Posted by: Kathy Temean | August 26, 2010

Four School Visit Tips to Remember

Thought you would find these observations from Verla Kay a help when planning your school visits.

1.  Kindergartener and PreSchool children won’t sit for longer than 15 minutes without getting restless. When I talk to this age group, I teach them a simple “activity” song that they act out after about 15 minutes. They have to stand and sit as they sing different words in the song. It’s a song from long ago, so it “fits” into the historic theme of my books and it works out the wiggles in them and leaves them laughing, exercised and happy for the remainder of my presentation.

2.  First through Third graders can sit for 30 to 45 minutes, as long as you keep the talk focused around things that interest this age group. Telling very short, interesting stories about your writing, your characters, or yourself will usually keep their attention from wandering.

3.  Fourth through eighth graders can handle presentations that are 45 minutes to an hour-long. They can go as long as an hour and half if it’s a hands-on workshop session where they are writing their own stories with your guidance.

4.  High school kids and adults can have all day sessions, as long as you have a lot of personal interaction and hands-on workshop sessions.

Making sure you are prepared to fill the proper amount of time for each age group can give you great peace of mind before and during your school visits.

Kids of all ages (and adults, too) love to see photos of authors as babies and children. If you can manage to show some of these to the kids throughout your presentation, it’s a great way to keep their attention focused on you and your talk. If the photos you show are humorous, it’s a fantastic way for authors who aren’t comedians to get some laughter and joy into their presentations. Let the photos tell the jokes for you. Laughter keeps your audience’s attention and makes them remember you fondly after you have gone home.

Click here to read all the great tips that Verla has on her blog.  She does a lot of school visits and is very knowledgeable.

Anyone have any tips on getting school visits?

Talk tomorrow,



  1. It looks like I may have one in September, my first, and my fingers are crossed that it all comes together. So I’m open to all the tips I can get. (I can report later!) Meanwhile, tx for these tips and I’ll check Verla Kay.



  2. Jeanne,

    I do have my fingers crossed for you. Doing a school visit is so inspiring. I love being around all those kids.



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