I love to visit schools and I am comfortable talking with all grade levels. I have different presentations for different age groups. I typically do three sessions per day. These sessions can include any combination of large group presentations, small group discussions and/or writing workshops. If you need a fourth session, that can be arranged for an additional fee. If you'd like to share my visit and expenses with another school for one day, I am happy to do two sessions at one school and two sessions at another.
Please allow at least 15 minutes between sessions, time for lunch, and, if necessary, time to get to a second school.
Large Group Presentations:
I talk about what an author is, what an author does, how being an author is different from being an illustrator, the difference between fiction and nonfiction, and then reads and discusses her Great Tooth Fairy Rip-Off and F is for Fire Fighting books with the students. My presentation is very interactive and I stress that the students are all authors just like I am.
From Dream to Reality (Grades 2-4)
I talk about how I became an author, the stories behind some of my books, where I find ideas, and my writing/revision process. I also talk about therapy dogs and point of view. I give students the tools to write their own fiction stories and I stress the importance of having a goal (whether that goal be writing or something else) and working toward it. It is helpful if students are familiar with my Buddy Files books, Tank Talbott books and/or my F is for Fire Fighting and P is for Police books prior to my visit.45 minutes. Any size group.
I talk about how I became an author, the stories behind some of my books, where I find ideas, and my writing/revision process. This presentation goes into more detail on my writing process than the grades 2-4 presentation. I give students the tools to write their own fiction stories and I stress the importance of having a goal (whether that goal be writing or something else) and working toward it. It is helpful if students are familiar with my Tank Talbott books, Sliding Into Home, and/or herMonkey Man books prior to my visit.
Choose 45-minute presentation or 60-minute presentation. (The 60-minute presentation includes an interactive demonstration of how a book gets published. I will need space at the front of the room for 14 students to be up there with me. I will also need a table to hold props for this demonstration.)
Building a Life as a Children's Book Author (Middle/High School)
I talk about what it’s like to be a writer, where I find ideas, the writing/revising process, careers for writers, and how to get published.
45 minutes. Any size group.
An All-School (or all grade) Truth About Truman School Author Visit Program
This program is for groups that have read myTruth About Truman School prior to my visit. I send ahead a link to an online survey about the bullying and cyberbullying that goes on at their school about six weeks before my visit. I ask that students complete the surveys within two weeks so I can incorporate the survey results into my presentation. his adds a deeper element to the experience of reading the book and discussing the topic of bullying and cyberbullying because it’s more personal.
I begin this presentation with a discussion of how I became an author, where I find ideas, and the writing/revising process. Then I move into a discussion of The Truth About Truman School, bullying/cyberbullying and strategies for dealing with each, Internet safety, and the survey results.
60 minutes. Grades 5-8. It is best to limit the number of students per group to just one grade level. Schools will receive copies of all the data collected in the survey.
A Small Group Book/Bullying Discussion
This is a small group discussion, targeted to grades 4-6 or 6-8, generally for students who have read my Tank Talbott books and/or the Truth About Truman School. We discuss what is/isn’t bullying, causes of bullying, and attendees role-play ways of dealing with bullying.
Begins with a brief discussion of emotion, why it’s such an important element of fiction writing, and tools authors use to convey emotion in their work. Then students will write a short piece demonstrating what they’ve learned.
45 minutes. 4th-6th grade. 30 students or less
How Character and Plot Work Together
Which is most important in a fiction story? The character or the plot? Which comes first in the development of a good fiction story? I'll show students how these two elements come together and how characters affect plot and plot affects character. Students use a worksheet to pre-plan their story, then write a short piece demonstrating what they’ve learned.
45 minutes. Can be adapted to any level 4th grade to adult. 30 students or less.
What? You Mean it's Not Already Perfect? (A Workshop on Revising Fiction)
No story comes out perfect the very first time. Every author must revise. It’s simply part of the process. I think it’s the best part of the process. But sometimes it’s hard to know what needs to be done. Revision is about more than simply changing a few lines here and there. The word revision means “to see again.” Through discussion and an in-depth handout, I'll help your students see their work through fresh eyes as they discover new ways to look at their characters, their plot, their beginnings/middles/ends, their sensory details and all their other story elements.
45 minutes. Can be adapted to any level 4th grade to adult. 30 students or less
I also offer full week workshops that focus on a different element each day; ideas, character, plot, peer critiquing and revision.
45 minutes/session. Can be adapted to any level 4th grade to adult. 30 students or less.
What Teachers and Librarians Say After My Visit:
"Our students were flabbergasted at the amount of time it takes for an author's final copy to get into the hands of the readers. Dori's presentation really opened the eyes of the readers and writers in our school, and made me appreciate the true love of writing that most authors possess." -Mrs. Steinhart (Washington, IA)
"Our students still talk about your visit, and your books are never on our shelves." -Mrs. Kunde (Coralville, IA)
Click an image below to see what kids say after my visit: