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Why every author needs lesson plans

Updated: Jan 16, 2023

Source Image: Shermaine Perry-Knights Presentation

Lesson plans help you to speak the language of education. You can easily share the book theme and how readers will experience it. And that means you can readily, easily, and clearly communicate the message the obvious and hidden messages in the book in a written format.

Let's discuss why you should create at least two (2) lesson plans for your book. My name is Shermaine Perry-Knights and transforming your books into meaningful and engaging educational content is my sweet spot.

I am a TedX speaker, publisher, and author that holds several professional certifications in learning development, including lesson planning, program evaluation, and curriculum development.

Regardless of how many books you sell, every potential customer will ask the same question. What is it about? What's in it for me? How is it going to benefit me?

You take a deep breath and give the best answer, make the sale, and forgot what you said. It happens… we are all human! It's so much easier to write it all down.

Now imagine that you finally build the confidence to approach a school official or librarian. You ask them to buy it because the kids will love it. And then there's a blank stare. That person asks "what's different about this book, because we have lots of books? What age group and education standards is it for?" You take another deep breath and say that it's for all ages. And at that moment, you lost their interest and a sale.

Your book is not for everyone. That's hard to read but it is true!

Lesson plans are one way to help others understand the value of your book for specific ages. It aligns your book with education standards… and that's what school officials, librarians, bookkeepers (professionals that handle the money at schools), and budget analysts want to hear!

Now let's talk about why schools prefer books with lesson plans, why you need them, and what the experts say about them.

More importantly, I will share sample lesson plans. The goal is to empower you with information.

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I admire the curiosity and creativity of children. Do you remember what it felt like? Books allow us to be creative and to touch so many people. What if your book inspired the next engineer, doctor, meteorologist, or cybersecurity expert? What if the lesson plans that were created for your book inspired the next classroom of dreamers? What if it made them fall in love with reading or became the catalyst for them to do something great?

The goal is to create lesson plans so that readers connect with your book and never forget it. The direct result is for teachers to see the educational value that your books add to the classroom. Naturally, school districts will want this in every school and that means bulk orders.

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So why do schools prefer books with lesson plans? Teachers have lesson plans and often take a lot of time to create their own lesson plans for required reading. Teachers have books to read for story time and assignments, and a media center in most schools, but there are no specific books with lesson plans aligned to the curriculum for specific grade levels.

Especially not for the books that students want to read.

Ultimately, there's a gap… and creating lesson plans for your books fills the gap. This solves a problem for schools and libraries. School administrators can easily understand how and why your book belongs in the classroom when you have a lesson plan that connects with the book. Anything else just sounds like "buy my book… because I need sales."

Let's change the conversation and approach to sales. Teachers will appreciate having those classroom-specific activities and the fact that your book creates an experience for students. You will save teachers time and energy in creating a lesson plan, if you already have one for the book. That is a win-win, right? When the lesson plan is connected to the age-appropriate grade levels, it makes you look like a

professional. Your lesson plan may become a substitute lesson on Friday or a last-minute change just because teachers like lives too. You can take something off the teacher's plate and that is why schools want books with lesson plans. Why not make it easier for schools to incorporate your books into the classroom?

Want a professional to help create those lesson plans? Activity pages are nice but they are not enough to convince schools and organizations that your book is worth buying. The globally dispersed team at Amazingly Published is here to help. Our instructional designers and teachers are ready to create lesson plans and educational workbooks for your picture books, faith-based books, novels, journals, cookbooks, coloring books, journals, and every type of book that you can name! Click here to get started!

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Why every author needs lesson plans

I tell every author that they need lesson plans. Everything from faith-based books to cookbooks, journals, comic books, you name it. You gotta have that. Why? Three reasons here.

1.) It allows you to speak the language of education.

Ever speak with a doctor during your appointment and feel confused by the medical terms used? Well, that is the industry standard language for medical professionals. The rest of us are listening and waiting to hear words that resonate with us… and wondering why the doctor doesn't say it in a way I can understand. Many won't ask any questions for fear of sounding silly. The results are a disconnect in terms of communication.

Well, the same thing happens when authors try to get their books into school districts. There's a disconnect and having a lesson plan can help you better connect with educational professionals. Lesson plans fill the gap because it helps you to align the book with the educational standards, whether it's the state standards or the national education standards. Now that you have access to the industry standard language, you can feel empowered in a conversation with education professionals. It's going to strengthen your chance of making the sale, but more importantly, your book will be implemented in the classroom.

Because we, as authors, want the sale, we focus too much on that. Best practices in sales indicate that focusing on how and why your product solves a problem and adds value is a more effective strategy. Want to know how to do this? Start by changing the words that you use when describing your book. An engaging lesson plan gives you the right words. It highlights how and why your book maximizes the learning environment. People can easily see the value in it, and of course, you instantly earn credibility with administrators.

I believe in taking the road less traveled and not doing what everyone else is doing. Everybody's not going to create a lesson plan for their book. Everybody does understand what a lesson plan is, nor do they see the value in having them for their books. Let's talk about what it is and what it is not.

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The bottom line is teachers have a love-hate relationship with lesson plans. Yes, I said it. I remember creating lesson plans. Teachers have great intentions, but a lot of times, we miss opportunities to design lesson plans that allow students to make real-world connections with the text. Existing lesson plans have gaps in what it's going to spark the creative juices of the students. Having that lesson plan for your book takes one thing off their plate. You encourage teachers and school leaders to dive into the book. So let your creative juices flow and create something that ensures that educational standards are met and that students have a memorable experience with your book. That is the key to unlocking bulk sales with schools.

You want to enhance the learning, and have a little fun, right? That is the purpose of writing and creating. So someone can enjoy it beyond just a one-time read-aloud. Your lesson plans add fresh content to the classroom, spark new activities, and change the way that school districts and libraries view and interact with authors.

2.) You can use lesson plans to help build workshops.

A meaningful lesson plan can double as a workshop. Let's say you want to go in and talk to a parent resource group. You can use these same activities and talk with them, right? Lesson plans are not only for children's books or an audience of children only. Let's look at what it is and what it is not.

The team at Amazingly Published builds lesson plans around your entire book. This creates the foundation for a workshop. Every meaningful lesson plan has 7 components.

Source Image: Shermaine Perry-Knights Presentation

Don't worry, I'm going to help you understand how to fill the gaps. The first thing we're going to look at is a learning objective. What, will they be able to do at the end of this lesson or the end of your book, right? What should they be able to do? Should they be able to express empathy, and demonstrate empathy? Should they be able to understand and connect with the concept of love or display empathy after reading your book?

Now for education standards. We're all going to quickly look at Common Core and I'm not going to bog you down with it. There are many different education standards including the Casel 5 framework that supports social-emotional learning. If you want to know more about those education standards and others, grab this resource Lesson Plans Unlocked.

Each lesson plan takes time. Most teachers spend 20 minutes on a classroom activity, and no more than an hour. Activities require a materials list. Do the learners need paper, scissors, sticky notes, or pencils? What worksheets or handouts can support the learning? Create a materials list for your specific activity and lesson plan. The next component is about understanding the process. How will the learning occur? And then the actual activity and then the assessment. An assessment allows us to measure the learning. It is simply a way for teachers to ask learners to show or share to demonstrate that they understood what we wanted them to understand in this lesson.

This could be something as simple as having reflection questions or group discussions after reading your book. When submitting a workshop proposal, you will always see a question about the level of engagement, unique activities, and how your session will transform attendees. This is your opportunity to use the lesson plan to answer those questions.

3.) Lesson plans help students learn new words, connect with concepts, and understand why things occur.

Source Image: Shermaine Perry-Knights Presentation

Teachers and parents are always trying to help students learn new words, help them connect with concepts, and understand why things occur. Ask yourself, "do I want readers to connect with emotions or just the plot of my story altogether?" Our team dissects books to find themes and concepts. After aligning each to an age-appropriate audience and education standards to create lesson plans that promote life skills and a love of learning.

Something new could be helping students learn how to create a secure password. We recently did that in a lesson plan for a book called "Oh No Hacked Again" by Zinet Kemal. Check out the lesson plan here. Lesson plan example

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Help them learn the appropriate vocabulary around passwords, something like that. The writing skills, maybe they can connect with how they're feeling so that they can be proactive instead of a reactive to prevent online hacking. Then we created another activity to make them move around. Remember, schools are always focused on securing student data and using technology. This lesson continues to be a huge hit with school districts and community leaders.

Below is another sample lesson that focuses on helping students learn new words and concepts.

Source Image: Shermaine Perry-Knights Presentation

This one was designed for pre-K and kindergarten. The book is essentially about a frog who wants to fly and be a butterfly and then accepts that he is a frog. Just a beautiful concept of helping kids understand that they should follow their dreams and love themselves. But what happens when your book is geared toward a younger audience than you imagine? When targeting even younger groups, a lesson plan like the one above could be appropriate for students to understand how to recognize letters and use sensory bins to spell words. Perhaps pick a science activity for an older group and then maybe the language building for the younger group.

You would want a lesson plan that could speak to the older children and the younger children. In this one, because this book is really for pre-K, and kindergarten, the team did not focus on science, math, or technology. The author wanted students to identify their letters and explore different vocabulary cards. The story is beautiful about loving yourself and all that kind of stuff. One goal is to help students make predictions about a story. A simple lesson plan can include holding up the cover and allowing students to look at it and say what they think it is. Each activity should help students connect with the text and learn new things in the lesson plan, right? Depending on the age group, we shift the activity to spark curiosity and hold their attention. The lesson above has tiles to spell different words. You can see the F, R, O, and the G for the frog. Students will have worksheets to fill in and color the letters as the teacher says each letter.

Now that's letter recognition! Another option is for the teacher to have students put the tiles in the correct order based off of what is shown on the board.

Source Image: Shermaine Perry-Knights Presentation

If you want to use your book as an educational tool, then you will absolutely need to create a lesson plan. There is no way around it. But before you start writing lesson plans from A to Z, make sure you spend some time defining the scope of your lessons. It won't do you any good to write lesson plans for a book if the scope is too far off base.

It doesn't have to be a daunting task! Your lesson plan can start with as few as three key points. Also, note that one lesson plan does not fit every audience. Having multiple plans will help reach various audiences. Finally, make sure you get feedback from other teachers and mentors before you unveil your lessons to your students or colleagues.

The purpose of this blog is to introduce you to the concept of creating your own lesson plans. Strongly consider hiring the team at Amazingly Published to create your lesson plans! To learn more about our packages, visit our website.

Grab the Lesson Plans Unlocked resource to create your own today.

Keep an eye out for our next blog post!

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