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5 Reasons why Author-Illustrator Visits are invaluable for schools

5 Reasons why Author-Illustrator Visits are invaluable for schools - by CWISL authors and illustrators at the SLB Meet for SouthEast on 25th April 2015. Arranging author-illustrator visits might not be as expensive as you think - the benefits are there to see.

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5 Reasons why Author-Illustrator Visits are invaluable for schools

  1. 1. 5 Reasons why Author-Illustrator Visits are invaluable for schools And Some Suggestions to Make it Happen
  2. 2. 1. Encourages Reading for Pleasure In a Society of Authors survey – the respondents indicated that they had organised at least 1471 author visits. 99.4% of the respondents considered author visits to be “high priority and valuable in encouraging reading for pleasure and creative writing.” 0 50 100 Primary Secondary 94 60 # schools responded
  3. 3. Why Reading for Pleasure is Important Reading for Pleasure Enjoyment and attainment Pleasure in reading in later life Emotional and social consequences Reading assessment scores The Department of Education “Research Evidence on Reading for Pleasure” 2012 Reading for pleasure is more important for children's cognitive development than their parents' level of education. (2013 research by Dr Alice Sullivan and Matt Brown from the Institute of Education)
  4. 4. Benefits of Reading for Pleasure Reading attainment and writing ability Text comprehension and grammar Breadth of vocabulary Positive reading attitudes General Knowledge Pleasure in reading in later life Greater self-confidence as a reader Better understanding of other cultures Community participation Greater insight into human nature and decision-making Parents are the most important reading role models for children and young people. (National Literacy Trust, Reaching Out with Role Models, April 2009)
  5. 5. Reading for Pleasure – some ideas… Candy Gourlay’s Ideas from the Reading for Pleasure Facebook group, set up by Jon Biddle, founder of Patron of Reading • What I'm reading – signs on teacher’s doors. • Book Swap corners • World Map of Books • Audiobook listening corner • "If you liked this book, you might like these" shelves • Mini-book making project. (Comics too!)
  6. 6. More ideas! • Meet the author – parents and children • Playlist of Book Trailers from YouTube • Book quizzes – Do you know about CWIZZ? • Vertical mentoring and reading support – a child from a higher year group helping a younger one or telling stories to younger classes • Ask an author to be Patron of Reading
  7. 7. Attitudes KS2: 2013 How often do you read outside class? 35% 31% 10% 6% 2% 11% 5% 46% 32% 8% 4% 1% 6% 3% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 45% 50% Every day or almost every day A few times a week About once a week A few times a month About once a month Rarely Never KS2 boys KS2 girls
  8. 8. Attitudes KS3: 2013 How often do you read outside class? 25% 27% 11% 8% 3% 17% 8% 32% 28% 12% 7% 3% 14% 5% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 45% 50% Every day or almost every day A few times a week About once a week A few times a month About once a month Rarely Never KS3 boys KS3 girls
  9. 9. Attainment across key stages (2013)
  10. 10. Children living in poverty are less likely to be able to read well at school than their classmates – and this has the potential to be devastating for their future lives. How reading can help children escape poverty, Read On Get On campaign, 2014.
  11. 11. 2. 360 Degrees An author visit can inspire teachers and children to engage with the books more than just reading and writing Most authors make this easy by providing resources, bringing things to life and talking about their experiences • Art with illustrators • Writing and acting drama • History • Discussions on social & cultural aspects • Debates • Talking about research, use of evidence, and visiting locations
  12. 12. - You must not be taken by surprise! - If the Germans come. . . the order is ‘stay put’. - If you keep your heads, you can tell whether a military officer is really British or only pretending Excerpts from Lydia Syson’s talk Mosley & the British Union of Fascists
  13. 13. Sophia Bennett shares some of her fashion inspiration for Threads
  14. 14. 3. Motivating Reluctant Readers & Writers One of the respondents in the SOA survey said, “Sometimes an understanding of the inspiration behind a story will motivate a previously reluctant reader pick up a book.” Showing the research & the background material, talking about the inspiration behind the book would not only bring the book to life but also inspire the children to read to find out more. Many children would appreciate only when they see a author in person that writing is a real career choice.
  15. 15. Y4s engrossed in writing a new story during Chitra Soundar’s author-visit.
  16. 16. A Skype visit can inspire too. Here is an assembly with Margaret Bateson-Hill . The school were looking at her book Masha and the Firebird
  17. 17. 4. Increased Library Use • Raising the profile of the library • Increased loans of a diversity of titles ‘There are often “new” faces seen in the library after an author event and students appear more confident to request books by that author. ‘Visits have sent (library) borrowing through the roof’
  18. 18. “You want weapons? We’re in a library! Books! Best weapons in the world! This room’s the greatest arsenal we could have. Arm yourself!” ― The Doctor David Tennant
  19. 19. 5. Ofsted Has started noticing… • 11% of respondents reported that Ofsted inspectors (or equivalent body) had entered a library during an inspection. Of these, six respondents said that the inspector verbally commented on the school’s use of author visits. • One respondent revealed that inspectors had watched a session with an author and had gone on to record the lesson as ‘outstanding’. • SOA has been urging Ofsted to take notice of author-events in their report. Lyn Hopson, whose school, Don Valley Academy, is used as a Best Practice Case study for literacy promotion on the Ofsted website and in Moving English Forward7, cited its author visits as a factor in its strong reputation. Another independent school reported that its regular scheduling of events had been noted in the Good Schools Guide 2012. Schools whose visits had been formally mentioned in inspection reports tended to have been inspected more recently (2011-12), and in September 2012 the Ofsted inspection guidelines have increased their focus on schools as reading environments.
  20. 20. Children creating new stories at ShoutWest Creative Writing Festival run by CWISL
  21. 21. Author Jackie Marchant with Dougal Trump…
  22. 22. Sustaining the interest A single visit may not be enough. So what are the options? •Structured support for reading •Premier League Reading Stars supported by National Literacy Trust •Encouraging reading for shortlisting would create huge interest • All-round engagement across many year-groups •You agree with your chosen author how it works Patron of Reading Writer / Illustrator in Residence Read On – Get on; Reading Stars Regional Book Awards
  23. 23. What are some ways to get funding for author visits Pupil Premiums Literacy Budgets Combining author visits with nearby schools Engaging with local authors and hence reducing the cost of transport etc Working with a local author to create “Author in Residence” or “Patron of Reading” Programmes Working with the publishers, PTA or local businesses to sponsor author visits Collaborating with bookstores nearby to share the cost of author visits and allowing the bookstore to do book sales during the event.
  24. 24. Where can you find out more? • Society of Authors report on the benefits of Author Visits - group-presentation-on-author-visits • Premier League Reading assessments showing the impact of reading for pleasure on general attainment levels. g_stars_201314_evaluation_report • Reading for Pleasure website - • Government research on reading for pleasure. 84286/reading_for_pleasure.pdf • Report on Reading for Pleasure by National Union of Teachers -
  25. 25. How to arrange author visits – some help here… • Book Trust guide to arranging author visits - arranging-an-author-visit/ • How to arrange author visits guide from SOA - ault/files/Guidelines%20for%20schools%20o rganising%20an%20author%20visit%20May %202014.pdf • Check out useful websites like & and assess the kind of author you want for your school visit. Author Jackie Marchant during a school visit.
  26. 26. We are CWISL - how we can help… • CWISL is an organisation of writers and illustrators based in London. We are local to many boroughs and hence are available to do longer programmes like Patron of Reading, Author/Illustrator in Residence. • We run an annual book-related quiz for schools in London – find out more about our CWIZZ on 1st May 2015. Want to sign up for the next one? • We run two writing festivals in alternate years – ShoutSouth & ShoutWest where writers help children from across London enjoy creative writing and showcase their work. We still have a few places left for this year’s ShoutSouth – want to send your school? Contact us. • We also run an online magazine for children – where children can see their published work and get comments from published authors. Send stories and pictures from your school too. Find out more at
  27. 27. CWISL at SLB Meet • The following writers and illustrators of CWISL are here today – come and ask us about what we do. o Lydia Syson o Margaret Bateson-Hill o Sarah Mussi o Chitra Soundar o Jackie Marchant o Sophia Bennett o Amanda Lilywhite o Sam Hepburn
  28. 28. This is what it is all about… isn’t it?