I love visiting schools and sharing my experiences as an author and illustrator with students. Teachers and librarians praise my program as “entertaining and educational,” “fun and engaging,” “professional, yet kid-friendly.” On a recent visit, a librarian said: “You’re the best speaker we’ve ever had!” I pride myself on giving the best experience possible, so her comments gratified me.
Lately, however, there’s been a lot of chatter about the CCSS (Common Core State Standards) for reading, writing, and speaking & listening. This standard applies not only for the content of books, but for the authors and illustrators who present at schools. I ignored the chatter as long as I could afraid that I’d have to include a bunch of testing jargon that would satisfy administrators but fly over the heads of kids. Boring.
Recently a librarian in Florida warn that my upcoming presentations at her school needed to meet the CCSS standards. Yikes! And uh-oh!
No worries, though, I have friends in all the right places. Author and educator Debbie Gonzales approached me about aligning my school visit presentation to meet the CCSS standards. But for almost a year, I procrastinated. Finally I provided Debbie with a point-by-point overview of my presentations. She analyzed my outline, asked questions, tossed out some ideas, and she created a wonderful, detailed guide. It was chock-full of CCSS annotations and followup activities that I can now share with teachers and librarians. And the best part, I don’t have to change a thing about my school visit program! But get this, do plan to change my program just a bit. Why not? Debbie provided me with some good stuff. I now I have the tools to up my game.
For more information about Debbie’s school visit CCSS coaching, see her website.