Read aloud time is a common practice in nearly every elementary classroom, but did you know that your read alouds can be more than just story time? Classroom schedules are tight aren’t they? Because time is always an issue, today, I challenge you to take that read aloud time and make it count for more than one purpose. Let’s go a step further. Pull out your pacing guide, look at the writing prompts or types of writing you need to address as well as the comprehension skills your students learn, and carefully map out our year matching these skills to authors whose work will help you get the job done. So…why use author studies?
Why Use Author Studies?
There are many reasons to use author studies in the classroom. Of course teachers will have their favorites, so some coordination may be required in order to prevent duplication, and it should be noted that grade levels should not be limited to chapter books in the upper grades, and picture books in the primary grades. Look carefully at the language used in the books you choose to match the needs of your students.
Reason #1: Exposure to Great Authors
As you choose the authors you wish to highlight, consider authors that will motivate your students. The authors chosen need to have a collection of published books so that your students can select some titles for reading independently. Author studies require lots of reading which provides plenty of opportunities to observe each author’s writing style
Reason #2: Encourages High Level Thinking
With author studies, students think deeply about the author’s craft including language choice such as figurative language and sentence fluency. choice of illustrations, common themes across multiple books, and connections to the author’s own experiences helps students connect with the author’s specific writing style. What better way to see how writing develops?
Reason #3: Book Choices Make Memories
Reason #4: Reading Quality Models Quality
Reason #5: Share Common Experiences as a Class
Are you part of a book club? If so, then you know how things go when you get together with your fellow book club members. You share the parts you love, complain about the parts you hate, and everything in between. Kids need that experience too, and author studies give them a common topic to discuss at recess and around the cafeteria tables.
Reason #6: Helps Students Avoid Reading Ruts
Reason #7: Author Studies Align with Curriculum Needs
An important piece of author studies is researching an author’s life which is a standard for all. Learning how to research is just one skill that can be taught through an author study. Comprehension skills and strategies are easily modeled with Think Aloud, and honestly, an author study does not have to last a month long. One week may be sufficient for some. The time needed depends on the depth of your study.
Reason #8: Author Studies Make Learning Fun and Planning Easier
Author Studies Your Students Will Love
Authors for Kindergarten and First Grade:
Author Studies for Second and Third:
Author Studies for Fourth and Fifth Grades:
As you can tell, I love using author studies with my students. If you are looking for options for tying your writing to them, you might look at The Writing Fix for unique lesson ideas, and of course, there is a multitude of resources available on TPT that will help you weave these authors into your routines.
Which authors do you enjoy sharing with your students? I would love to hear what you love as well as ones your students enjoy. It’s good to include them in your choices too.