Preparation definitely helps students and teachers benefit from school visits. Familiarity with the books ahead of time gives students a framework for what the author will present. It allows them to ask meaningful questions relevant to the kind of writing the author does. Yes, it is a lot of work. But anything that the coordinator can do to get the kids fired up for the visit will help. Constant reminders of the event will help educators tie in author study and literacy prior to the event.
Follow up is important as well. Teacher Mrs. Schwartz at Hamilton Traditional School in South Bend returned to the classroom and talked with her students about what they remembered/had learned from April Sayre’s talk. Posting this kind of chart can help the teacher and student tie in what was learned with lessons in the weeks to come.