School Visits

I believe the two most important components of a school visit are humor and active participation. I will have your students laughing and chomping at the bit to create their own stories.

As a former teacher, my school programs are meant to inspire students and to help them refine specific writing skills.


Flexibility is my middle name. (Well, not really, but it could be!) I know that each student – and each group of students – is unique. Hence, I would like to discuss your needs so that I can tailor my presentations accordingly. Here is a selection of program components I can offer:

Which of these facts isn’t a fact? Via a true/false game, students guess which wild and wonderful facts I uncovered while researching. The results may surprise them!

Sara Shacter’s dirty laundry!
By sharing my revisions (a.k.a. my “dirty laundry,” on an actual clothesline!), students learn that my writing process is not so different from their own and that even professionals make mistakes.

Toilet paper brainstorming. Students help me generate similes and metaphors…and I may or may not dress up in a toilet paper wedding dress.

How does a book get made? Students get the inside scoop on Just So Willow‘s long and winding road to publication.

The art of the illustration. Not many people know that the illustrations in a book are revised, just like the text. Students get to see examples of how my wonderful illustrators’ art evolved.

Workshops. I am happy to tailor a workshop to your needs.

Student Q&A. I always enjoy answering students’ questions!


Kindergarten through fourth grade teachers from Grand Ridge School in Grand Ridge, IL:

“What a great message — writing is fun, hard and definitely worthwhile.  Hard work pays off!”

Some favorite aspects of the program:

    “Enough variation in presentation to keep students’ interest.  They remembered what was said!”
    “Your presentation was age, interest, and time appropriate for your audience.”
    “You were a very enthusiastic and kid-friendly speaker.  The visuals used to demonstrate nonfiction work were great.”
    “There were opportunities for student interaction.”
    “Time frame was great, delivery was great, examples were great.”

“I thought that showing the students how long it actually takes to write an article or book was great.  Also, the different types of writing that you do were interesting!  Yes!  Nonfiction writing can be fun!”

LRC Director, Jefferson Elementary School, Elmhurst, IL:

“Thank you for the wonderful writing workshops you presented to our fourth and fifth grade students.  You captured their attention from the very beginning with your graphic examples of your own writing.  Your topic choice for them — autobiographical articles — was perfect, and your example of your first ride on a Ferris wheel ‘hooked them and reeled them in!’  I loved the worksheet you created for their use; it combined brainstorming (ideas), organization, word choice, and voice all in one and since these are all features from our 6+1 writing traits program, it really tied into our writing curriculum.  The students had fun and really benefited from your advice, and the teachers appreciated input from a professional writer!”

First and Second Graders (and Librarian!), Alexander Graham Bell Elementary School, Chicago, IL:

“We really enjoyed your visit to Bell School.  March is the month we research women and you kicked off our month beautifully.  We loved hearing about the process of writing a book.  We have requested all of the books you have written to be in our library collection.  We look forward to reading your chapter book and are very interested in what you will finally title it.  Our favorite part was when you hung up the dirty laundry.  Please come back next year and talk to us again.”

Students, Ages 4 to 10:

“Thank you for coming to our class.  Your Ferris wheel story was hilarious.  You are a great writer.  YOU ROCK.”

“I like when she dressed up in toilet paper.  That was funny.”

“I found out that writing can be hard work.  I loved learning from you and was so happy that you came to visit.”

“Thank you for teaching us about dinosaurs, interesting facts, and writing.  It was very entertaining doing this activity.  I really enjoyed writing about myself.  Your books sound very funny.”