I have only been out of school a few days but I am already thinking about my goal for next year (and for my summer reading activities in August). I want my students to make a connection with authors. They read the books and I honestly don't believe they really think about the person behind the stories. I would love to know how your students digitally connect to authors. Share any authors in particular (especially those who will skype for free) and how your students benefited from the experience.
I, also, need to be better in this area. When we have authors visit in person, it makes a huge impact on the students, and very often on us (adults) as well. I think finding ways to connect with authors as you've described will only strengthen students' experience with text and interaction with it... I know that my first graders are always excited and interested to hear about the life and times of the writers (of stories we read), and they always engage quite well with discussions we have about the world context of the stories (i.e., what was going on in the country, for instance, at the time the story was written, which makes the text even more interesting to the students, I think).
Lisa, I decided I am going to present this topic next week at a PD for my district. Nothing like talking about something that you need to strengthen in your job! I have been researching and I have some great resources to share. I will post next week after I add a few more links. I was amazed at how much info is out there about the authors and insights into their writing ...like...the cover and title of the new Wimpy Kid book is out and oh yes the color....it is brown. I saw the info on Twitter and Facebook. I posted the cover on my library Facebook page/Edmodo page and the kids went crazy!
Here's a resource with some advice and examples.
Kate Messner provides a great list of Authors who Skype with Classes & Book Clubs (for Free!) She also links to blog posts and articles on this page about how to do this effectively.