Want to get your students excited about writing? Rachael McNamee, fourth grade teacher at Oakdale School, Dedham, Massachusetts, really wanted her students to understand the intrinsic value and pleasure of becoming lifelong readers and writers. Through the “Skype an Author” website, Rachael connected with Mary Amato, children’s author, song writer, and performer. By writing a PTO grant, Rachael was able to buy a classroom set of Ms Amato’s book, Naked Mole-Rat Letter, and secure a date for Ms. Amato to visit her students via Skype.
Ms. Amato’s first virtual visit was a short, drop-in session. What an inspiring, fun-filled 15 minutes! Students were riveted to her storytelling style. She spun her answers to students’ questions into an inspirational non-fiction account of her writing journey. She shared her childhood memories and feelings and how they played a role in her writing. Of course, they were intrigued by what a “mole-rat” was and how she came up with the title and story. The students couldn’t wait to read the book and discuss it with Ms. Amato.
The follow up visit was truly amazing. The students had so many questions. Ms. Amato shared how she came up with ideas, character names, and tips and tricks the students could easily put into action. She showed the students samples of her brainstorming webs on large sheets of paper, character point-of-view charts, and copies of many renditions of her rough drafts with editor notes to let students know how important it is to go through the writing process to get their story just right. Ms. Amato is a gifted author who connects with young readers because of her enthusiasm to share her love of writing. Watch a sample of Ms. Amato’s message.