School Visit Tips for 2011: Part 2

Here are a few more helpful school visit tips for you from expert presenters. After this, watch for one more post on this topic! 

Google - Actor on StageGet there early to give yourself time to relax.  Because you are ON STAGE, performing, the minute you get out of your car.  Giving yourself 15 to 20 minutes to simply sit there in your car “Vegging out” helps you to relax, refresh, and recover from the drive.  I sometimes even close my eyes and doze for a few minutes.  If you are afraid you’ll sleep the morning away in your car, set the alarm on your iPhone (or equivalent), or take along a kitchen timer. — Wendie Old 

I always say [to the audience] that I’ll bet they don’t believe that I used to be very shy, afraid to speak up, and never in front of a crowd.  That you can always learn to be less shy, and everyone has felt shy about expressing themselves at some point.  This establishes a really nice rapport, I’ve found, and is really an important gift you are giving to a lot of them.  — Joanne Rocklin

Create coloring pages, activity sheets, and other “hands on” projects that can bProject - ZEBRA - Caroline Arnold09-sme downloaded from your website and used in the classroom to build up knowledge and interest in your books before or after your visit. Include this information in a packet sent to the librarian before your visit. I love going to schools and see walls of cut paper zebras created from the template on the web page for my book A Zebra’s World.  No two zebra’s are ever alike!  — Caroline Arnold

 Find out ahead of time if there are any parking issues at the school, and also find out which door visitors are to enter by.  If you are leaving the house extremely early, make sure you have an emergency phone number for your contact – i.e. home phone number or personal cell number.  – Marsha Skrypuch

Flexibility is key. Although your program is the central event in your mind, many other situations are happening all day long in the school which you are visiting.  I have had a fire drill in the middle of my presentations, an electrical failure throughout the school, a principal in a gorilla suit climbing a 3 story ladder fulfilling his promise to stay on the roof for the day if the students had read 5000 books, a child throwing up all over the front row of children, and once, just as the children streamed through the door, the lamp on my power point projector blew.  I learned early on to laugh, take what happens and make it work. And who knows… there might be a book in it someday.  — Kay Winters

If you have school visit tip, be sure to add it in our comment section!

7 Comments on “School Visit Tips for 2011: Part 2”

  • Great tips!!
    I have a letter I send to the school when they book a visit with me outlining everything they will need to know for my visit. It also includes links to bonus items when they book with me. I also do a follow up email or call 4-5 days before my actual visit to see if they have any questions or concerns.
    That same letter contains all the contact information I will need in the event I need to call the school.

    Barbara Techel

  • Barbara – That personal contact you make a few days ahead of your visits is a great way to “warm up” your hosts for your visit and work out any kinks. Thanks for sharing.

  • Thanks for these great tips. I have my first visits coming up this spring and I’m soaking up all of the information I can!! And now I know to be prepared for gorillas and vomit, a couple of things I hadn’t thought of. :)

  • Lisa – Be sure to tell me about your visits! And I’ll keep fingers crossed that you don’t get fire drills and floods during your presentation.

  • Thank you so much for sharing all these wonderful tips. I’m about to embark on my first visits, so now I am well armed! I’ll be sure to check for the gorilla on the roof.

  • I love reading everyone else’s tips! I agree about parking. If you don’t ask, you can sometimes end up FAR from the door where you have to carry everything in.

  • In my advance letter to my host, I request a “marked” parking spot and mention that many schools put out a cone to identify the spot for me.