Saturday, February 27, 2016

Writing Advice from the Experts {Celebrate This Week 2-27-16}

This past Wednesday was World Read Aloud Day.  Classrooms across the  country celebrated the importance and joy of reading aloud.  My school celebrated #WRAD16 all week by visiting with authors via Skype.  During their virtual classroom visit, 14 authors read their favorite picture book (of their own pen or another's) and answered questions (which ranged from "What's your favorite color?" to "Where did you get the idea for your book?") from our young audience.
Josh Funk
 Jess Keating
 Julie Falatako
 Derek Taylor Kent 
Kara LaReau
When I scheduled these authors back in January, whom I found thanks to the amazing list on Kate Messner's website,  I was truly expecting these Skype sessions to only be about reading.

Silly me.

After sitting in on our Skype visit with Michael Shoulders on Monday morning, it quickly became clear that these Skype visits were going to be a celebration of writing, not just reading.  Throughout the week, our authors offered some wonderful tips and ideas, along with words of encouragement, to our students.
Here's a taste of some of the lessons our students learned about writing this week, straight from the mouths of the experts:

* Writing doesn't have to be perfect the first time, it just needs to be done.
* Ideas for stories can come from anywhere, but especially what you see going on around you.
* Revision makes writing much, much better
* We are all writers
* It's never to late -- or too early -- to start your 'career' in writing
* Never give up
* Why all picture books are 32 pages
* What a "slush pile" is
* Practice, practice, practice makes your writing better.  No one is born a writer.
* Authors do not choose their illustrators.  Some never meet or even talk before the illustrations are drawn. (I didn't know this one!)

Many of these words my students have heard come right out of my own mouth, some many times.  But when they come from an author himself, students start to listen.

There was a definite buzz around school this week as a result of our author Skypes.  Kids (and some teachers!) have a renewed excitement for writing.  They want to try out some of the tips the authors shared.

So this week, I celebrate the authors who share their time and talents with classrooms and teachers.  They did more good than they know.


  1. I think you should also celebrate "you" for making this happen, Jennifer. Sounds like an awesome week.

  2. WRAD16 was a huge success for you and your school as I am sure it was all over the world. How much fun it is to plan for author visits and make it happen. Virtual author visits are probably exciting for students as well as staff. Good job in the organization of the program, Jennifer!

  3. What a treat! For you and your students. The power of these generous writers. I love it. Thank you for sharing.

  4. What Linda said - this was an amazing day for you, your kids, and those authors!

  5. What a wonderful experience for all involved.

  6. What a week! This is the best kind of celebration, joy in reading and writing!

  7. Love that your authors talked about reading and writing. "We are all writers." It's time for all of us to acknowledge that we are writers, just as we are readers. I stumbled a bit and mumbled something about my blog when Melissa Sweet asked me if I was a writer before autographing my book yesterday.


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