The Author’s Chair: The Final Step in the Writing Process

Teaching writing skills to students has to do with a lot more than putting words and sentences together. Once students have mastered grammar and narrative writing, they have to learn to present their ideas in front of an audience. Using a technique known as the “Author’s Chair,” students, both young and old, will get the chance to build the courage and confidence to share their ideas with other people.

What is it?

A step in the writing process called the Author’s Chair comes after all writing is done. After all revisions, edits, and rewrites, the writer will have the opportunity to present his or her final draft to an audience. This can happen in writing workshops and classroom settings. This can be conducted with both young and older students.  

What is the Purpose of the Author’s Chair?

Presenting is no less important than the actual writing itself. The Author’s Chair provides a chance for the writer to practice his or her speaking and presentation skills in front of classmates and a teacher.

The Author’s Chair is a good learning opportunity for both the writer and the audience. Hopefully, the writer will learn the importance of delivering a good presentation and how to receive and respond to feedback. The audience will learn to pay attention and give constructive feedback to the writer. It’s a chance to hone thinking skills because the audience will analyze the work presented, articulate their thoughts about what was presented, and share these ideas with the group.

How it Works

The Author’s Chair can be used in the classroom setting, such as in English writing class. The teacher will choose one chair where the presenter will sit and read what they wrote. This chair will be placed in front and at the center; meanwhile, the audience will be seated facing the author’s chair. The audience will listen while the author is presenting. Once the presentation is done, the audience will have the chance to give feedback and ask questions. 

The teacher will facilitate the question-and-answer portion, making sure that there is a free flow of ideas. The teacher may opt to ask probing questions to encourage critical thinking for both author and the audience. The teacher may ask about the author’s thought process or ask the person giving feedback about the basis of the feedback.

Conducting and Author’s Chair Session with Third Graders

The Author’s Chair sessions should be conducted within a reasonable amount of time. This depends on the grade level and the attention span of the students. For third graders, it’s best to have it between 15 to 20 minutes. Older students can last for up to 40 minutes.

I conducted Author’s Chair sessions every day for a week for my small class of 20 students. For a 15 to 20-minute session, I chose 2-3 students to present.

Final Thoughts When it comes to writing, it is not enough for students to learn how to write grammatically correct works that showcase their vocabulary. The Author’s Chair is one activity that can help build on foundational skills of writing and presenting. Teachers can use this as an opportunity to build the skills and confidence level of students.

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