School Visits

“Your enthusiasm, sincerity, and entertaining style were enjoyed by everyone, teachers and students alike, and I would like to assure you that your visit with us was by far one of the best we have ever had.”

Beijing International Bilingual Academy

“A massive thank you Steve for a super week.  It’s been brilliant working with you.  Your energy has been immense and infectious.  The kids, parents and teachers have certainly been entertained and inspired to pick up a book or two to get lost in the adventures.”

British School Jakarta

The kids haven’t stopped talking about your performances, they were blown away! The teachers too haven’t stopped talking about it!

Thank you, will book you again as soon as we have the calendar fixed…

My biggest compliment was wow that was the best presentation we have ever had in school, well done……… thank you!

From a librarian

 

Hello!

I hope that I will be able to offer you an author visit that will inspire and enthuse your students. I am an ex-teacher and understand both what makes a successful author visit and what you want to achieve by inviting me in to talk to and work with your students.

I have been writing books together with Steve Barlow for over twenty five years and have produced over 230 titles. I began writing in order to produce material that engaged and enthused my students and this continues to be my mission!

I have travelled the world visiting schools and libraries delivering talks, workshops and INSET sessions across the age ranges. I spend over 100 days a year working with schools, libraries, universities, colleges, The British Council, The Reading Agency – in fact anyone who wants to use me to help inspire a love of reading and writing.

I have also appeared many times at the major literary festivals (Edinburgh, Hay, Bath, Cheltenham, NCBF etc.) and the not-so-major ones!

I am asked back on a regular basis to schools which have found that the visits to have been successful. I also run writer-in-residence workshops and writing squads for a range of abilities, from Gifted and Talented students to the struggling and reluctant writer.

I offer a wide range of sessions, so please do also get in touch if you have a specific need for a visit – I am very flexible in what I can offer!

With regard to numbers, I can talk to small groups or large audiences (1000 + is the current record!)

Why invite me?

  • You want your students to meet a real live author (as opposed to a real dead one!)
  • You want to inspire your students to read (and write) more.
  • You want to engage your reluctant readers (usually boys!).
  • You want to create a “buzz” around the school for reading.
  • You want some professional insights into how stories are created and structured.
  • You want all your pupils to experience the visit.
  • You want a good laugh!
  • You want any or all of the above!

If you would like to contact me regarding a visit, click here.

For information of present fees and booking details, click here.

SESSIONS OFFERED

I can offer 3-4 sessions a day (depending on the type of session chosen).

HOW TO BE AN AMAZING WRITER

An interactive and engaging presentation on what is entailed in being “an author” and writing from personal experience.

This session encourages students to regard themselves as writers and to value their experiences as source material for their work. It also promotes self-esteem and aims to encourage even the most reluctant writer to help realise their potential. There may also be time for a Q & A session.

Suitable for: Ages 7 – 14 (each talk can be adapted to the specific ages of the audience)

Numbers: 20 – 250+ these are negotiable depending on age of students and size of room. If numbers rise above 250, there may have to have a suitable PA system in place (lapel radio mic).

Time: 45 – 75 minutes

THINGUMYBOB

An interactive play reading with lots of audience participation / role play. There is potential for follow up activities in drama, art and other curriculum areas.

Suitable for: ages 4 – 7

Numbers: 25 – 120

Time: 45-­‐60 mins

ACTION DOGS

A lively and funny interactive literary game show based on the Action Dogs series.

Suitable for: ages 5 – 12 and mixed audience (families and friends).

Numbers: 50 – 250+ these are negotiable depending on age of students and size of room. If numbers rise above 250, I may have to have a suitable PA system in place (lapel radio mic).

Time: @60 minutes

I HERO

A lively and funny interactive literary game show based on the I Hero series.

Suitable for: ages 6 – 12 and mixed audience (families and friends).

Numbers: 50 – 250+ these are negotiable depending on age of students and size of room. If numbers rise above 250, I may have to have a suitable PA system in place (lapel radio mic).

Time: @60 minutes

WRITING MASTERCLASSES

May be combined with any of the above sessions. The aim of the workshops is to:

  • enthuse students about the writing process
  • give students confidence in formulating and planning their work
  • encourage students to concentrate on use of language for maximum effect

Suitable for: ages 7 – 18 (each talk can be adapted to the specific ages/needs of the audience)

Numbers: No more than 60 – it is better for smaller “class-size” numbers

Time: negotiable, but at least 60 minutes

DRAMA/ORACY WORKSHOPS

I also offer interactive drama workshops using conventions such as role play, hot seating, forum theatre, still images, improvisation etc.

The theme of these can be negotiated and may be used in conjunction with the visit.

INSET / CPD

I can offer sessions on:

  • “Struggling” Readers
  • Creative Writing
  • Active Learning
  • Engaging and Enthusing Boys to Read.

I can also deliver Key Note speeches / workshops for conferences.

BOOKS – THE FUTURE?

An engaging, interactive and humorous 45 minute talk exploring how books are developing in the digital world from their early beginnings. I will also examine the potential for attracting readers and reaching new audiences.

I helped to create the Outernet in early 2000. This ground-breaking project was a fusion of book and internet content, developed with Barry Cunningham (the discoverer of Harry Potter).

I then helped to develop the first e books for the market in 2007/8 and has was part of the creative team behind the NSS G story App (nominated for the 2017 British Media Awards) – the book you play and the game you read…

I will also talk and demonstrate how choice and interaction in reading can engage and enthuse the most reluctant readers and speculate what the future might bring with Virtual Reality and 3D screens just around the corner!

So, are my visits successful?

I get hundreds of emails and letters expressing thanks for the visits I undertake. Some are incredibly touching and prove to me that all the effort is very worthwhile.

Here are some of the most recent messages I have received:

From Alex, a primary pupil:

Thank-you for the best day of my life and I hope you come back to west croft one day.

From a teacher:

The children’s enthusiasm following their sessions with you continued beyond the day. One parent said her son sat and read one of your books that evening – the first time she’d ever seen him reading without being made to.

From a mum:

I just wanted to drop you a quick line to say thank you.  My son, Joseph, attended one of your workshops this week and has thoroughly enjoyed himself. He is not an enthusiastic reader (he really dislikes it) or writer, but this week has shown him what he can do and he wants to expand on the story he has written. I’m really proud of what he has achieved this week and can only thank you once again for your enthusiasm. A very happy and grateful mum.

I have produced a guide to organising school visits, which you can download by clicking here.

This has been used by both The Society of Authors and the UK organisers of World Book Day. It is intended as a positive guide for getting the most out of a visit.