When planning a library or school author visit it is essential to have activities that are fun, memorable and involve child participation. I like to include a movement activity and a craft project they can take with them.
Here’s one version of a one hour visit I use.
1. Simplified prediction activity to introduce Sh Sh Sh Let the Baby Sleep by looking at the cover to predict the story
2. Read Sh Sh Sh Let the Baby Sleep
3. Consonant Blend Jumping (see below)
4. Shelby Puppet introduces Trouble on Earth Day by bringing out fascinating facts about squirrels (ex: they can jump 12 feet) and predicting the story by looking at the cover and other objects I made from the story (see below) TIP: Puppets are expensive. You can transform a thrift store stuffed animal into a puppet by opening the bottom, removing some stuffing and sewing a sock inside.
5. Read Trouble on Earth Day
6. They color a picture of a bird on a nest and glue sticks and pink yarn to the picture.
Consonant Blend Jumping
In my book, Sh Sh Sh Let the Baby sleep I feature the consonant blends sh, ch, br, th, and br. I laminated four of each of these blends and taped them to the floor in a line. At the end of each line I placed a basket with a word that uses the blend attached to the front. The children jump on each blend and shout out its sound and throw a beanbag into the basket as they read the word. I change the movement for different age groups. (jump backwards, hop)
By adding just a few simple questions and activities to your story time, you can help children begin to learn about important reading skills. Here’s how to introduce Fur and Feathers by Janet Halfman.
- Put a heart in a paper bag for each student and tape it closed.
- In a teacher’s bag put a piece of fur, a feather, a pin cushion, a jar of slime, sequins, pinecone scales, plastic wing with black dots.
Read, Fur and Feathers. Watch their eyes light up as they discover each item is used in the book to cover the animals that lost their coats in a windstorm. When you finish the book, ask the children to guess what’s in their own bag. Let them open the bag to find the candy heart, which coincides with the surprise ending of the story.
Some Other Activities for Library and School Author Visits:
Recycle cardboard and gift wrap to make a bookmark
1. Cut a cardboard rectangle 2 ½” by 7”.
2. Wrap it up like a gift.
3. Cut a 1” by 4” piece of construction paper.
4. Put each child’s name on the paper.
5. Glue it to the center of the bookmark.
Sight Word Tree
1. Draw a large tree on a poster board.
2. Make several nests large enough to write on.
3. Write a sight word on the back of each nest and hang them on the tree.
4. Children take turns picking a nest off the tree and read the sight word.
Assign each child a sound effect during a reading. (wind, rain, bells, barking, crashing noises, crying, doors closing, etc) Have a practice session by pointing to each child to say their sound. Just mix it up and have fun. The children love this game. When reading your picture book, point to the appropriate child to sync sound effects to the story.
Sight Word Musical Chairs
Arrange chairs in a circle facing out. Put a dolch sight word on each chair. Children walk around the chairs until the music stops. They pick up the sight word and sit. The take turns reading their sight word around the circle.
Stay tuned for my ebook on this subject which will be overflowing with creative ideas for author visits. It will also include advertising techniques such as a poster to place in the school and sending out press releases to local newspapers prior to the visit. I learned the hard way thinking the library staff would advertise the event properly. Don’t forget photo release forms which allow you to use photos of the children in future advertising projects.
Author Bio: Kathy Stemke
Award winning author, Kathy Stemke, has a passion for writing, the arts and all things creative. She has Bachelor degrees from Southern Connecticut State University and Covenant Life Seminary, as well as graduate coursework from New York Institute of Technology and Columbia University. Hanging her hat in the North Georgia Mountains, she has been a teacher, tutor, and writer for many years.
As a freelance writer and ghostwriter, Kathy has published hundreds of articles in directories, websites and magazines. She is a reviewer for Sylvan Dell Publishing and a former editor for The National Writing for Children Center. As a retired teacher, Kathy has several activities published with Gryphon House Publishing. Kathy is also part of the team at DKV Writing 4 U, a writing services company that includes ghostwriting, copywriting, editing, proofreading, critiquing, and resumes. http://www.dkvwriting4u.com
Kathy’s first children’s picture book, Moving Through All Seven Days, was published on Lulu. Her next two picture books, Sh, Sh, Sh Let the Baby Sleep, and Trouble on Earth Day were released in 2011. Both of these books have been awarded the Literary Classics Seal of Approval. Visit her book blog at http://shshshletthebabysleep.blogspot.com
Mrs.Stemke offers great teaching tips and children’s book reviews as well as a monthly newsletter titled, MOVEMENT AND RHYTHM, on her blog. http://educationtipster.blogspot.com