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Fortis Students Enjoy Virtual Author Talk with Cynthia Furlong-Reynolds

Students from all grades and learning models at Fortis Academy enjoyed a “mystery reader surprise” at the end of National Reading Month when local author Cynthia Furlong-Reynolds spoke to students virtually in an “author talk.”

Mrs. Jennifer Mann, library tech specialist at Fortis, set up the virtual author talk as a fun addition to National Reading Month. “We had 150 students in the meeting and several of those were full classes of in-person students on one Google Meet dial-in,” shared Erin Dixon, principal at Fortis. “Mrs. Mann hosted and did a great job introducing the students to Ms. Furlong-Reynolds who then went from there.” 
After hearing about Reynold’s life as an author, students also had a chance to ask questions and interact with the author one-on-one. All grades and learning models of students had the opportunity to participate – either as a class in they were in-person or individually if they are virtual learners. Students’ curiosity was quelled as they asked questions inquiring when she began writing, how many books she’s written, and how “hard” it is to be an author. Students also were anxious to hear Furlong-Reynolds’ favorite part about being an author and what her kids do.
Furlong-Reynolds read an excerpt from one of the books the schools purchased for use in the library. She also spoke about her writing process and shared an analogy about a pencil serving as a magic wand that can make anyone a writer!  “The students connected with this but really enjoyed asking her questions the most!” said Dixon.
This wasn’t the only celebration Fortis students participated in during National Reading Month. Staff worked with students to track reading time and students received rewards such as participating in a beach day and wearing shades for participating.
“We had activities every day to encourage students to read such as reading with your pet, reading a mystery, and reading an e-book to name a few,” said Dixon. “We had students send in pictures of some of their activities and created a reading month picture collage in our main hallway.”
National Reading Month, which takes place annually every March, aims to motivate Americans to read every day.
“Having Ms. Furlong-Reynolds visit our school in such as accessible way, via Google Meet, enabled the students to connect with her even more than in a typical assembly,” reflected Dixon.  “Being able to ask her questions about her process and how they can be authors and lifelong readers is so essential for our students to continue opening their minds to all possibilities for their futures.”