All About Those Author Studies

21 October 2015 / Leave a Comment
Hands down, my most favorite, absolutely wonderful time in the classroom is spent reading books aloud to the kids and learning about new authors. There is something magical that happens when you reach *that* point in the book, the kids are on the edge of their seats (or carpet squares), and the anticipation is just palpable. I live for this stuff.

Who are your top 5 authors?
If I had to choose, mine would be (in no particular order):
1. Tomie dePaola
2. Leo Lionni
3. Patricia Polacco
4. Kevin Henkes
5. Annnnd Dr. Seuss is growing on me (more about my love/hate relationship with him come March)

I think one of the reasons I enjoy author study so much is because we have to make time for it. In the age of testing and standards, things like author studies are not exactly put on a pedestal, yet they are so so so important still, and because of this, we must carve out special time into our already-packed schedule.

My favorite time to do read-aloud/author study is right after lunch and recess and a wind-down/re-grouping time before more intensive instruction resumes. The kids are relaxed and receptive, and they truly look forward to this time.

We begin each month by introducing the new author. Then, we spend the next few days reading some of the most well-loved books by this author. This really piques the students' interest and they become emotionally invested in the characters and ways of the author.

Mid-month, we really dive into learning about the author--his or her childhood, interesting facts, current whereabouts--because the students truly care about the author at this point.
This is also around the time I weave our author studies into everyday activities, particularly stations. One of the kids' favorite stations (and mine---super easy!!) is the author station. I leave out a basket of the author's books, usually along with some reading buddies, and the kids go to town. These are also accompanied by some author study materials too, depending on the day and learning goal. Easy peasy.

I also put out papers that go along with various books as well. For example...

Finally, as the month winds down, we have an author celebration of sorts. This is usually some sort of interactive project--usually art, because Lord knows we aren't given much time for these either!--where the kids get to be the author in some way, shape, or form. This could also be a celebration of a specific book or character--it all depends! Here are two of my favorites:


THEN, we vote. Oh my, do we vote. I line each book up on the carpet and label each book with a sticky note with a number. This usually amounts to 10-20 books, depending on the author. Each student takes a book walk *carefully* through the books and on a scrap of paper, writes down the number of his or her two favorite books. The votes are then tallied together as a class, which is about too much excitement for us to handle! Things get pretty rowdy! This is also a good time to practice tally marks and data collection :)

Then, we begin again. This is the good stuff, people, I'm tellin ya. How do you celebrate authors in your classroom?

Click here to view my Tomie dePaola pack and here to view my Leo Lionni pack. Or, click HERE to view my ENTIRE author study bundle of 13 different authors! Happy studying!


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