Visiting Authors, Speakers, Performances & Special Days
Much has been written about the value of an author visit. Research shows that the impact an author visit has on a student is long-lasting and strong. Meeting authors makes the writing process, books, and the authors themselves accessible and real to students. These benefits include:
- Promotion of reading - when students understand what goes on in an author's world when they write, books somehow become more real and much more valued by the students. Borrowing rates most definitely go up and students open up their minds to reading outside their normal range.
- of writing - students feel encouraged to put more effort and care into their own writing after listening to authors talk about the difficulty of the writing process and the work involved in crafting a piece of writing.
- Demystifying creativity - students learn that authors are ordinary people who are committed to working hard at their craft and honing and polishing their ideas until they work. This insight helps students to understand what is needed to write well and that blood, sweat tears are often more important than talent.
- Encouraging risk-taking - writing for students is generally around focusing on trying to get a good mark. The inspiration and encouragement they can draw from authors who write because they are driven to do can often be the impetus for them to take a risk and discover their unique voice.
- Igniting sparks - learning about the success which can come as a result of hard work and commitment, an author visit can often inspire students to take on and fulfill projects they have only dreamt about.
- Consolidation of what they are learning in school - it's amazing how much more notice that students will pay attention to the advice given to them about writing by an author. It doesn't seem to matter how often their teachers have told them the same thing!
(adapted from Lund, D n.d., Benefits of an author visit, accessed 11 November 2017, <http://deblund.com/debs-services/author-visits/benefits-of-author-visits/>.)
Click here to access a new report from the UK National Literacy Trust which finds that author visits to schools have a positive relationship with children and young people’s reading skills, and their enjoyment and confidence in reading and writing.
This report found that pupils who had an author visit within the academic year were:
- twice as likely to read above the expected level for their age (31% vs 17%)
- more likely to enjoy reading (68% vs 47%) and writing (44% vs 32%)
- more likely to be highly confident in their reading (37% vs 25%) and writing (22% vs 17%)
We cannot overstate how important author visits are for sparking a love of reading and writing in children that will ignite their imaginations, enhance their wellbeing and transform their life chances.
Jonathan Douglas, Director
The report is based on our 2019 Annual Literacy Survey of 56,905 pupils aged 9 to 18 across the UK and includes findings from the Great School Library Campaign.