Author’s craft is an important reading skill, and one of the best ways to teach it is with quality literature and the think aloud process. For struggling readers or all readers for that matter, the think aloud process demonstrates with text evidence what students should pay attention to as they read. In this author’s craft lesson, students learn with the examples provided what author’s craft means. The author’s choices of words, characters, actions, and setting all come together to showcase the author’s craft.
This lesson features the book, Nerdy Birdy by Aaron Reynolds. The gist of the story is that Nerdy Bird is not like the “cool” birds. He likes video games, playing Wormcraft, and reading. He is feeling excluded when he discovers that there are other nerdy birds just like him.
I love the author’s message in this book. Every child needs to hear it and live it. It is, “Be Yourself, Treat Others with Respect, and Never Exclude Others.” Aaron Reynolds uses author’s craft to carry these themes throughout the plot.
Introducing author’s craft with Nerdy Birdy
To begin this lesson, I planned a schema builder on finding friends. Kids may be surprised to see how much they have in common with each other, and this is the starting point of friendship. By using this schema builder, students will connect with Nerdy Bird and better understand the author’s message. Once this part is complete, it’s time to instroduce the story vocabulary and directly teach author’s craft “look fors”. I used an anchor chart for this, and you can project it for group discussion. A printable copy can be placed in your student’s language arts notebooks.
Explaining and Practicing Author’s Craft
For the “we do” part of this lesson, I suggest that you share the book with stopping points for discussion. If you have an “Elmo” that you can project the book, that would work well as there is reference to the text features of the book. However, you can also walk around with the book or secure multiple copies for small group work. During reading, students will share their thoughts on word choice, illustrations, structure, theme, and connections which all contribute to the author’s craft for the book.
going beyond author’s craft in Nerdy Birdy
Finally, as a summarizer for the lesson, I am used a response page for my students to explain the main idea of the story and evidence. With this part, you can focus on the author’s message and theme as well.
To give you a little background on this book, I am including an interview with the author about the book. You will see why I love it so much. It is sure to be a classic like Stellaluna and Owl Moon.
author’s craft by aaron reynolds
To download the freebie for this book, sign up below to join my email list.
The full unit includes these pages and more for a total of 39 in all.
other posts you might like:
- 9 AWESOME MENTOR TEXTS FOR TEACHING KIDS TO MAKE PREDICTIONS
- 5 AMAZING MENTOR TEXTS FOR TEACHING PERSEVERANCE
- TEACHING WITH MENTOR TEXTS IN FIVE EASY STEPS
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This Post Has 11 Comments
What a CUTE book! Thank you so much for organizing this, Carla. It's AWESOME!
I don't know this book, but can't wait to get it now! As usual, you have inspired me!
You're welcome, Julie! Thanks for joining in!!
Ah…you will love it! Seriously a must buy! Reminds me a little of Scaredy Squirrel as far as the layout on the pages, but I love the analogies in it. I used it with my tutoring student Thursday, and she totally got the connection which was fun.
I've never heard of this book – it sounds great! Great post and lesson as always!
OH man, Jenn! It is awesome! It's a new book. I think it was published within the last year. Definitely check it out!
I need to get this book!! Thank you!
You're welcome and yes, you need to get this book! If you like Scaredy Squirrel, you'll like this one except it's got kind of a deep meaning.
You know, I have never read this book! I need to take a look at it! I like the idea of the author's craft "look fors!"
Thank you! I hope you like it. You might have to look at your local library as our school library didn't have it yet. It was published within the last year.
Holy moley – how cute is this book!?!?!? I love the freebies you shared! Can't wait to use the "find a friend" activity with my cuties!! Ordered and on the way to my school! 🙂