever You Are” by Mem Fox

I have been helping the children’s librarian with collection development, and she was very excited to see that all three books that I was going to recommend to her today were already in her collection.  “Jacob’s New Dress” just arrived today as it was on the list I gave her earlier in the week.  She ordered eight more today that I recommended, and I am excited for them to come in.  Hopefully they will arrive before my internship is over as my last day is this Friday.  What a wonderful experience to be having while taking an adolescent literature class at the same time!

Now… to the rest of my blog today…

Literary Prizes and Awards

While interning in the Sheridan County Public Library system, I noticed that each library has shelves that highlight award winning books specific to Wyoming awards.  They are as follows:

Buckaroo Book Award – grades K-3

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  • 2014 WinnerCreepy Carrotsby Aaron Reynolds
  • 2014 1st Runner-UpLittle Dog Lostby Monica Carnesi
  • 2014 2nd Runner-UpChalk by Bill Thomson

Indian Paintbrush Award – grades 4-6

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  • 2013-2014 WinnerWonder by R.J. Palacio (MY NEW FAVORITE BOOK!)
  • 2013-2014 1st Runner-UpThe One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
  • 2013-2014 2nd Runner-UpWild Life by Cynthia DeFelice

Soaring Eagle Award – grades 7-12

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  • 2014 WinnerTiger’s Curse by Colleen Houck
  • 2014 1st Runner-UpLegend by Marie Lu
  • 2014 2nd Runner-UpMichael Vey:  Rise of the Elgen by Richard Paul Evans

When I was a child, I was thrilled to get to meet the author of one of the winners of The Indian Paintbrush Award.  Kenneth Thomasma came to our school, and he signed my book Naya Nuki:  The Girl Who Ran that had won the award that year (1986).  Meeting a “real-life” author made quite an impact on me, and I have been a fan of his books ever since.

Many literary awards highlight the amazing stories and authors that produce reading material for the masses.  There are definitely too many awards to list them all, but I decided to focus on a few for today’s blog that “…are announced every January at a Monday morning press conference that takes place during the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting” according to http://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/bookmedia.

(John) Newbery Medal
The Newbery Medal honors the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.

  • 2014 WinnerFlora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

(Randolph) Caldecott Medal
The Caldecott Medal honors the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.

  • 2014 WinnerLocomotive, illustrated by Brian Floca

(May Hill) Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award
The Arbuthnot award honors an author, critic, librarian, historian, or teacher of children’s literature, of any country, who then presents a lecture at a winning host site.

(Mildred L.) Batchelder Award
The Batchelder Award is given to an American publisher for a children’s book considered to be the most outstanding of those books originally published in a language other than English in a country other than the United States, and subsequently translated into English and published in the United States.

(Pura) Belpré Medal
The Belpré Medal honors a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose works best portray, affirm, and celebrate the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth.

(Andrew) Carnegie Medal
The Carnegie Medal honors the producer of the most outstanding video production for children released during the preceding year.

(Theodor Seuss) Geisel Medal
The Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal honors the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished contribution to the body of American children’s literature known as beginning reader books published in the United States during the preceding year.

(ALSC/Booklist/YALSA) Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production
The Odyssey Award will be awarded annually to the best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults, available in English in the United States.

(Robert F.) Sibert Informational Book Medal
The Sibert Medal honors the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished informational book published during the preceding year.

(Laura Ingalls) Wilder Award
The Wilder Medal honors an author or illustrator whose books, published in the United States, have made, over a period of years, a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children.

It’s Monday! Here is what I read last week…

It’s Monday!  Here’s what I read last week…

I am excited to say that I still love my reading time that I have set aside for myself every day.  This week I completed four more books.  Over the course of the summer, I have been amazed that I have really enjoyed all of the books that I chose.  However, this week was the first time that I was “hooked” with one of the books.  I kept at it and completed the book, but it definitely wasn’t my favorite pick.  My first read of the week (and the one that I just pushed through) was….

“The View from Saturday” by E.L. Konigsburg

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The characters in the books alternated being the narrators of the story.  Konisburg said, “I thought children would enjoy meeting one character, and then two characters, and that they would enjoy seeing parts of the story repeated but in a different way. I thought that they would enjoy having the second character interact with the first character, with each story moving the general story along. And I had hoped that readers would feel very satisfied with themselves when they had it all worked out.”

The story itself was okay; however I really had to pay attention to who was “speaking” within each chapter.  Students that I have worked with would have had a difficult time following the storyline.

Next I read….

“Period 8” by Chris Crutcher

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I chose this book as I really enjoyed “Deadline” by Chris Crutcher, and the YA collection development manager at the library where I am interning said that this is one of her favorites by Crutcher.  The storyline and characters hooked me immediately.  It was a fast read that kept me guessing as to what was going to happen next.  I love to “piece information together,” and Crutcher definitely wrote in a way that I was constantly assessing what was really happening.  My students at school would really enjoy this one.

The next book I chose was one that I couldn’t remember whether or not I had read it as a child.  It has won many awards, and I wanted to see if it would be a good read for my students.  The book is….

“Tuck Everlasting” by Natalie Babbitt

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At the completion of the book, I realized that it is definitely one that I had never read before.  I really don’t know how that is possible… but I am sure that I didn’t know the storyline.  It was another book that I was able to piece together information as the story progressed, and it read extremely quickly.  As I continued to read, I saw great places that I could stop students to complete activities for higher-level thinking.  After completing it, I actually went online to see what kinds of activities are available for teachers.  I found a wealth of information, and I feel that this book would be a wonderful read for students that could generate great discussions.  I will for sure keep this one in mind for future classes.  TeachersPayTeachers is one site that I have found extremely useful when finding unique ideas for lesson planning.  I have added the link for a “Tuck Everlasting” lesson here:

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Tuck-Everlasting-Novel-Guide-Common-Core-Aligned-680274

My final read of the week was a New York Times best-selling young-adult fiction award winner that I had heard great things about.  Interestingly, the author used to work at the library where I am currently interning, and it was another book recommended to me from the manager in charge of YA collection development.  The book??????

“13 Reasons Why” by Jay Asher

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I had planned on not reading any sad books this week, but since I have heard so many good things about this one, I decided to tackle it anyways.  One of my daughter’s best friends commit suicide two years ago, so I was hesitant to read it.  However, I feel that everyone needs to be aware of the warning signs of possible suicide to assist anyone that is feeling so lost in this world.

Asher’s approach of having the girl record cassette tapes of her feelings before she took her life was very interesting.  I could literally feel the emotions of the main character Clay Jensen as he anticipated what she would say next.  I hope and pray that anyone that reads this book or any other regarding suicide are willing to approach those showing signs and get them the help they need before it is too late as it was for Hannah Baker.

This is definitely an emotional read, but one worth completing.

Looking ahead to next week….  I am hoping to find some more upbeat reading material.  However, I am seeing repeating themes in many of the YA books that I am reading.  Being a young adult comes with many challenges to overcome, and the books definitely highlight teen struggles.  With that said…  I am hoping to find some of the amazing and exciting parts of being a teen in upcoming reads.

Let’s face it… I have always been a “Reading Bug.”  I can’t even remember a time when I wasn’t enthralled with reading.  Every Saturday night my dad played the drums at a fancy restaurant, and it was my time to start the night in my parents’ bed.  My mom and I would both collect our reading material and read until we fell asleep.  Then it would be my dad’s job to move me to my own room when he arrived later that night.

I have vivid memories of waiting for my dad to come home to work as I wanted to show him how I could read my entire “Clifford” book without assistance – even the BIG words!  On the weekends, my cousin would sometimes be in town, and I would get into trouble for not being a good hostess as I just wanted to read books.  She was a tomboy and wanted me to climb trees and dig in the mud with her.  There was even an occasion when she put a frog down my shirt.  And I just wanted to read…

Many of my best memories across time are tied into reading of some sort.  In elementary school, a real author even came to read to us!!!!  I was ecstatic!!!!  My parents purchased the books for me so that I could get them signed.  I will never forget that day.  Sadly, the signed books have disappeared over the years, but I made sure that my children can still access them by purchasing replacements.  The books that I loved by Kenneth Thomasma were, “Soun Tetoken” and “Naya Nuki.”

Being introduced to an author at a young age for me was inspiring.  While student teaching this year, I saw that little ones are still very intrigued by the thought of someone actually “knowing” an author.  When my 1st graders were working on questioning skills, I read a book to them that was written by my Aunt Polly Carlson-Voiles entitled, “Someone Walks By.”  I think that they were as excited to know that I had a relative that was an author as they were by the book itself – which they loved by the way.  This trend of being intrigued by authors continued during my 6th grade internship.  C.J. Box is an author that only lives about 70 miles from our home.  He is also the neighbor to my daughter’s best friend.  My students are completely obsessed with his books.  When I was interning in the library later in the year, I actually didn’t think that we had very many of his books.  However, at the end of the year when everything was checked back in I realized that they were just checked out all the time.  We had TONS!  Students loved his books so much that I started working on seeing if C.J. Box could come visit our classroom.  Since we have connections through our family, I quickly learned that he had just started his new book tour and couldn’t get there this year. I also learned that he is wonderful about visiting schools and loves to take time talking to students.  Therefore, we have our sights on getting him into our community for next year.

Although it may take some work on the part of the teacher to arrange an author visit, I feel that this is a wonderful way to get students excited about reading.  There is something about knowing that you are going to meet an author that motivates students to get familiar with the material.  All it takes is some excitement and enthusiasm to get students hooked.  A reader that doesn’t care for reading might dig into a book for the presentation and “catch the bug” and realize that reading is really awesome!  Unmotivated students sometimes need to see reading in a different light other than required reading for the classroom to realize what kinds of materials they enjoy.  Author visits are a GREAT way to promote literacy!

In thinking about this topic, I wondered if there are many authors available and willing to visit schools.  I also wondered how a teacher would go about scheduling an author for a visit.  So…. Where did I start my search????  Well Google of course…  Some sites that I found weren’t terribly helpful.  However, others gave me a great deal of information on not only how to find willing authors to visit, but they provided information on fun ways to prep students for the visit.  The following links might prove helpful to you, and I’ve listed a “snippet” of what they have to offer.

http://www.reachareader.org/authors.html

“Reach a Reader” Resources – Resources for Authors and Illustrators (Below is a list of links that they provide to help connect with authors and illustrators.)

  • Author Illustrator Source – “Site byline reads “Connecting published artists and writers of books for children and young adults with schools!”
  • Authors and Illustrators Who Visit Schools
  • Author School Visits by State – this does not arrange the visits for you – it gives educators information on how to get in-touch with authors and illustrators
  • AuthorsNow! – “This site helps connect debut authors and illustrators with the full spectrum of children’s book enthusiasts.”
  • Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Speakers’ Bureau
  • Spark Program Mentors/Apprentice Teachers
  • Skype an Author Network

http://teacher.scholastic.com/products/tradebooks/visitkit_form.asp

“Scholastic Books for Children & Young Adults” provides a form to request a visit from an author.  They will contact the author with your information and get back to you.

http://childrensauthorsally.com/our-services/

“Children’s Authors’ Ally LLC”

Although I would prefer to have an author visit my classroom for free, there are organizations available that will set up a visit with an author for a fee, including the link above.  There website says that they will “coordinate every aspect of the visit, making the process simple for the school.”  They state that they will assist with the following:

  • Recommend author programs
  • Suggest appropriate formats for your program
  • Create a contract between the author and organization
  • Coordinate travel arrangements
  • Communicate technical and other set-up requirements
  • Advise on best practices for student preparation
  • Travel with the author (within New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut)
  • Facilitate book sales
  • Develop block tours to specific locations, thereby allowing schools to share in travel expenses

http://www.randomhouse.com/teachers/set-up-a-visit/

“Random House Teachers & Librarians”

This site also has a request form to fill out where they will assist with setting up a school visit.  They provide information on the following:

  • Everything you need to know to set up an author visit in your school
  • How to host a virtual author visit in your school or library!
  • Author/Illustrator request form
  • Book ordering supplies
  • Alphabetical list of available authors and illustrators

When I clicked on the list of authors and illustrators, I liked that they list appropriate grade levels for each author/illustrator in addition to locations that they are willing to travel.  By providing this information, it allows educators to only take time looking at authors that would be willing to visit.  Otherwise, they might spend valuable time working on getting an author to visit only to find out later that they won’t travel to their area.

http://www.authorsillustrators.com/

“Authors and Illustrators Who Visit Schools”

This link provides a directory list of authors and illustrators that are willing to visit schools.  In addition, they provide information on how to contact them.  Teachers can also sign up to be on their mailing list so they can keep up-to-date on what is available through this resource.

Once an educator schedules a visit from an author, it is important for them to adequately prepare their students for this activity.

http://teacher.scholastic.com/products/tradebooks/inviteanauthor.htm

“Scholastic Books for Children & Young Adults” provides a page that not only provides an alphabetical list of authors by name and region of where they will visit, and “authors by Skype”, but they provide a link called, “Tips for a Successful Visit.”  When clicking on that link, they provide a wealth of information to assist with preparations.  I highly encourage you to check out this link.  It provides tons of information in each of the following categories:

  • Planning
  • Fundraising
  • Making Your Author Visit a Success

ONE OF MY FAVORITE SITES FOR HOW TO PREP STUDENTS WAS AT THE FOLLOWING WEBSITE.               

http://www.dangutman.com/pages/planvisits.html

“The Perfect Author Visit”

The site was provided by Dan Gutman in 2013, and it provides information on:

  • Things to do in advance
  • On the day of the visit
  • After the visit
  • To sell or not to sell

If you take nothing else away from my ramblings today, I hope that you remember this…  Any and all ways that we can connect with students through literacy is a good day.  All children deserve to be provided with opportunities that allow them to find their niche in a world of reading that can truly take them to new places each and every day.  Author visits are just one way of many that can get children excited about reading.