Author studies ignite learning in the classroom! plan your author study calendar today!
Children’s interest in reading is stimulated when they are made aware of the people behind a book's creation: the authors, illustrators, and translators.
Author studies provide us with the opportunity to give the gift of the BEST books. Read on to discover just why you need to plan out your author study calendar. This DONE FOR YOU guide will outline the year and simplify your planning.
Take a peek at what you'll get
Teachers love things done for them, right? This yearly planner takes the guesswork out of author study planning.
Each grade is mapped out for a new featured author each month as well as recommended titles. You'll even find a few resources linked to some of the titles.
You do not have to worry about duplicating another grade level's authors or lists. Each grade level has a list chosen to match it's approximate reading level and interests.
I have included both color and black and white for printing. Open the PDF to access the links I've included. There are teaching resources that go with each title. Some are FREE, while others are paid. You'll even find DONE FOR YOU author study links too.
Even if you and your team prefer one author over another, I hope you'll enjoy having a go-to list of titles. You can expose your students to the BEST literature. Feature these books as exemplars for writing, comprehension skills, and more!
need more evidence on why you need to use author studies? Check these out...
author studies make kids want to read more!
Do you recall your favorite books from elementary school? Chances are pretty good that you remember the special connection to who shared them with you just as much as you remember the book itself. However, these special connections can entice readers to look for more by the author. When I share my favorite Patricia Polacco books as mentor texts, my students race to the Patricia Polacco section of the library to find more. Then, as students finish the books, they talk about them. Guess what the result is? Yes, they want more! But why else should we consider using author studies in our classrooms?
Author Studies provide access to great literature
Another reason to use author studies with your students is for the quality of literature. Not all authors are equal, so carefully selecting authors FOR YOUR GRADE LEVEL is important. Most choose a target age or audience for the books they write. THIS POST gives you a starting list and many more reasons to use author studies. For class read alouds, you might choose books just slightly above your grade level in order to increase exposure to new vocabulary words.
authors for the k/1 crowd
For the k/1 crowd, you might look for authors that write about relatable themes. In my experience working with K/1 teachers, thematic teaching worked VERY well. You can pull in themed poetry, tie in nonfiction, and use reader’s theater scripts to build skills.
For this age, Eric Carle is a favorite because of his insect books. You might also enjoy Lois Ehlert’s books too and compare them. Arnold Lobel’s classic Frog and Toad series make my favorites list too because the vocabulary is controlled helping students feel success with their first chapter books.
Middle grade authors
This group is transitioning to chapter books, but for author studies, I suggest picture books. Why? They are rich in vocabulary and short enough to use for your lessons. I recommend Kevin Henkes, Leo Lionni, and Karma Wilson for second grade. For third grade, I love Mem Fox, Tomie dePaola, and Jan Brett. I know some primary teachers use Jan Brett’s books, but the reading levels are more appropriate for third and even fourth.
With all of the selected authors and titles, I encourage you to use them as mentor texts for author’s craft, comprehension skills, and writing. You are sure to find a plethora of writing topics you can tie to each book.
Upper Elementary authors
Upper elementary students are NOT too old for picture books! Patricia Polacco has enriched many lives with her themes and wonderful writing, and she’s truly my favorite for this range. I also LOVE Chris VanAllsburg, William Steig, Cynthia Rylant, and Eve Bunting for reading and writing mentor text lessons.
Because it’s important to include a variety of genres in your reading and writing instruction, I featured a few nonfiction authors as well as poets. With fictional texts, I recommend pairing with related nonfiction in order to work on fiction and nonfiction skills. You’re sure to love the titles and find many ways to showcase them.
author studies bring students together
In addition to building excitement and exposure to great literature, author students unite your students with a shared experience. Students get the opportunity to talk about the wonderful books they’ve enjoyed, the themes, the author’s writing style (which we hope they copy) and so much more. Author students are also so much fun for teachers. You get to share all of your favorites. In fact, many teachers comment that they prefer author studies over the reading textbook any day of the week.