My answer is to show them how reading a good book is an adventure in itself. I get them to ask themselves questions. Questions like: Who are these characters? Why did the plot take that turn? How did the author create this mood?
I call it being a reading detective.
And in that spirit, my school presentations consist of lots of questions. Using my middle grades novel, Cheesie Mack Is Not a Genius or Anything, first in a series from Random House, I engage students, exhorting them to become reading detectives.
Here’s a short video that captures one such Cheesie Mack presentation.
A typical Cheesie Mack day at a school can have as many as six sessions, each with 25-50 students (one class or two classes in the same grade) for 45-60 minutes. My presentation (which really works for grades 3-5) is educational and fun. It includes:
• intro to Cheesie Mack
• a short reading that emphasizes characters, followed by a spirited discussion (I ask lots of questions and get students very involved)
• another short reading emphasizing character development (more interactive discussion—the kids really get involved!)
• concepts of plot structure, supported by another short reading (and more discussion)
• Q&A about authors & writing & books.
Cheesie Mack Is Not a Genius or Anything came out in March and is doing very well. I have received excellent reviews and terrific responses to the author events I did at the end of the last school year.
The book is funny and the students are very entertained! So if you are interested in an author visit, I encourage you to contact me.