School visit – HistoricalTails

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I love doing School Readings

School readingsI've hesitated to blog about my school readings because of the children's identities on the web. But, I've been very careful that ALL photos either don't show any kids or show their backs, never their faces. I'd also LOVE to do more school readings and hope this post will reach schools that may be interested in an author coming to their school for FREE to read to their Kindergarten through 2nd grades.

In celebration of Thomas Jefferson's 275th birthday, I did a school reading to 1st graders in Calabasas. It was the first time I wasn't in the classroom itself. Instead, I did the school reading in their assembly hall with the large screen behind me so all the kids could see the illustrations.

School reading assemblyAs always, I introduce myself and ask the kids who have pets? Most hands shoot in the air but I then qualify my question with, “Who has a pet snake?” or “Who has a pet squirrel?” There can be a few who actually have a pet snake and typically the name is “slinky” or “slimey.” That always gets a big laugh.

Then, I talk about the difference between fiction and nonfiction and introduce historical fiction. At this age, the kids are learning about fiction and nonfiction, but when I explain what historical fiction is, their eyes get big with curiosity.

Kids learn about Jefferson with a school readingI ask them if they've ever heard of Thomas Jefferson. Some of the 2nd graders have heard of him, but most of the younger kids haven't. They know who George Washington and Abraham Lincoln are, but have never heard of Jefferson. I tell them that all the characters in my story once lived, albeit 200 years ago, and that I made up a story about real people, places and things. Now, I've got them!

Because the book is in a 6×9″ format, reading to a group is hard without the use of a smart board or projector screen. The kids sit in front of me, my back is to the screen, so they can see the board and view each page of the book enlarged to almost life size. It also gives me a chance to see the kids, watch what they're reacting to, laughing or concerned.

I've received thank you notes from the kids and teachers a like. If your school is interested in having me come for a FREE reading, please use the contact me form.

Have you ever heard your favorite author do a reading? Let me know in the comments.

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School Visit – My first reading to Elementary school students

School Visit

My First School Visit!

I took the plunge today! I had my very first school visit and reading! It's so important to connect with the kids that are the readers of my book so I needed to schedule some school visits and readings. It happened to be at the elementary school my children attended many many years ago. I couldn't believe was there and that my kids have been long gone. Most of their teachers have left or retired so I didn't know as many educators as I thought I would. The school had gone through major changes as they built new buildings for classrooms, administration and parking. They expanded the library too!

I could hear the students coming…

I was nervous as 50 first graders came into the library. They grabbed their mats and sat on the floor in front of me. On the screen was the first illustration in the book, Thomas Jefferson petting Buzzy on the grass. A couple of the students said they had read my book. Although I doubted that was true, it still made me feel good! Their innocent faces looked at me waiting for me to begin.

school visit and readingI introduced myself and told them that my own kids had gone to their school. I told them that my son just graduated college and my daughter is about to graduate from law school. “What's law school?” one of the students asked. Then I asked them if they knew the difference between fiction and non-fiction. Most of them did. I asked, “Who likes History?” All hands shot up so I continued to explain how this book is “historical fiction.” I can take real people, places and times and make up a story about them. As long as I stick to some facts.

I asked who had a pet and, again, all hands shot up. One student had a frog, one had some fish, and one even had a shrimp! Hmmm. As I read the book, I noticed all eyes on the screen and me. They were entranced and engaged in the story. My worst fear went out the window!

After the 1st graders left, the Kindergarten class came in. This was 1 class with about 15 students. They were just as inquisitive and attentive as the first group.

I'm trying to set up more readings throughout Southern California. In March, I'm visiting the Chicago area and will be doing some readings there.

Stay tuned for a contest I'll be running in March!

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