So you’re thinking about bringing an author to your classroom or school library, but you’re not positive whether it’s a good idea. Coordinating that visit takes time and money. Before you make the investment, you need to know it will be worth it. You also might need to convince your principal, department head, or superintendent too.
What are the benefits of author visits?
The benefits of author visits are easy to spot from my perspective. As an author who has visited high schools, colleges, book clubs, and teacher’s organizations, I see the results first-hand. In this post, I’ll share real quotes from students, plus data on the benefits of author visits.
1. Empower students to follow their dreams
I once had a student from my hometown come up to me after an author visit and say, “I didn’t know kids like me could grow up to do what you’ve done.” It broke my heart. That was the day I realized how powerful author visits really were.
That student had never met someone who had written and published books or supported themselves by writing. He had been told that “kids like him” had limited opportunities.
School visits from authors show students that they can achieve their dreams. Sometimes, they just need someone from outside their everyday experience to show them it’s possible.
2. Encourage students to read
“I don’t usually read books, but I’m going to read yours,” might be the best review I’ve ever gotten after an author talk. It was from a high school girl who caught me just as I was leaving for the day.
You probably have a few students who are voracious readers. The rest are more like the student quoted above. They need an extra push to fall in love with reading.
At very least, author visits encourage students to read the books of that author. That might just be the book that sparks a lifelong love of reading.
3. Motivate students to write
Many students don’t think of themselves as writers. They might view essays and even creative writing as a chore. Talking to someone who makes a living as a writer can help motivate students to give writing a chance.
For those students who already love writing, the benefits of author visits are obvious. One student told me, “You are one of the few authors that inspired me to keep writing after I thought that my writing wasn’t good enough.”
That student needed to hear that writing isn’t always easy. She needed to know that it’s a skill she can hone and that first drafts are often messy.
4. Make creativity accessible
Writing and other creative pursuits are challenging. Getting good at them takes determination, grit, and perseverance. When students hear the real stories of how authors overcome challenges, they learn that creativity is accessible to them even though it takes work.
In my signature talk, I tell students about my initial goal of becoming a famous journalist and why that didn’t go as planned. I show them it’s okay to change your mind and find what works. I also talk about my personal challenges, both the ones that inspired me to write and the ones that almost kept me from publishing.
5. Humanize the writing process
Authors, like actors and artists, can seem like people who live in a different world. The truth is, we’re just like everyone else. Connecting books with the people who write them can help students realize that anyone can be an author.
Students learn how professionals think about the writing process. They often ask questions like:
“Do you write everyday?”
“What do you do when you don’t want to write?”
“How do you tell when your work is good enough to share?”
Hearing an author answer these questions in her own words can help them understand their own writing process. They can see where ideas come from and how those ideas turn into published books.
6. Help students feel special
I also went to a rural school. I know that sometimes, due to budgets or just location, it can be hard to bring visitors into those schools. Students can feel as though they’re being passed over. An author visit shows them that someone cared enough to travel all the way to their town to talk to them.
For students from small or rural towns, an author who grew up in the same circumstances can be a role model.
Bring the benefits of author visits to your school
If you’d like your students to experience the benefits of author visits, book one with me, Emma G Rose. My signature author talk, From Tragedy to Indie Publishing, uncovers the real challenges and triumphs of becoming a published author. I also offer workshops for students and teachers.
Learn more about author visits with Emma G Rose.