In addition to creating a program, there are other things authors should do to prepare for a school visit.
I usually exchange at least 4 emails or phone calls with the person who is arranging my visit…
- I ask to see the day’s schedule so I can make suggestions, like grouping children by age/grade and allowing “travel time” between programs.
- I ask for directions to the school – including landmarks to help me find my way in an unfamiliar area – and instructions for parking.
- I help the media specialist arrange for my books to be on hand, if the school wants to offer book sales and autographing.
- I ask what room I will speak in. (I think that media centers provide the best atmosphere for an author/illustrator program. But a larger room may be necessary. A multi-purpose room is the next best facility. Gyms and cafeterias are often noisy and hot; they offer poor acoustics and awkward seating, but they may be the only available rooms in a school.)
- I let the school know what equipment I will need, such as a microphone if I will address large groups or speak in a gym.
- I exchange home and mobile numbers with the school contact person, in case of last-minute problems, such as a traffic jam.
What do you wear to a school?
The best advice that I’ve ever received about wardrobe in school is: Wear comfortable shoes!
Choose clothes that would be appropriate in an everyday setting where you meet the public – think conservative skirts or nice slacks. In many schools, teachers are not permitted to wear jeans (except on special occasions), so you should avoid them, too. Schools frown on revealing clothing – no cleavage or midriffs showing, no short shorts, and no skin-tight clothes.
Children enjoy bright colors, and it’s easier to pay attention to a speaker who is dressed in colorful clothes.
Since you don’t know whether you’ll be speaking in a too-cold or too-hot room, dress in layers and avoid heavy sweaters. (Generally, school rooms are overheated, rather than too chilly.)
For more information about Gail Karwoski, visit her website, http://gailkarwoski.com/ or visit the Sylvan Dell Publishing website, http://www.SylvanDellPublishing.com. For additional inquiries or to schedule an interview with Ms. Karwoski, contact Sara Dobie, Public Relations, at 877-958-2600 or SaraDobie@SylvanDellPublishing.com.