In writing about the Reading for Pleasure conference I attended, I also wanted to include resources for schools to bring authors (not in the literal sense!) into the classroom. This post is a bit different from others, with a multitude of links, but is designed to help schools navigate the resources that exist.
I was reminded at the Conference of the enormous benefit to students of contact with authors. When I was the Literacy Coordinator in a central London school I was fortunate enough to be able to arrange an author visit, but for many schools either cost or geographical location is prohibitive. So to help I wanted to pull together some resources that would enable your students to still benefit from contact with an author, but in formats other than face to face.
In case you haven’t seen already we have been collaborating with the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE), a great educational charity promoting a comprehensive approach to reading and writing, with high quality children’s literature at the heart. Together we have mapped one of CLPEs recommend books to each one of our IPC units across Mileposts 1, 2 and 3. We are using this to further develop links to Language Arts in all units.
Using Video to Bring Authors into the Classroom
There are a huge number of author interviews and readings on You Tube. I have selected a few below, and some are more obvious than others. For strategies that make viewing the video really engaging for students, see these Spotlight on Strategies from Discovery Education, ( freely available below )
This site from the UK lists authors that will do free 15-20 minute Skype sessions with your class
This US site lists authors that will do short Skype sessions with your class free of charge (scroll down to the bottom)
This site, also from the US offers the same, but you need to search in the top left box by last name
Scholastic’s author visit page enable you to filter by author, region (US) or those that will Skype
This article from The Booking Biz provides a helpful overview on Skyping with an author
Edutopia also have some tips, and great examples of where it’s worked
In amongst the wealth of resources that CLPE offer (most of which are free but require signing up) is a section on Authors and Illustrators, with information and links relating to a variety of different people
There is a also a great collection of interviews with children’s poets in a Q&A section here
Scholastic Kids Club have brief overviews on many authors, with a list of their published works, as well as a short Q&A
The BBC have a Schools Radio service that is available and free of charge outside of the UK but requires you to register first
There are a selection of recorded texts such as War Horse by Michael Morpurgo, and a great set of 10 Shakespeare plays retold by children’s authors
World Book Day have downloadable resources grouped by book, you can filter by author or illustrator
The National Literacy Trust have a selection of resources, some around particular authors. Many of which are free (there is also a premium service) but it requires a sign in
An organisation promoting writing competitions for young people have ‘Fact Packs’ on a small number of authors
If you are able to arrange an in person author visit, the BookTrust have a great set of tips worth reading through before any visit
The Society of Authors also offers a guide to arranging an author visit
This site offers arranging author visits in the UK and abroad
For North America, this site lists authors who visit schools by state
The Reading Agency promotes reading challenges over school holidays (in line with British summer holidays) with downloadable resources
This page from the Federation of Children’s Book Groups has links to the sites of over 100 authors
Biography.com has a range of children’s authors each with a good life history (warning - video ads play on this site)
We’d love to hear from you if you have tried any of the above or have any other suggestions!