The Key to Key Stage One

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It’s been just over a month since Aerodynamics of Biscuits’ was published! …and with 9 school visits, 2 bookshop events and 2 book launches under my belt I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

I have recently made two more successful author visits, one at Newton Ferrers C of E Primary School and one at Marldon C of E Primary School, both in Key Stage One, so I thought I would share ‘MY FOUR P’s’! My top tips for working with children aged 5-7yrs.

1. Prepare

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  Be organised, count resources, arrive in good time and be clear with the teachers about the timings and expectations for the visit. If you can, send posters, pre-order forms and photo permission slips before the big day to ensure it runs smoothly and to get a buzz going about your arrival.

2. Plan 

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Plan your event with timings and be specific about what you want to achieve in the time. Is the focus on plotting, character, enjoyment for writing, something else? But beware! However detailed your plan, it is important to be flexible and to be prepared to deviate if necessary – sometimes, for whatever reason (change of room, ICT difficulties) – things don’t go according to plan.

3. Make it Practical

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Whatever form your visit takes, make it is as fun and engaging as possible. Starting with a hook (a suitcase, a puppet, a prop of some kind ) is a great way to secure the audience’s attention from the start. Young children won’t be able to sustain sitting and listening for long, however interesting you are, so make sure you plan opportunities for group, pair or individual work if your session is longer than 20-30mins.

4. Personalise it 

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Not everyone feels comfortable with this part but children will be interested in YOU as much as your book so try to make time for Q & A! They might have prepared questions in advance but have something up your sleeve in case they don’t. Decide what you are happy to share about yourself ex: Why you wrote the book? What inspired you? How long it took? What’s your favourite colour? Do you have any pets? …and how much money you make (!?) yes, I have been asked! …

…but above all have FUN! Because if you do, the children will too!

(I know… it’s not a P!)

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This is not an exhaustive list of author tips so please feel free to add to these and share your wisdom with others who may be lucky enough to be visiting schools soon.

Good luck with your future events!


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2 thoughts on “The Key to Key Stage One

  1. Lovely tips and lovely pictures. What do you do for photo permission slips? I’ve done loads of school visits and never taken photos as there are always plenty of children for whom it wouldn’t be appropriate. I’d love it if you could share what you write for a photo permission slip. And also, I love your balloon thing -it’s brilliant. But do you have to blow up tons of balloons in advance? Really good luck. The book is lovely, thanks. Clare.

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    1. Hi Clare, thank you for your message. Yes I’ll upload the permission slip that I send to schools. I’ve been lucky that it’s usually only one or two that cannot be photographed. I think it’s more common now for schools to have blogs etc so sometimes parental permission to take and use photos on the Internet has already been given. I ask at the start of my visit who can / cannot be photographed and take photos and/or ask the class teacher to. Sometimes the school asks that I don’t use my personal camera and in this case, they email me the photos at a later date. I hope that helps! Clare

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