On February 5, 2020, MSAD #42 in Mars Hill hosted two virtual author visits in celebration of both World Read Aloud Day and Aroostook Regional Gifted and Talented Battle of the Books.
Each year, with the help of a list created by Author Kate Messner, teachers and librarians from across the country are invited to contact authors willing to offer free virtual visits with students via Skype. MSAD #42’s District Librarian and Gifted & Talented teacher Natasha Brewer, in conjunction with Aroostook Regional Gifted and Talented (ARGT) teachers, organized two author visits.
Each school year ARGT hosts both middle school and high school Battle of the Books competitions. Students read several books and gather in the spring to test their knowledge and recollection of the information covered in the texts. Using this year’s ARGT Battle of the Books competition as a guide, Brewer was able to schedule visits with two authors who wrote books on this year’s list. All ARGT schools were invited to join Mars Hill’s students for the visits. Taking part in the event were teachers and students from MSAD#24 in Van Buren, MSAD#20 in Fort Fairfield, Easton Jr/Sr High School in Easton, and SAD#32 in Ashland.
Middle school students and teachers spent forty minutes with author Ann Braden who read an excerpt from her debut novel, The Benefits of Being an Octopus, and then answered student’s questions. High school students and teachers spent forty minutes with White Rose author, Kip Wilson. The collaboration of several Aroostook County schools made it possible for over 70 students to meet and learn from highly successful authors, as well as each other. Due to the overwhelming response from the students and teachers, Brewer and ARGT hope to continue providing annual author visits to celebrate the benefits of reading, diverse texts, and connections with others.
This story was submitted by Kay York, Principal at Central Aroostook Junior-Senior High School as part of the Maine Schools Sharing Success Campaign. To submit a story or an idea, email it to Rachel Paling at firstname.lastname@example.org.