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If You Give Kaydence an Author (or an Illustrator)

If you give  Kaydence (and her classmates) an author,
Kaydence will want one of the author's books to read.
If Kaydence reads one book, she'll want to read more books.
As Kaydence reads the books she'll want to learn more about what the author has written.
To learn more she'll want to know about the reference section of the library.
Kaydence will want to know how to use the library's catalog to find more books by the author.
And she'll want to know how to use the library's catalog to find more books with connecting themes.
If you give Kaydence knowledge about the library's catalog she will have "the keys" to the kingdom.
Once Kaydence has the keys to the kingdom she will want to read even more.
After Kaydence reads more books Kaydence and her classmates will want to discuss the books.
During their discussions they will want some of their questions about the  writings to be answered.
In order for Kaydence and her classmates to have their questions answered they will want to meet the author.
If you give Kaydence (and her classmates) an author ...

Some potential objectives/goals that  might be appropriate when planning an author/illustrator appearance with your students:
  1. Students will learn fundamental principles of how writing works, including: gathering ideas,  developing content, formulating word choice,  and the importance of revision.

  2. Through face-to-face interactions, the students will be provided with an opportunity to understand ways to deal with rejection, the importance of being persistent, and how to use constructive criticism in a positive manner.

  3. Through face-to-face interaction, the students will be provided real-life examples of the use of strategies to adjust spoken, written, and visual language to communicate effectively with a specific audience for identified purposes.

  4. Students will be able to make personal connections to readings as a means of improving comprehension and understanding of the reading and writing process.

  5. Students will be able to articulate the importance of reading and writing to lifelong learning.

  6. Students will come to view the entire library (public and school) as a potential reading source as they search for more of the author’s/illustrator’s work and for connecting themes.

  7. Students will develop a respect for an author’s/illustrator’s body of work.

Learning objectives:
  1. Author/illustrator visit will promote learning by creating new connections to previously-learned material.

  2. Activities developed in preparation and in response to the author/illustrator presentation will promote the exploration and retention of reading strategies and an appreciation for life-long learning.

  3. Interaction with a successful author/illustrator provides students with opportunities and resources to develop the language skills they need to pursue life's goals and to participate fully as informed, productive members of society.

  4. Actual examples of content area knowledge and its relationship to the reading and writing process will promote the importance of wide reading.
Learning opportunities stimulated by efforts to prepare for and to use the author/illustrator appearance as a highly motivational culmination to a focused emphasis on literacy and literacy-related instructional modules:

  1. Development of instructional activities that will encourage students to engage in activities that will require using strategies to adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.

  2. Focus on resources and encourage the development of curriculum and instruction that make productive use of the students’ emerging literacy abilities.

  3. Provides a structure for the sharing of literature in such a manner that activities are organized to provide for the achievement of curriculum and program goals as dictated by the school/district’s curriculum documents.


By Sharron L. McElmeel

Sharron L. McElmeel is the author of several reference books about authors and illustrators, including An Author a Month series and the Bookpeople series, both available from Libraries Unlimited, as well as the ABCs of an Author/Illustrator Visit (Linworth)

This article is reprinted by the permission of the author. The article's contents may not be copied or e-mailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv or any WWW site without the permission of the author. However, users may print and download this article for individual use or for use within a school or school district in conjunction with the preparation of an author/illustrator visit.

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