Mar 2, 2013

10 Tips for creating classroom resources to promote your novel.

Have you written a novel for kids or teens?

One way to reach your audience is through schools--lots of kids there!

How can you get your book into the classroom? One way is to offer author talks at your local schools--you can speak about the novel and offer a few fun activities for the kids. Another way is to create classroom resources that teachers can download from your website.

That's what I've been busy doing and I have a whole worksheet booklet prepared for download:
Click on the image to open the PDF

If you want to create classroom resources for your book, here's a few tips:
  1. Make it a PDF, it'll be easier to share and download. I use Adobe InDesign for mine.
  2. Include images. Straight out text can seem dry and boring. You want it look life fun! I mostly use Shutterstock for images, they've a huge range and they're cheap.
  3. Check curriculum and syllabus requirements on the Education Department's website. I aim at years 6-7 English (novel studies, genre study and themes), but if you have a historical novel you might find it fits in History studies.
  4. Include activities that enable students to explore their own opinion on topics. Don't just have questions where the answer is right or wrong. Allowing children to reflect on their own experiences and express their ideas is just as valuable, if not more, than testing information retention.
  5. Relate to a variety of subjects. I include creative writing, essay, craft, art, puzzles, poetry and genre study in mine. This means teachers can choose to use your worksheets any time through out the school year.
  6. Include games. I have doubts that a wordsearch really tests any skill. You don't even have to know how to spell to find the word. BUT kids enjoy solving these and they're easy to create. Just Google 'create your own word search puzzle'. You could include mazes, or crossword puzzles or anything that adds a bit of fun to your worksheets.
  7. Promote your website. Every page should show your web address, or some way for potential readers to find your books. I list my address on every page.
  8. Prepare for sales. If a teacher loves your resources and wants to acquire a class set, are you ready with information on price (class sets can be up to 30 books, and budgets are usually tight). Can you offer a discount? How will you handle distribution?
  9. Don't make it all about your novel. What? Isn't that the idea? No. It's not. You're offering a resource to enhance the education of children. My novel is a humorous horror for kids, so I include exercises on the horror genre that do not mention my book. Your web details will still be available on the sheet.
  10. Create a link to your PDF on your website/blog. On Wordpress you can insert the PDF right onto your blog (I created a Wordpress page to host mine). There may be a widget for Blogger, or you could use Google Docs or Scribd. Place a link in your navigation bar. Make it easy to find!


  1. I bookmarked this, Charmaine, and will be hitting you up for advice in the future. My plan is to hit the schools, too. I already participate in National Reading Day teaching the kids Haiku.

    These are absolutely wonderful. Thanks.

    (I'm working on my last post at Blogger and then will be at WordPress, if you want to make a note to self)

  2. Excellent ideas. Almost makes me wish I wrote for kids instead of adults :)

  3. Great post, Charmaine. Many of these ideas can be modified and used by those of us who don't write for children, say as a library or workshop resource.

  4. Charmaine, this is wonderful stuff, which makes me sigh and wish I hadn't written the kind of stories I already have. Reason being, the one I'll be releasing shortly (and the second in the series) is what the school system here has dubbed as 'focusing on the affective', but nonetheless 'enhances learning and is good resource material for school, colleges, libraries,' blah, blah, blah.

    I definitely will print this article out and keep it because it's excellent resource material, which I'm sure will help me when I finish another, more upbeat MG book I started writing ages ago. The 'Funbook' is amazing. Wish I'd thought of it. You rock! :)

  5. Wonderful ideas, thanks for sharing, now if only I wrote books for the younger set. Maybe some day, I do have an idea I wrote down years ago, about a grandfather and granddaughter learning to communicate during a summer of forced closeness. Again, someday, but I'll keep this earmarked!

    I think you do such a great job with the writing advice - I'm a writer and all I could tell someone is to -- write! Gee how helpful is that? I know the first rule, but that's it...I think it's because when your grammar(I mean my grammar) is atrocious, you have no cred!

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  7. Yay for #6 - definitely include games. And #9 is so mature and gracious. No use pressuring a sale. If they like you they'll buy the book.
    Great post! :-)

  8. Thanks for such a great list, Charmaine. Although I have one tween novel published and another coming out soon, I haven't ventured into schools yet - this will be very helpful!

  9. Not sure I'd be brave enough to go into the classroom!
    However, I did answer interview questions from a couple classes at one school recently. The teacher read my answers and showed the kids the cover for my third book, and I guess they really enjoyed it.

  10. This was fabulous. I will re-read this. Will be speaking to seniors soon.

    Hugs and chocolate,

  11. Great tips you do so well Charmaine. Hmm. You've gotta have the right novel for the classroom right? I did actually use Alex J's Cassa Star once.

  12. I think classroom visits would be the funnest part, but what great ideas! I had never considered creating educational materials. (Which is ironic, since I teach.) Awesome.

  13. You are just too clever for words (and with them too!) Thanks for this Charmaine. :-D

  14. This is a great resource! Thanks for sharing.

  15. Awesome Idea Charmaine. Just saw this article on the Book Designer's Carnival and didn't realize it was you. Great tips and just what I was looking for for my Alternate history Fantasy!