Tuesday, November 4, 2014

SoLSC Talking with Celebrities - Authors! 11.04.14


Slice of Life is a weekly event hosted by Two Writing Teachers.

I know many of us have had the opportunity to Skype with authors.  We've just begun this journey at our school but I know it's one we are going to continue.

We all have people we admire.  Different celebrities, sports figures - some people have done amazing things, some have unbelievable talents, some have qualities we admire.  So often, we see kids idolizing someone we wish they didn't.

Reading can be easy or hard.  It can come naturally or be something that is labored over.  Reading can be loved or ignored.

I find that Skype visits put everything together for a student.  Authors are celebrities.  They did something that most kids have never done - published a book.  I mean, people pay money for their books, right?  That's a big accomplishment.  For students to be able to interact with an author, they think it's a really big moment.  So do their teachers.  For some kids, this can be the key to get them reading.  All of a sudden, that book or series, becomes personal.  They now have a connection to it.  Having a student finish a book and then be able to talk to the author about it?  Well, now it's all real!  I hope authors understand this connection they have with their readers.

Last week, our 4th graders had the opportunity to Skype with Edith Cohn, author of Spirit's Key.  Edith really made an impact on the kids - they loved hearing some of the inside information about the book, but she talked to them as writers.  Such great advice - using quotes for inspiration, coming up with themes and rising conflict points first and building the story from there.  She talked to them about revisions and how a story can change.  We loved hearing how she comes up with some names - she has a book of baby names that she can refer to!  That would be a fun resource I know kids would love using!  Teachers had great conversations with their classes after the visit and I know they will keep referring to Edith's ideas as the year goes on.

Yesterday, our 3rd graders got to Skype with Erin Soderberg, author of The Quirks series.  Erin was so gracious, answering all of the kids questions, even asking some of her own.  At the end of the visit, she even asked the kids about what they were reading and asked for titles - the kids loved it!  She also talked to them about revisions and how many times she's gone back to edit her books.  I loved that Erin talked about ideas, and how so many of them came from her own life.  I find coming up with ideas can be the toughest part of writing for so many students (me too!), I loved that she shared her creative process.  We were so excited to hear about a new series she is writing that will debut this summer, we even got a sneak peak at the covers!  Seeing her connect with our young readers was magical and I could see the excitement in the kids' faces!

I thank Edith Cohn and Erin Soderberg for sharing their time with us.  I thank the many authors out there who offer their time to Skype.  I hope they understand how this little part means so much to some little readers!


  1. My students and I love author Skype visits, also! They are so inspirational. I, too, love when they talk to the kids as not only readers, but writers. Love the idea of a baby name book for a reference book in the classroom!

  2. I love it that you're making real world connections for your student. How do you connect with these authors? Is it through the Skype in the classroom website? I've had authors come into the school but never done the Skype visits before. It sounds fun and motivating for children.

  3. This is wonderful! I so wish that my school would allow us to Skype - we are missing out on just the sort of amazing opportunities that your students are lucky enough to be able to enjoy!

  4. Terrific to hear all about, Michele. "For some kids, this can be the key to get them reading. All of a sudden, that book or series, becomes personal." love these words especially. Happy for you & your students!

  5. Loved reading about these author visits!

  6. We Skyped for the first time this summer with Holly Schindler and yes, it is exciting. I am reading Spirit's Key right now - so much has been said about this book already. I can't wait to really get into it.