Conferences and Presentations

I offer workshops and conference presentations to teachers/library media-specialists, administrators, students, aspiring children’s book authors and aspiring teachers. I have served as a dinner speaker for local literacy organizations and participated in a “virtual author visit” for undergraduate students at Pace University.

For Educators:

How to Use Personal Narratives to Inspire Student Writing

This workshop can be conducted virtually or in-person. It focuses on helping teachers help students create personal narratives to enhance their writing. The questions listed below are examples of prompts that can be used to help students learn more about themselves.

•What are the 3 most important things about you that you want me to know?

•What do you like to do? Why?

•Who do you admire? Why?

Dr. Toughlove’s Tips for Young Writers found on the Just for Kids page of this website provides additional writing tips for students.

This workshop can be presented as a one-hour virtual experience or a half-day in-person session. Participants will be asked to reflect upon what they have learned during the session and how it will inform their work in the future.

Using Picture Books to Promote Pro-social Skills

This half-day interactive workshop focuses on how educators can utilize picture books to enhance and promote pro-social skills. The goal for the session is two-fold: participants will learn how to be discerning about picture book selection with respect to strengthening social skills and will review specific strategies to conduct effective read-aloud sessions. The ideas discussed at this workshop are directly related to the content cited in your state’s ELA Curriculum. You can read a blog I have written about this topic here. Attendees will receive a copy of one of my books on the day of the workshop.

Using Picture Books to Promote Pro-social Skills: COVID Challenges

This workshop can be conducted virtually or in-person. Its target audience is teachers and building level administrators on the elementary level. Students of all ages have had to deal with a new and challenging school and home environment as a result of the COVID pandemic. The disruptions have resulted in many unanticipated roadblocks to social development. The goal for this session is to help educators develop strategies to address areas of need in the social-emotional arena. Participants will be asked to assess their students’ behavioral strengths and identify areas of weakness. Once areas of need are identified, participants will develop a plan that addresses the needs of the students in their charge with the use of children’s literature, particularly read-alouds as one of their essential strategies.

For Educators/Aspiring Children’s Book Authors:

Publishing Children’s Books: A Writer’s Journey

This workshop/talk focuses on how the participants can write, publish and market a children’s picture book. During this session I describe and outline the journey from yearning to write a children’s book to making it happen. My books and promotional materials are shared. The workshop is interactive in nature, with ample opportunities for questions and answers.  A PowerPoint presentation will be projected and an accompanying handout will be provided. Following the session, participants will have an understanding of the following:

How to approach writing a children’s book.

How to find an illustrator (if one is needed).

How to publish and market a self-published book.

Please use the contact page of this website to inquire about fees and availability.

For Students:

So you want to write a children’s book? A writing workshop for students grades 4 and up

I offer schools the opportunity to provide their students with a chance to work with me to write a short essay or children’s book. I will meet with the staff to outline what this experience will look like at their school because it will vary depending upon the ages and abilities of the students. Ideally this workshop would use a small group format, but can be adapted based on the needs and desires of the school personnel.

Students will either receive a visual writing prompt or a engage in a self-reflection exercise that enables them to decide what they would like to write about. I will facilitate a discussion about the assignment. If it is a short essay, we will outline the components of a good essay and use the same terminology that is utilized at their school. If the students will be writing a children’s book, we will discuss the importance of creating the setting, introducing the characters, identifying the topic or problem to be solved and tying up the story with a strong conclusion. I will share specific writing techniques that I’ve used that have worked well for me with the students. Students will have the option of including illustrations to their work.

The actual writing will take place over a series of days/weeks, depending upon the schedule that is created by the school. Students can send me rough drafts for feedback if they wish via email. I will make at least 2 school visits, either in person or virtually.

When the finished product has been completed, there will be a writing celebration and an opportunity for the students to share their work with their fellow writers and others who are deemed appropriate by the school. The students will receive a certificate of completion from me at the celebration ceremony.

Please use the contact page of this website to inquire about fees and availability.

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