School Visits: Spotlight on Students and Storytellers

Online | Picture Books, Early Readers and Chapter Books, Novels, Nonfiction, Poetry, Illustration, Business of Publishing
Blend who you are as a storyteller with resonant content and materials to build your school visit and create genuine connections with kids or teens, educators, administrators, and librarians.

October 3 - October 24

Online

$599

Overview

A Weekly Online Course + Individual Consultations on Your School Visit

Join Andrea Loney, George Jreije, and Michelle Cusolito for a productive workshop to develop a 20-minute, reader-focused visit (plus strategies to expand or condense it as needed) with faculty support.  You’ll blend who you are as a storyteller with resonant content and materials to create genuine connections with kids or teens, educators, administrators, and librarians.  The course includes presentations, generative peer-to-peer discussions, during and post-course 1:1 consultations, and more.

  • Live Lectures on Tuesdays 7-8:30pm Eastern (with closed captioning; October 3, 10, 17, 24)
  • A live 1:1 Consultation during the first week to discuss needs, preliminary ideas, and questions (Scheduled between Wednesday, October 4 – Monday, October 9 at a mutually convenient time.)
  • A second live 1:1 Consultation post-course to discuss prepared materials and mini-presentation (Scheduled 4 – 6 weeks following your submission.)
  • Hands-on exercises to build your scripted virtual presentation (and ideas for an in-person model)
  • Pre-recorded content and resources round out your learning experience
  • 30 participants max

Why This Workshop?

The heart of a powerful presentation begins with understanding who you are as a storyteller, and then using that understanding to create a genuine connection with kids and teens through the material you present. If you want to create and deliver an engaging presentation, this workshop offers the unique opportunity to jumpstart your plans for school visits and beyond.

During this program, you will work (with faculty support) toward developing a 20-minute, reader-focused presentation that brings you into the spotlight, with care and attention towards your intended audience.

We’ll also offer many ideas for how to expand that 20-minute presentation into longer virtual or in-person sessions, and condense it into five-minute book talks for educators.

LIVE lectures and pre-recorded materials will help you:

  • Receive advice from educators and authors about what makes an engaging school visit for many age groups
  • Uncover your strengths in public speaking and the story-behind-your-story to share with kids
  • Prepare materials for a 20-minute, reader-focused presentation
  • Share ideas about expanding your virtual presentation for longer virtual visits and in-person events
  • Discuss ways to connect with teachers, librarians, and administrators
  • Discuss finances related to school and public visits

Throughout the workshop, you’ll receive:

  • Informal feedback on ideas and exercises.
  • Practical and personal approaches for connecting with students during school visits.
  • Ways to build public speaking skills.
  • An overview of technology available to create presentation slides, including Canva, PowerPoint, Google Slides, and more.
  • An overview of virtual visit technologies including Zoom (webinars and meetings), Teams, and more.

We believe that 1:1 discussions with your faculty can help you craft and revise excellent school visits. You will be paired with a faculty member to meet 1:1 during the first week of the course to discuss needs, preliminary ideas, and questions (Scheduled between Wednesday, October 4 – Monday, October 9 at a mutually convenient time), and again post-course to discuss prepared materials and mini-presentation (Scheduled 4 – 6 weeks following your submission). See workshop agenda for more details.

Feedback Expected

  • Opportunities to share with informal discussion in the virtual classroom and/or during the facilitated peer-to-peer conversations.
  • You will be paired with a faculty member to meet 1:1 during the first week of the course to discuss needs, preliminary ideas, and questions (Scheduled between Wednesday, October 4 – Monday, October 9 at a mutually convenient time.)
  • You and your faculty consultant will meet post course to discuss prepared materials and mini-presentation (Scheduled 4 – 6 weeks following your submission). Your submission will be the script and/or outline of your 20 minute talk.

It’s a Great Fit If…

  • You are an author or illustrator. This course is open to both authors and illustrators, regardless of experience level.  At least one published or pre-published title is recommended; traditionally or self-published.
  • You would like to develop or refine your school presentations. School visits are an excellent way to promote your books and earn extra income. This course will help you develop the best presentation for your audience.
  • You are a debut author or illustrator. Learn ways to get your new title into the hands of readers, including children, teachers, and librarians.
  • You like the structure of a multi-week online course with all sessions taking place over a few weeks including small group opportunities and large group lectures. Some information will come in the form of pre-recorded lectures and homework.

Detailed Agenda

All Times are Eastern Standard Time.

Pre-workshop

Prior to your course, you will receive a link to our virtual classroom where you can introduce yourself to fellow authors, engage in Highlights Foundation related resources (including our Community Standards), and connect with your faculty consultant to schedule your first 1:1 meeting.

Live sessions take place on Tuesdays, with recordings available within 24 hours.

Week One

LIVE Zoom Session: Tuesday, October 3 (7pm – 8:30pm Eastern)

  • Welcome from the Highlights Foundation
  • Presentation One: Uncovering Your Strengths: How to Speak in Public + How to Speak with Readers with Michelle Cusolito
  • Small Group Introductions: About you! About your books! About your ideas!
  • Virtual Classroom Overview

In the virtual classroom

  • What to bring to your 1:1 Consultation
  • How peer-to-peer sessions will work (no facilitators)
  • Understanding technology, audio, and/or visuals for your presentation (pre-recorded from Andrea Loney)
  • Ask questions and share reflections

1:1 Consultation (Scheduled between Wednesday, October 4 – Monday, October 9)

  • You will be paired with a faculty member to meet 1:1 for 20-minutes to discuss needs, preliminary ideas, and questions.
  • If you are unable to make this appointment, you can message your needs via email.
Week Two

LIVE Zoom Session: Tuesday, October 10 (7pm – 8:30pm Eastern)

  • Small Group Discussions: Sharing Plans (Audio, Visual, Technology) What do you plan to bring to your school visit in person? And/or virtually?
  • Presentation Two: The 20-Minute School Visit, a sample with Andrea Loney
  • Presentation Three: Creating a Run of Show (Script, Outline) for Your School Visit with Andrea Loney
  • Q & A

In the virtual classroom

  • Example school visit scripts and outlines
  • Homework: Write it out! Your school visit.
  • Ask questions and share reflections
Week Three

LIVE Zoom Session: Tuesday, October 17, 2023 (7pm – 8:30pm Eastern)

  • Small Group Session: Share 5 minutes of FUN from your presentation! (Visuals are optional)
  • Presentation Four: Finding Speaking Opportunities & Crafting Materials to Promote Yourself with George Jreije
  • Q & A

In the virtual classroom

  • Sample speaking contracts, visit proposals and descriptions
  • Resources for building public speaking skills
  • Resources for building your online presence with educators
  • Ask questions and share reflections
Week Four

LIVE Zoom Session: Tuesday, October 24, 2023 (7pm – 8:30pm Eastern)

  • Small Group Session: Share 5 MORE minutes of FUN from your presentation! (Visuals are optional)
  • Panel Discussion: Experiences & Tips from all faculty
  • Open Q & A
  • Closing and post-course consultation details

In the virtual classroom

  • Submission details for final consultation

1:1 Consultation (Scheduled 4 – 6 weeks following your submission.)

  • You and your faculty consultant will meet post course to discuss prepared materials and next steps.
  • Your submission is the script and/or outline of your 20-minute talk. (Optional: submit a 20-minute video showing your full presentation.)
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Commitment Required for the Best Experience

This course is best if you attend or watch all lectures. We recommend setting aside time to try the homework so that you can participate in the small group discussion. (Note: If your schedule does not allow you to attend the live sessions and you would still like to register, that’s OK! You’ll have access to the recordings with closed captioning. They’re posted the day after the session, and they’ll be available until November 30, 2023.)

The Highlights Foundation strives for a safe and inclusive environment. You will have access to our Community Standards prior to the workshop where we ask for your respectful engagement with fellow creatives, including our faculty and staff.

How It Impacts Kids

A visit or book talk can bring a story to life for a kid, and give them a glimpse into the process storytelling.  It can also spark new love for reading, and create genuine connection and opportunities for learning.  Build visits that speak to your audience in your own unique voice to foster this experience.

Testimonials from Our Community

“The synergy and positive energy from three faculty members were almost unbelievable.”

“Very knowledgeable instructors with lots of wisdom and experience to share. We all learned a great deal from them.”

“The faculty’s deep belief in what they’re sharing, their knowledge, their commitment to helping us connect with kids and spread the joy of books.”

DETAILS

October 3 - October 24

$599

Online

Access

When you register for this course, you’ll receive information via email to confirm.

For mini courses (one or two sessions only), you’ll receive webinar links immediately to use on the day of the course.

For longer courses, you’ll receive an invitation to your virtual classroom as the workshop approaches.

Can't Attend Some Sessions Live?

That's generally okay!  We know that you are juggling other demands with your workshop.

Recordings are made available to all registrants for most live sessions, usually the day after the session.  Check your course description for specific details about session recordings, and when they are released.

We also try to suggest in the description how using the recordings may impact your experience if you can't attend live.  But ultimately, it's up to you!  Let us know if you need help.

Learn more about the technology that we use for our online workshops.

Workshops for Writers & Illustrators

> Online
> In-Person
> On-Demand (Self-Paced Online)

New to the Highlights Foundation? Try these:

About Children's Publishing | The Whole Novel Workshop | Summer Camp

Questions?

Need help deciding on a workshop?  Ask an ambassador!

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Our campus (The Barn at Boyds Mills) is tucked away in the foothills of the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.  It's a few hours from both New York City and Philadelphia, but worlds away from everyday life.

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