What Teachers Want to Hear

Question_Chart_TX07Author talks are a staple at professional reading and library conferences such as the California Reading Association conference coming up this weekend in Riverside, California or the California School Library Association conference in Sacramento in November.  I did a quick survey at a board meeting of the Ventura County Reading Association, asking teachers, “What do you want to hear when you attend an author presentation?”  Here’s their list: (in no particular order):  

  • Synopses of the author’s books
  • The author’s writing process
  • How they got started (and what they were before they became authors)
  • Inside stories about specific books
  • Inspiration
  • Rejection
  • Rough drafts
  • Revisions
  • Perseverance
  • Author/illustrator relationship
  • Anything fun we can share with our students when we tell them we met a real live author!

 When you craft your next author talk, keep these topics in mind if you want to be a hit with the teachers or librarians in your audience.

Authors pictured: Kate Hovey, Greg Trine, Barbara Bietz, Carol Heyer, Michelle Markel, and Mark London Williams at a recent CSLA conference.

Authors pictured: Kate Hovey, Greg Trine, Barbara Bietz, Carol Heyer, Michelle Markel, and Mark London Williams at a recent CSLA conference.

8 Comments on “What Teachers Want to Hear”

  • That’s right…I used to have a mustache. I’m loving your blog, Alexis!

  • Recently, I presented at a librarian’s conference that included secondary librarians.
    I discussed how I used a national historic site (located in their state) for researching my topic. I talked about visiting the site and the specific areas that helped me with my manuscript. It gave them insight into my writing process and also another research avenue for their students. Sometimes we overlook the things that are right around the corner.

  • This is so true, Gwendolyn. And showing your research process has a direct application to the content area papers that kids have to do so mnay of in secondary school.

  • Hi, Alexis, I am looking forward to meeting you tomorrow and learning how to improve upon my school presentations–I’m sure I will learn a lot!

    I have a projector now, and even non-techy me can make it work.

  • Jennifer – I’m excited about meeting you and other SCBWI-Arizona folks on Saturday! And high five for diving into the new technology. I’ve just begun to make the big transition, and I like it! We can certainly talk about this during our session.

  • Thanks for this post! I’ve been invited to present at the Pennsylvania School Librarian Association conference this spring, and I was wondering what they wanted to hear. Very helpful!

  • Mara – I’m glad you found this helpful. Be sure to offer practical advice that can be applied in the classroom and you’ll be a hero. For example, how do you go about doing research for your books? (And this includes doing research for fiction, too, not just nonfiction.) All kids have to do research for projects they do, so this is an “evergreen” topic.

  • Alexis, this is unrelated, but are you having a problem with your email? I’ve tried you twice from the address given on this blog and it bounces back from your regular address (the one on your website). Is there another way to reach you?

    (Please delete this from the comments when you see it!)