Author Studies: The Why and How of It

 

Author Studies: The Why and How of It

 

When I find an author I really like, I tend to read all the books I can written by that author. Inevitably, I start to think about the books and compare and contrast them. I also think about the author: why he/she chose the characters and why specific topics/plot lines were chosen.

Kids will often do the same, or if they don’t, can be encouraged to, through carefully done (that is, fun) author studies. Today’s post is all about the whys and hows of author studies. Much of this information is designed for the classroom, but some can be adapted to be used at home.

 

Why Do an Author Study?

Reading is all about making connections. Reading multiple books by a favorite author can lead to a wonderful connection. Picture book authors (such as Oliver Jeffers—see Monday’s post) give kids lots to sink their teeth into: carefully constructed stories with illustrations that make you want to linger. Reading multiple books by the same author invites a stronger connection.

Authors often carry a similar style from book to book. Picking up on and becoming familiar with an author’s style goes far toward promoting fluency.

Author studies encourage kids to find out more about their favorite authors. Knowing more about authors helps kids see them as real and having their own ways of getting ideas and stories across. Seeing how authors work can lead to kids seeing themselves as authors with their own ways of getting ideas and stories across.

There are lots of other reasons to do author studies. Check out the Author Study Resources links below to find more reasons.

 

How to Do an Author Study

Choose an author (see Research the Author links below for ideas)

Read and respond to several of author’s books:

  • engage in small group or class discussions
  • give oral reports
  • write reports or complete a graphic organizer
  • make an author trivia game
  • act out favorite scenes
  • debate which is an author’s best book
  • check out more ideas in the Author Study Resources links below

Research the author(s), and illustrator(s) (see Research the Author links below for ideas)

Do a Project

  • create a poster of favorite book(s)
  • create an author timeline
  • reproduce scenes from one or more of the books with clay, LEGOS, toy figures…
  • write a sequel to one of the books
  • check out more ideas in the Author Study Resources links below

IMPORTANT: The whole point of author studies is to make reading fun and help kids make connections to books and authors. So…keep it fun!

 

Author Study Resources

The Author Study Toolkit

from Reading Rockets 

Author Study Motivates Kids to Learn and Grow as Readers

from Daily Teaching Tools

Amazing Author Studies!

from Reading. Writing. Thinking. Sharing.

Author Unit Activities

from InTime 

 

Research the Author

Check out these sites for research resources:

Authors & Illustrators on the Web

from The Children’s Literature Web Guide 

Authors and Illustrators

from Scholastic 

Author Biography and Autobiography Page

from Rutgers University School of Communication and Information 

 

Oliver Jeffers

Thinking about doing an author study on Oliver Jeffers? Excellent choice! Here are a few resources:

Oliver Jeffer’s Website

All about Jeffers, his books, his paintings, and more

Oliver Jeffers Author Study

from Jehan Husain (on Prezi)

An Oliver Jeffers infographic

Oliver Jeffers – Children’s Author

from LoveReading4Kids

Information about Jeffers and his books

Breathe Life in to Literacy with Oliver Jeffers

from Kickin’ It in Kindergarten 

Information from a Kindergarten teacher on how her class did an Oliver Jeffers author study

 

What author studies have you been involved with? Write about them in the Comments Box!

Gail

 

 

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