Meet the Author: Kids watch an author at work!
Schedule a Video conference with April in your classroom.
In a modern take on classroom visits, April Stults Books uses video conferencing to teach students about writing books. This approach allows teachers a supplement with writing instruction when in-person events simply aren’t an option.
“I’ve been a classroom teacher for a decade and have taught writing in my brick and mortar classroom. Conferencing events bring in a different approach to share my wealth of knowledge to help students. It’s also a great way to bring fundraising funds to your schools.”
If you want to be a better writer, you have to read, read, read. If you want to be a better reader, you have to write, write, write. Teachers understand the reciprocal relationship between reading and writing. The question is, how do we get our students to read and write and then write and read some more?
Virtual author visits are a good start. Thanks to Skype, Teams, and Zoom, it’s easier than ever to host published authors in your classroom.
As a teacher, I want my students to think of themselves as writers. Real writers. Why? Because writers write, and when we do, we think. To write is to explore worlds, both those within and those that surround us. Writing is rigor. “Real” writers know that, and when they talk to students they share that message. When students hang out with writers, they see themselves as a part of a writing community, and that leads them to think of themselves as real writers too.
Before a visit.
Ask your students to write questions they might like to ask the author before the visit. Students asked an array of questions, everything from the expected “How do you get your ideas?” and “How long does it take to write a book?” to the career-oriented “Can you make enough money as a writer?” to the poignant “Do you think your stories help kids deal with tough times?”
The invitation and Market Cost.
About half of the authors I’ve queried ask for remuneration for Skype visits, anywhere from $50 for an hour to $350. The other half offer free Skype visits for 15 to 30 minutes. Most authors have been willing to work with schools if I didn’t have the funding. Some do advance sales; others ask to send order forms home with the kids after the free or reduced cost visit. April Stults Books offers her visits as a fundraising event free to the school. 30% of All sales from her children’s book, Adventures of Milo the Doodle Cat, go back to the school as a donation.
TIPS FOR A SMOOTH VISIT
Three tips to ensure your virtual visit goes well:
- Your school can purchase advanced copies to sell at a discounted price. Having plenty of copies of the author’s book in advance of the visit helps build a strong connection to the author.
- Try out the connection before the visit. Practicing with Skype, Teams , Zoom, or other connection methods is a good idea.
- Share procedures with students in advance. Ask students to show active listening skills while the author is speaking and give them directions for where to stand and how to look into the webcam when they ask a question.
With each of these virtual visits, students made a connection with the world of reading and writing. In each case, they were inspired to read and write as a part of their own lives, engaging in hours of inspired thinking and creating.
Not sure if you can book a visit? Parents, reach out to your child’s school to request an author visit. Most booking start with parent interest and because our visits are at no cost to the school, virtual visits are welcomed.
To schedule your video conference, fill out the form below. Events can be held during the school day in the afternoon or as a digital evening event.
If you’d like to invite April as a guest/visitor for your school, please expect a 3-6 week booking date.
How Milo Came to Be!
Starting January 2020, April began creating a children’s book series titled, the Adventures of Milo the Doodle Cat. In a matter of 3 months, she’d created, Beta tested, and formatted a 67 paged children’s picture book in which the reader could creatively color.
Milo the Doodle Cat series was created with 1st grade mastery sight words and specific teacher desired vocabulary. The pages are purposefully left uncolored to foster the love of creativity that 5-9 year olds are known for. They are to make the story an adventure for themselves. There is also 3 sets of vocabulary to coincide with each adventure that Milo goes on.
In honoring the months worth of Beta testing and the responses coming from the critical 7-10 year olds, the pages were left blank. This wasn’t always the idea but time and time again the children requested that they be allowed to color the pages. Thus, the empty pages is part of the package!
There is science behind therapeutic coloring. While most people focus on this being an adult phenomena, being in the classroom for a decade has shown me that therapeutic coloring has many benefits for children as well. Don’t take my word for it, do your own research! Psychology Today has a great article just scratching the surface for the benefits.
When I talk about my research and Beta testing, what people don’t see if the outpouring of love and support of everyone involved in the creation of this series. I thank those teachers that welcomed my books into their classroom and hearts of their students. It means the world to me!