Two of the most important jobs a teacher faces are connecting children to reading and nurturing the life skill of writing. If we can shape our students into lovers of words, both as readers and writers, we will enrich every aspect of their lives. My goals are to help you create excitement and enthusiasm for reading, help the students appreciate the power and beauty of the printed word and demonstrate that all of us are writers. I try to de-mystify writing by presenting myself as an ordinary and real person who respects, loves, reads and creates books. I present the following:
Primary Grades 1-3 (45-minute session including slide presentation and Q & A)
My life as a writer
Where my ideas for stories and essays come from
The writing process
How a book is edited, illustrated and published
Intermediate Grades 4-8 (50-55 minute session includes slide presentation and Q & A)
The writing process (planning, writing, re-writing, editing)
The publication process
My experiences writing essays, humor, newspaper features, books
My life as a writer
Presentation to Teacher Groups and Parents
My experience as a writer
Themes in my writing
Nurturing readers and writer
For teachers/ adults/ families:
A reading of "the Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey" along with
slides of the illustrations (can be accompanied by a presentation
about the creation of the book.)
For a fee schedule contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 315-531-1920.
Pre-visit Check List
I’ll need a room in which the lighting can be controlled. There should be
enough darkness near the screen for my slides to show well, yet enough light for
the children to see me and my props. I show slides during the entire time I’m
speaking, so the room can't be in total darkness or total light.
Equipment: I’ll need a self-focusing carousel slide projector with
hand held or remote control “clicker” for advancing slides. If you don’t have
such a projector and I am driving to your school, I can bring my own. If I use
yours, please check its reliability before I arrive. A spare bulb is also a good
idea. (I've had bulbs blow in the midst of a presentation!)
Other equipment needed: a screen for showing the slides, an extension
cord, a table to hold the projector (small is better than large—big AV carts
often obstruct students’ view), a small table to hold my “stuff,” and water, or,
if you want to have me in the palm of your hand, hot tea with lemon and sugar. A
microphone is nice but not necessary unless groups are large.
Scheduling: Although the sessions are under an hour in length, please
allow at least an hour; that will give time for classes to enter, exit and will
give me a few minutes between sessions. Keep in mind my travel time in the
morning. If I'm traveling a long distance by car, try to start my day as late as
possible, to help me avoid some rush hour traffic. Plan some time in the
schedule for book signing.
Also, when scheduling sessions, if possible, group students no more than one
grade level apart, and keep primary grades separate from intermediate whenever
Before my visit, please let me know the proposed schedule, including
sizes and grade levels of the groups, before distributing it to teachers.
Directions: Please send detailed directions ahead of time. It
helps me find my way if landmarks and distances are noted.
Parking: I love it when a school "reserves" me a parking spot convenient
to the door. I usually have a load of stuff to bring in.
Payment: I would appreciate payment on the day of my visit. If I’ve
driven, mileage is 40 cents per mile.
Book sales: Some schools help defray the cost of an author visit by
selling books to the students at some level of profit. If I haven’t already sent
you info and a sample student order form, let me know. Books orders should be
placed four weeks ahead of the visit. Note: You might want to order a few extra
copies, beyond the number purchased by students. There are always sales on the
day of the visit.
A final note: A visit is always most successful if the children are familiar with my books ahead of time. Activities and projects are listed below.
During my visits to schools I've seen lots of interesting
activities carried out by the students and staffs. I've kept a list of some of
these. Maybe it'll be of use to you as you prepare for my visit. By the way, I
have never encountered a problem with the use of the Christmas book. Parents
and schools recognize that it is not a book about religion. I have even been asked to give evening presentations at public schools about the
making of the book, followed by a reading.
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