How to host an author SKYPE chat Beth Campbell

  • Step 1: Read books by the author. Read books by the author. Read books by the author. Yep...most importantly, read books by the author. Most recently, we had the opportunity to Skype with author Nora Raleigh Baskin about her recent book Nine, Ten: A September 11 story.

Step 2: Talk about the author's work: What resonated with you? What did you learn? Who else would enjoy this book and why? Whose perspective changed you? Will you read more books by this author? What questions do you have for the author? What lingering message or idea will you carry with you after reading this book? What character came alive for you and lives with you even though the book is finished?

Nora Raleigh Baskin

Step 3: Learn about the author: their childhood, where they live, books they've written, their writing process, their favorite food, what they are currently doing, the path they took to becoming an author.

Step 4: Your teacher may reach out to the author via social media, phone call or email. Inquire whether the author would be willing to participate in a SKYPE call with students. Time is precious. Ask if the author would have 15-30 minutes for a call, keeping in mind their busy schedule. Suggest several dates and time options. Discuss FORMAT with the author. Depending on the available time, a conversation may be more beneficial than just a Q/A session. What format does the author prefer?

By David Pogue
Author and illustrator Deborah Frreedman

Step 5: Finalize a time to connect. Decide on the video tool you'll use to communicate and test out the connection prior to your meeting. Skype and Google Hangouts are probably the easiest.

Follow up on format. If the video call will be a conversation, what will you be discussing? Is the author taking the lead? Or the classroom? If you are going to use a Q/A session, create carefully. INSIGHTFUL. THOUGHT PROVOKING. UNIQUE.

Questions are key. If the question can be answered from the author's website, pick something different. You have the opportunity to 'pick the author's brain' and converse about the book. Ask questions that demonstrate your understanding and insight of the story. Avoid 'yes' - 'no' questions. Be creative!

Nora Raleigh Baskin

Step 7:  Touch base with the author a day or two before the call to verify date/time. Are you going to do a test call prior to the actual call? It is imperative that all equipment is up and running. Is all hardware and software accessible and functioning?

The day of the call. At least 15 minutes ahead of the scheduled time, test your equipment. Make sure your sound and video are working. Will the author be able to hear the students? Have students seated so that every child is able to be in the camera frame. Remind students that the author CAN see them. Good manners matter. To make the most of your time, students who will be asking questions should be seated near the front to expedite the time it takes to get to the microphone/computer.

Step 8: Start on time. Introduce yourself and the class to the author. Extend an opportunity for the author to share information with the class. As with Nora Raleigh Baskin, she had created an entire presentation to share with the class regarding her extensive research for the book. Ask your questions. Chat. Dialogue. Share. Enjoy!

Josh Funk

Step 9: Conclude the chat on time and thank the author! Share out your positive experience with others via social media, your website or school's communication tools. We need to celebrate these opportunities and the connections students make with awesome authors.

Credit: Deborah Freedman & Nora Raleigh Baskin
"The teacher's enthusiasm is EVERYTHING..the kids pick up on it. When the teacher cares about writing and reading and absolutely shines right through the computer screen. " Nora Raleigh Baskin

#grateful #inspiring #lifechanging #joy

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