Special Effects for Author Visits
Special Effects for Author Visits
We asked a number of our authors who regularly travel around the country visiting schools and meeting their readers—can you name some cool activities that schools did to make your visit extra special? Wow! We heard some fabulously creative answers with tips you might be able to incorporate in your next author visit.
Prepare Your Students
Before authors visit your school, make sure your students are familiar with them. Read their books during story time. Hand out books to the teachers so they can let their classes know who will be coming to their school.
Posters decorated with the author’s face and perhaps some covers of their books are not only fun to make, but are great to put on display a week before the visit to get kids full of anticipation.
Introduce Your Author
Before the presentation often the librarian, media specialist or principal with make an introduction. But some schools have chosen students to start off the presentation. Instead of putting the burden on one single student, break up the intro into three parts and have a trip of students get up before the audience. They’ll feel more comfortable with their classmates standing next to them. A couple of run-throughs should be enough to get the kids familiar with the script.
Brainstorm with your school's art teacher and make a project that uses the author’s books as their inspiration. Author Michael Dahl remembers a school in Rochester, NY, that made pop-up books out of construction paper. When you opened the books, a dragon head could jump out at you! Make sure to display the artwork so that not only the author will see it, but also the entire school can enjoy your creative decorations.
Consider a Writer's Workshop
To extend the author visit, set aside a short time for the author to meet with those students who are interested in writing their own stories. Keep the workshop small, cap it at 30 or so, and give the author the time to share their passion and the special skills they have learned. And if the students have a little time to work on a quick writing assignment, a line or two, a synopsis, you may find that you have nurtured some budding authors.
Newspaper or TV Coverage
Not the local media coverage, but your school’s own video or newspaper. Not all schools have this resource, but for those who do, students working on the media can interview the author before or after the presentation. It will give the students special devoted time with the author, and it will help record the visit for students who were unable to attend the live event.
Autograph the Books
Some schools give the students a chance to buy the author’s books before the event. During the day of the visit, the author will set aside time to autograph those children’s books. If that doesn’t work out with your school, have the author sign the library copies of their books. OR – here’s a neat idea – have the author sign a special wall in the library, or a special poster that you can display to remind the kids of the visit.
Some schools video the presentation. (Always ask the author if they’re comfortable with that. Almost all of them will say yes.) Take photos of the author with students, with the principal, with the librarian.
These are just a few things that schools have done to spice up their author visits. Not all schools have the budgets or time or staff to carry out all of these extras, but perhaps these examples will spark some ideas for you and your students to surprise your author and make their visit unforgettable.
If you’re looking to schedule a visit with your favorite Capstone author, check out our Author Visits and Events page to learn more.