Friday, May 10, 2013

Author Study for Children

Author Study

One of our most favorite recent activities has been an author study that the kids and I have been doing.  I purchased the author study folders here, from Teachers Pay Teachers (which is an awesome website!), but you could also make your own author study as well.

Here is how to do your own author study:

1) Buy some folders (3 for a buck at the Dollar Tree) and three baskets.

2) Print off the author study pages (or make your own) and glue them onto folders.

3) Choose three authors to study first.  Take a trip to the local library and check out a bunch of books by each of your three authors.  Place the books by each author in a basket, and set the author folder in the front of the basket.

4) Over the next week or two, read through all your stories.  If you'd like, answer the questions about what the different books have on the author folder.  We also like to write down inside the folder which story is each of our favorites.  You can also look up info about the author, or read the book jackets.

5) When you are ready, return the first three batches of books, and choose three more authors to study.

Things I love about this:

1) My kids confidently walk into the library and declare "we are looking for books by Jack Prelutsky!"  or Ezra Jack Keats, or Mo Willems, or Jan Brett.  The authors are becoming familiar friends, and they can recognize them by their pictures as well as by their books.  Everyone who visits our home is immediately introduced to our current authors.

2) They are beginning to recognize different styles of writing and illustrating.  They even pointed out that one of Jan Brett's books, Hedgie Blasts Off, is a very different style from her other books-but it still has her favorite character, the hedgehog.

3) We are learning to find books in the library.  It leads to great discussions on how libraries are organized, how to alphabetize, and why some books are in the picture book section, and others are in nonfiction, or the poetry section.

4) The kids have started suggesting other authors that we SIMPLY MUST STUDY.  The creator of the folders includes blank pages so that when we run out of authors, we can make studies for other authors we like.

5) I have found books I have never read before (and I am a Kg teacher by trade- I have read a lot of kids books!).  There are books by some of my favorite authors that I never knew about!

6) My kids know a bunch of books and authors now, so when they are in the library, they have books to look for other than princess books and other television characters.  They still like those books too, but they make up much less of our checkout pile now that we know more authors.

7) The author study has led us down different paths- we did art projects in the style of Eric Carle.  We gardened along with Lois Ehlert.  Mo Willems had us acting out his Knuffle Bunny stories as a play.  It is a great starting point for lots of fun.

This was really easy to put together, and we have gotten hours and hours of learning and enjoyment out of it...and we're not done yet.  I hope you'll join us and try out an author study sometime!

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