National Author’s Day
Where did National Author’s Day come from?
Nellie Verne Burt McPherson, president of the Illinois Women’s Club, whilst she was recuperating in the hospital during World War I, wrote a fan letter to the fiction writer Irving Bacheller. She told him how much she enjoyed reading his story Eben Holden’s Last Day A’ Fishin.
Upon receiving her letter, Bacheller sent her an autographed copy of another story. It was then that McPherson realised she would never be able to thank him adequately for his gift. McPherson decided to show her appreciation by submitting an idea for a National Author’s Day to the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. In May of 1929, the club endorsed a resolution for National Author’s Day to be observed honouring American writers. The US Department of Commerce officially began to recognise the holiday in 1949.
Since then, the holiday has acted as a dedicated time in order to honour authors and to show our appreciation for the work that they publish.
A startling study done in 2019 shows that just 26% of under 18’s actually read daily, which is the lowest recorded level since 2005. As well as this, they found that 53% of 5-16 year olds said that they actually enjoyed reading, which again, is the lowest recorded since 2013.
As an avid reader, this statistic was rather worrying, as I always found that being able to sit down and read my favourite book was always the highlight of any day. Many a long journey shortened by getting lost in the pages of Christopher Paolini (Inheritance Cycle), Jeff Kinney (Diary of a Wimpy Kid) and JRR Tolkien (Lord of The Rings, The Hobbit), just to name a few.
Getting Involved with National Author’s Day
For some inspiration on how to hook your pupils into reading, then please have a look at our blog all to do with International Literacy Day– in here I outlined some perfect ways in which to inspire your pupils to read more during school time and hopefully at home as well.
Getting involved with National Author’s Day is incredibly easy. It’s quite simply however you see fit to show your appreciation for your favourite author. For those students who might not have a favourite author- or for those who don’t read books, this would be the perfect opportunity to help those pupils find their feet and maybe discover a new favourite hobby.
Below is just some of the ways that I would recommend showing your appreciation.
Encourage children to read more
Some children might be missing out on possibly one of the most enjoyable hobbies in the world- reading. Bring some of your favourite books in with you one day and introduce them to the class, find some books which have film adaptations and use that as a hook for those students who find it difficult to visualise what they’re reading.
Write a letter to their favourite authors
Another great way to show appreciation is to encourage the children to write a letter to their favourite author. Maybe include a book review that the child wrote about one of the author’ book. See here for our My Book Review worksheet.
Send a photograph and tweet to the author
The most common way that people take part in National Author’s Day is by using #nationalauthorsday on Twitter accompanied by a photo of them reading their favourite book.
Below is just an incredibly small selection of our reading resources, we are constantly adding new resources every week, so keep an eye out here for our resources all about reading.
We hope that these examples have given you some inspiration. Let us know in the comments below how you helped your school celebrate National Author’s Day (they might be added into the topic calendar).