The Best Student Assembly Ice Breaker: Bongo Drums!

Calling the school assembly to order…Here’s how I began my upper grade presentation at Northview Elementary School in Manhattan, KS. When 250 students and their teachers gather for an “author assembly,” they are probably not expecting this. I find that this non-verbal way of interacting intrigues the audience and makes them that much more receptive to what I have to say about reading and writing.

Bilingual author intro for Children’s Book Project

Learn more about Author Assemblies

Interview with Mathew Gollub

Robin Hopper, now an elementary school principal, used to host a reading TV show in Merced County, California. Here, “Miss Robin” interviews me about interests that inform my writing—music and foreign languages—as well as childhood experiences.

More about Mathew Gollub

4 Tips for Screen Time Alternatives

What makes different forms of writing unique? The length of the phrases, the attitude, the feel—the same sorts of elements that Video games are fun and convenient. But they can also contribute to shorter attention spans and obesity, something I see in the hundreds of elementary schools I visit. CHECK OUT THESE 4 TIPS for engaging kids with more creative, productive and HEALTHY activities.

Award-winning author, Matthew Gollub, reads Taste of Uncle Snake. A mysterious and captivating tale explaining the origins of lightning. Something unearthly happens when a boy enters a forbidden cave, and no curandero can change him back to what he was.

Matthew Gollub performs a storytelling version of his book, “The Moon Was at a Fiesta” for kindergarten students at Mariposa School in Redlands, CA. Author assemblies introduce students to working authors, storytellers and illustrators. Many schools prepare for such events by reading the author’s works beforehand and creating artwork based on characters from given stories such as this popular tale based on Mexican folklore. The “monigotes” and “papel picado” that adorn the stage in the background are examples of student artwork. The author is playing bongo drums. Students standing to the right of him were selected as volunteers to play percussion instruments.

Teaching parents about reading? Show them this humorous video. Ideal for Spanish-speakers. English-only audiences can enjoy it too by reading along. The sketch addresses common reasons why some parents hesitate reading to their kids: lack of confidence in their own reading ability, fear that their child might grow bored, preference for watching TV, etc. Kiki makes it abundantly clear that it’s the closeness and time together with her parents that count.

I’ve studied and worked in Japan for three years. During part of that time, I lived in a Shinto shrine—a sort of temple—where I interned with a troupe of taiko drummers. Here is a demonstration of some of the rhythms I learned. The mask I’m wearing was made by my sister, artist Joan Gollub. It was made to loosely resemble an oni, the sort of Japanese goblins that appear in one of my books.

Grab your kids or students and get ready to move! “Gobble, Quack, Moon,” is the rockin’ story of Katie the Cow. Winner of a prestigious Benjamin Franklin Award, this animal story with audio is great for pre-K through 2nd grade. Illustrated by Judy Love, written and narrated by yours truly. Just press play and enjoy this slightly shortened version of the story.