Author Tim Green Scores a Touchdown During Library Visit
by Lucy Drenka, Eubanks Intermediate School (Southlake TX)
From linebacker to book author, Tim Green promotes literacy to anyone who will listen. Eubanks Intermediate School students couldn’t wait for the chance to meet Mr. Green.
Tim has an impressive resume. He was an award-winning NFL defensive end for the Atlanta Falcons for eight years. While Tim played in the NFL, he also studied law and began his writing career. When he retired from football in 1994, he had already published his first book, and then became a lawyer. After writing more than a dozen books for adults, Tim began a series of best-selling novels for kids. The books are set in the world of sports and are based on Tim’s experiences as an athlete and a coach.
Our middle schoolers embraced Tim’s message about the value of teamwork and treating your teammates like each one is special. He talked about the importance of kindness and related a story about his experience being kind to a boy with a disability. He also spoke about how reading takes you to special places, and encouraged our students to read 20 minutes a day – what he calls “weight lifting” for the brain!
During his visit to our library, Tim read aloud to students from his new book, Left Out. Tim’s message made a tremendous impact on the Eubanks fifth and sixth graders. Many of the students have called his books “awesome!” and are continuing to read and enjoy his novels every time they visit the library.
Green's visit proved to be inspiring and injected new motivation, as I quickly saw that my students were anxious to read more of his books. This offered the perfect opportunity to refresh my sixth grade students’ use of Destiny Discover™. Using iPads®, we visited the Library page and the link to Destiny®. Once on the site, students logged on to their accounts. Here they were able to add holds to the Tim Green books they hope to read. They were also able to check the details to discover which books came next in the popular Football Genius series. We reviewed the contents of their virtual book bag and also looked at digital books. Follett offers students a valuable tool as they practice the 20 minutes a day of reading recommended by Tim.
How to Plan an Author Visit
If you're thinking you'd like to host an author the way we did, here are some tips. I like to begin the process nearly a year ahead of time to see if your chosen author maybe in your area in the coming year, and if so, perhaps you could work in a visit, thereby saving some travel expenses. You could also see if another school in your area might be interested and then you will be able to share the expenses. Reach out to the author you are hoping to invite to your school. I like to invite authors based on curriculum connections. For example, my sixth grade students read Green's Football Genius for Battle of the Books.
As soon as you have a tentative agreement with the author, check with your administration regarding dates to schedule the visit and funding. Our school has a generous PTO that supports author visits, supplemented by a contribution from the library account.
Once you have the author, and the dates and the funding in place, it’s time to begin the publicity. Promote the visit in your school news and on your library page. Create displays to welcome the author and generate excitement. Finally, prepare your students for the big day by sharing video clips and book trailers from the author. Read chapters aloud from the author's books.
Once this work is done, sit back, enjoy and watch the excitement in your students. Later, I always recommend following up with thank you notes to the PTO and the author.
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