Why Authorfy Is My New Favourite Literacy Tool

Lucas Maxwell


Lucas Maxwell has been working with youth in libraries for over fifteen years. Originally from Nova Scotia, Canada, he's been a high school librarian in London, UK for over a decade. In 2017 he won the UK's School Librarian of the Year award and in 2022 he was named the UK Literacy Association's Reading For Pleasure Teacher Champion. He loves Dungeons & Dragons and is the author of Let's Roll: A Guide for Setting up Tabletop Roleplaying Games in Your School or Public Library. You can follow him on Twitter and on his blog.

I want to preface this article by saying that I don’t work for Authorfy or get paid by them to promote them in any way. I simply love their program and use it on a weekly basis. My goal is to get other librarians and educators out there to be aware of it.

AuthorfyIn the school library I manage, I’m always trying to get students engaged in reading. I’m also very interested in trying out new technologies and tools. When another librarian told me about Authorfy, I was hooked almost immediately.

Authorfy provides a series of masterclasses starring authors who discuss their novels and the topics surrounding them. They talk about the inspiration behind it, how they developed their characters, read extracts and a lot more. One of my favourite aspects of the program are the writing challenges.

I recently used the 13 Storey Treehouse videos to get 11-year-old students, who are typically very reluctant to engage in reading, engrossed in the provided reading challenge and, even better, borrowing the books in the series. You can read more about that particular library lesson here.

Authorfy also provides reading extracts and resources to download packed full of great activities around each book.

In the past I have used Authorfy as a powerful tool to debunk myths that exist here in the UK about the refugee crisis.

The Boy At the Back of the ClassI recently used the videos on Empathy Day to discuss Onjali Q. Rauf’s amazing The Boy At the Back of the Class. When we were finished learning about the book and about refugees and what they endure on a daily basis, I had the students conduct research on Syria, the country where the Ahmet, a character from the novel, was from.

We learned a lot about the country and debunked a lot of myths about the refugee crisis in general. It gets students talking and interested in books that they might not have been aware of previously.

With a growing archive of videos, there are tons of ways to get students to interact with a large variety of novels. For those of us on a limited budget or who are in a location where authors don’t travel to consistently, Authorfy is a really brilliant way to bring authors into the library or classroom.