Authors Engaging Students introduces thousands of kids to reading and writing.
Greensboro Bound (GB) believes in connecting authors with students. Authors Engaging Students (AES) makes that happen. Many school library media specialists have difficulty finding the time and funds to schedule an author visit. AES recruits authors, makes travel arrangements and hosts the authors. Greensboro Bound pays the author fees and donates 10 copies of the author’s books for each school visit. Greensboro Bound provides building blocks for reading success to open children’s minds to their possibilities.
When authors discuss their lives and books, students hear stories of perseverance, creativity and opportunity. They hear of the 20 rejections an author received before their first book was published. They see the first story an author “published” in third grade! Children’s lives are opened to new worlds when they meet people who create unique characters and places. As a second grader at Ceasar Cone Elementary one exclaimed, “Before today I never knew I could be an author. Now I know I can be an author, too!”
We focus on bringing authors of color to meet students so that students see themselves in the presenting authors. As children’s author Kelly Starling Lyons notes, “I was nine years old before I saw someone who looked like me on the cover of a book.”
Over the past five semesters our Authors Engaging Students program has:
- facilitated over 117 authors visits with 17,300 students, (61% being Title 1)
- donated over 2000 books to school libraries and classrooms
- schools have seen a 471% increase in book check-out rates(!) after author visits
Authors Engaging Students also sponsors the Guilford County Schools “Poet Laureate Program.” This 15+ year-old program is led by Jennifer Worrells, Media Specialist at Grimsley High School. Some 150 students annually from 17 high schools receive personalized feedback on their writing from a published poet.
All of the AES activity is part of a broader effort to bring students and writers together. The 2019 Festival was our first year with an explicit focus on Children’s/Young Adult authors with 18 presentations by 20 authors targeted towards children/young adults.
We are expanding AES within both the Guilford County Schools and the University of North Carolina Greensboro’s School of Education. In March 2021 we are planning a Children’s Book Festival at UNCG that will bring thousands of students to meet and interact with children’s authors.