About Me
Fun Facts
My Books
Teaching Activities

Write to Me


Adventures in Rhyme and Rebus Grades K – 1 (45 minutes)

This bulletin board welcomed me to Mauck Elementary, Hillsdale, MI

Picture your students, even your most reluctant readers, interacting with books. Children from the audience act out my stories using props I bring along while I do dramatic readings and show slides of the illustrations. Since a frequent comment is, “Let’s do it again!” your students may even want to collect their own props to extend the role-playing into the classroom.

A first grader acts out The Dress I'll Wear to the Party at Hicks Elementary, Wayne-Westland, MI

“The kids spoke about you for days. The boy who said he’d never met a real author before now has added being one to his list of dreams. You made an impression.”

First Grade Teacher

How Writers Work Grades 2 – 3 (60 minutes)

Do books magically appear on library shelves? What does a writer do if she doesn’t know how to start a story? When your students see story webs, drafts, revisions, and edited manuscripts from my files your students will see that published writers use the same writing processes they practice in their classrooms. Each session includes the reading of a Native American legend from my book, From the Land of the White Birch, acting out one of my picture books, and time for questions from the students.

Jenny has become a special friend since I visited her school in Hillsdale, MI

“Thank you for coming to our school. You have filled my head with stories!”

Lily, Second Grade

Reading to Writing and Back Again Grades 4 – 5 (60 minutes)

If you really want to learn about something, write about it! Slides illuminate my reasons for writing and the research that went into From the Land of the White Birch. Students will see how their teacher working with them is very much like the way an editor works with a writer. They will participate in an activity from my book Liberty and Justice for All, A First Look at Core Democratic Values.

Signing books at the Barry County Young Authors' Festival, Hastings, MI

I learned that not all of the ideas for stories come from the mind of the author. I learned that your friends can give you ideas.

Patrick, Fourth Grade

Writing as a Career Grades 6 – 8 (60 minutes)

Middle-school kids are curious about what it’s like to be a writer.
      “Do you write every day?”
      “How long does it take to write a picture book?”
      “How many revisions do you do?”
      “How does a writer get paid?”
Questions from the audience shape this presentation.

At Marshall Elementary in Byron Center, MI, I visited with Brian, a former student, who is now a teacher.

“It is exciting to see the things you have done. I admire you for it. It was helpful for me to hear how you went about it.”

Sara, Seventh Grade

Other Programs

• Writer in Residence with classroom workshops for all elementary grades
• Bookstore readings
• Library presentations for children and/or adults
• Writer workshops for aspiring authors
• Preschool storytime
• Parent/Family Nights
• Workshops for Teachers of Writing
• Programs tailored for civic or church groups

Fan mail from a Kindergartener at
Parkview Elementary, Wyoming, MI.


• Elementary Teacher: Grades 3-6
• Presenter:
        Michigan Reading Association
        Michigan Association of Media in Education
        Michigan Education Association
        Michigan Council Teachers of English
        Reading Councils
        Society of Children’s Book Writers
             and Illustrators

        Other professional groups
• Fellow: New Jersey Writing Project
• Facilitator: Peninsula Writers Writing Project
    for teachers of writing
• Member: Society of Children’s Book Writers
    and Illustrators

• Regional Advisor: Society of Children’s Book
    Writers and Illustrators, Michigan

• Founding Member: Peninsula Writers

Signing books at the Festival of Faith and
Writing Conference, Grand Rapids, MI

A former elementary teacher, I incorporate ideas relevant to the curriculum at each grade level in presentations that are both entertaining and educational. A day’s visit includes three presentations and book signing. My fee is $600 per day, plus travel expenses. To arrange a visit please contact me:

Shirley Neitzel
5060 Sequoia SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49512
(616) 698-8849