As my students know, I am a HUGE Roland Smith fan. He is a great storyteller with fast moving plots and smart, compassionate characters. As I hand a student any one of his books, I can guarantee that it is “the-best-book-ever” which raises my creditability several notches when they later agree with me. He writes stories that will make kids better readers and ultimately life long readers.
Roland Smith does something else really well: he is very assessable to his readers. He travels a lot and can even Skype in for a school visit. Equally important is his strong online presence with his website, blog and Facebook page.
He holds a monthly contest and winners are drawn at the end of the month. The best part is that winners get a signed copy of a Roland Smith novel. My copy of Elephant Run just arrived last week and I took it to school to share with my students. Believe me, they were impressed.:-) The four paperback copies in my class library were snapped up that day.
The opportunities for kids today are awesome; a genre they can call their own, access to their favorite authors’ via the Internet. Teachers are equally lucky; there are book trailers, professional and student made, online. Using the trailers to kick off a lesson takes 2 minutes and is so much more interesting to the students. Lesson plans and videos instantly available to help build the all important background knowledge. If you aren’t taking full advantage of the information available via Internet, you are short changing yourself and your students.
As teachers, we need to share author websites because it helps us help kids be better, more engaged readers. It also helps writers get to know their readers and get feedback on their books. Readers have always identified with the characters in their favorite stories and now they can identify with the writers as well.