It was brief as author visits go – one hour with two 4th grade classes in the media center. However, from the moment the students entered the room until Rebecca Wyant helped me carry my props to the parking lot, I felt the enthusiasm for books at Tuttle Elementary (Maiden, NC).
Of course, I loved that, in this case, the excitement was about my book. I usually have a Q & A after my program but at Tuttle the questions started flying the minute students were in the room. So I started responding immediately and soon had to say, “I’ll be answering that in my presentation so let’s get started.”
I began and wow – I love when there’s a lively discussion that blows away my agenda. I didn’t get through my PowerPoint that day. But it didn’t feel like things had gone awry – simply that the most important thing had been accomplished – students asked questions, shared their own knowledge, and demonstrated a zest for reading!
These students were prepared! Not only had they read BLUE all the way through, they’d done a research oriented scavenger hunt on polio with the librarian. And in their classrooms they’d journaled and created art in response to a particular chapter in my book.
They’d invested themselves and it paid off in our time together. But another thing that made this work so well, is that the adults involved – Media Specialist, Rebecca Wyant and teachers Holly Timberlake and Brooke Potocki allowed this free exchange.
The students could have arrived in single file - quiet as church mice at a funeral – waiting until the appointed time to tell me how much they loved my book. But it wasn’t necessary and they knew it. Someone at Tuttle had created a respectful yet free and easy climate for dialogue. I loved it.
Thanks To Terrific Tuttle Terrapins for Taking Time To Talk To me!
(Say that 3 times fast!)