Book Week 2014 is so close now! I’m sure everyone has some exciting plans to help students “Connect to Reading”. One way we can help students do this is to get them to connect to authors. But if budget is an issue for you, there are authors out there that might just offer their services free of charge.
One such author is Margot Finke. Margot is an ex-pat Aussie living in Oregon, USA, and is the author of thirteen books for children. Margot got in contact with me on LinkedIn after I started promoting this blog. She offers FREE Skype lessons and promises to get your students excited about reading.
Margot “visited” my Year 1 students recently. Their little eyes lit up when they were told they would get to speak to a real-life author. Below Margot explains what her Skype lessons entail. So, if you’re keen to connect your students with an author but haven’t had the means to organise a visit, perhaps allow Margot to “visit” your library.
SKYPE MAKES IT HAPPEN
by Children’s Author Margot Finke
I am the author of 13 books for children, and I have just completed two wonderful Skype visits to Libby Iriks, Teacher Librarian, at her St Vincent’s Primary School, in Perth AU. This is amazing, because although I am proud to be an Aussie, I now live in Oregon, USA – SKYPE MADE IT HAPPEN!
When Libby asked me to write an article for her blog I jumped at the chance. I am always happy to do whatever it takes to HOOK more kids on reading. I will also admit to being a HUGE fan of Skype. It opens up the world, and allows authors to have a one-on-one relationship with young readers. Books, whether on Kindle, ebook or paper, are a passport that will take children and adults anywhere they want to go. Reading to children, and encouraging them to dive in and read for themselves, offers an open door to fun, adventure, and a lifetime of learning new “stuff.”
I have always thought of reading as a Magic Carpet Ride to adventure and faraway places. I write books for kids because I want them to hop on my Magic Carpet and take a ride somewhere fun and exciting. All schools need is a Skype connection, a willing and dedicated teacher or librarian, and an author who loves to HOOK KIDS on READING – ME!
On two separate Mondays, 9.15pm my time, (because of the time zone difference) I flew my Magic Carpet of Books into two of Libby’s grade one classrooms. What a thrill to hear that Down Under accent again! I read one of my books to each class, chatted about the importance of using powerful and active words when you write a story, and had a fun Q and A session at the end. I do expand my talk about writing, reading, and books for older grades.
Thanks to the Internet and Skype, I can go where my readers hang out most of each day – SCHOOLS! Skype and I are a team. It takes me and my Magic Carpet of Books to towns, states, and countries that would otherwise be impossible for me to visit. In the past I have done lots of local school visits – even have my autograph on several library walls. YEA!! But there is only so often I can ask for “just one more school visit,” before they label me a stalker!
With Skype I can go off the beaten path. I can chat to a classroom of eager kids in schools where big name authors never set foot. Read them one of my books, and then show them how to HOOK readers with the stories THEY write. Their enthusiastic and eager faces are an inspiration. And the Q and A session is often the highlight of my visit. Kids love to ask me questions. A Skype Magic Carpet Visit helps boost their interest in reading and writing.
And let’s not forget that so often unsung heroine – the teacher or librarian. Having a real life author drop in on a Magic Carpet and fire up her kids about reading and writing is a huge plus. The idea is to make my visit easy for the teacher. Ahead of time, I send her fun information about my books, a coloring sheet for the class, and a FREE “Sneak Peek” inside my latest books (PDF download). That way the teacher can choose which book would be best for me to read to the class. I also show aboriginal artifacts.
After our initial email chat, I offer a visit that fits the teacher’s current class needs.
**PRE-PRIMARY – GRADE 1: Book Reading, short chat about writing my books, and Q and A time. Kids love to ask questions: Approx half an hour.
**GRADE 2 – 3: Book Reading, chat about writing my books, ask about their writing, favorite books, and talk about some aspect of writing. Q and A time: Approx 45 minutes.
** GRADE 4 and UP: The higher the grade, the longer the attention span, and the more likely a teacher will want some sort of short writing lesson, or an expanded version of how you write a book, and what is important in a great story.
And here’s the sneaky part – a happy teacher, confident that I have done a terrific job, will pass on a good word about my SKYPE-orama! Teacher jungle drums have powerful Magic! And if the parents and the school also buy some of my books. . . well, that is simply icing on my literary cake!
I began searching for schools and interested teachers and librarians on Linkedin and Facebook. I am a member of both. They are great places for researching what you need. So, how do you book a Magic Carpet Ride with me? *Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org – we can chat about what YOU want from a Skype Author Visit.
And thank you Libby, for allowing me to park my Magic Carpet in your blog.
Margot Finke is an Aussie transplant, now living in Oregon with her husband and family. Gardening, travel and reading fill in the cracks between her writing. Their three children are now grown and doing well. Four delightful grandchildren round out her family.
Margot’s 13 published books are available through Amazon and many other outlets, including her website. Her Manuscript Critique Service helps children’s writers polish and tighten their stories before publication. Helping other writers succeed, and HOOKING Kids on Reading, is Margot’s singular goal.
*Website: http://www.margotfinke.com (for discounts and autographs)
*Amazon AU: http://tinyurl.com/lhnw8d6 (Kindle and soft cover)
*Education Skype: Margot Finke’s Magic Carpet Ride + HOOK Kids on Reading. https://education.skype.com/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&subject=Margot+Finke got+Finke
*SKYPE Makes it Happen: http://virtualschoolvisits.blogspot.com/
*TEACHER’S GUIDE: http://myplace.frontier.com/~mfinke/Teacher%27s%20Guide.htm#teach
*PINTEREST – Teacher/Classroom: a terrific place for helpful advice and classroom fun. http://www.pinterest.com/margotfinke/