Who's Your Favorite Author?
- Grades: PreK–K
- Unit Plan:
- Sort books from various authors.
- Compare various authors and their books.
- Choose their favorite author.
- Observe and synthesize themes and patterns in various books.
- Describe those themes and patterns through drawing and writing.
- Various books of selected authors (please see my booklist for ideas)
- Baskets or containers for the collected books
- Authors' names on cards or labels
- Chart paper
- Colored markers
- Writing/drawing paper
- Pencils, colored pens, or pencils
- Book binding materials or stapler
Set Up and Prepare
- Decide which authors to study. I have used up to six of my students' favorite authors. Choose authors that your students are familiar with from multiple readings throughout the year.
- Gather at least three to five books from each author. Providing multiple copies of a favorite book is always a good idea.
- Label baskets or containers with the names of the authors.
- If you wish, you may want to encourage students to only read books by the authors you choose. You may want to put away all other books until the author study is complete.
Step 1: Before the students come in, set out the books from the favorite authors. Show the students the baskets with the authors' name on them. Ask students if they can tell you the names written on the baskets. Read the names together. Ask the students if they know who these people are. Remind them that these are some of the authors we have been reading all year long.
Step 2: Show the students that there are books written by these authors throughout the room. Show students where the author's name is on one of the books. Ask a small group of students at a time to gather some of the books and help you place them in the correct baskets. Continue until all the books have been organized.
Step 3: Show the students the books that are in each basket, indicating the title and the author. As you introduce each basket, write the author's name on the chart paper, using a different color to distinguish them. Tell the students that today you would like them to choose an author they like and to take a close look at her or his books. Form small groups once students have chosen an author to study.
Step 4: With their group, tell students to observe what is similar about the books written by their author. Model by using one of the baskets. For example, Angela Johnson writes about families. Eric Carle writes about insects and animals. Donald Crews has words that show action and he features transportation. Gail Gibbons writes nonfiction books.
Step 5: Set the baskets around the room and invite the groups to sit at a table with a basket of books written by the author they like. Tell the students that if a basket already has four students, then they need to find another basket at which to sit. Circulate around the room as students talk about the books. Remember, these are all books with which students are familiar.
Step 6: After a few minutes, gather the students back together. Refer students back to the author chart. Ask each group to share how the author's books were similar. Were there patterns that he or she used? What kind of characters or setting did the author tend to use? Were the illustrations the same and how? Chart all responses and discuss.
Step 1: Set out the author baskets again. Review the chart that the class generated on Day 1. Tell them that today they are going to draw pictures from one or more books by their chosen author and write about the author's style or the way he or she writes a story. Model an example using the chart. Invite students to go back, look through their books, and then draw and write about how the author tells the story. Tell them to be sure and notice the similarities that were discussed on the author chart.
Step 2: As students are ready to begin writing, distribute paper and writing tools. Encourage students to draw pictures from multiple books and articulate orally what they would like to say about how the author tells the story before they begin writing.
Step 3: When students are finished, gather them back together and ask them to share their pictures and writing.
Step 1: Repeat steps 1-3 from Day 2, encouraging students to select a different author so they become familiar with other authors and their writing styles.
Step 2: Collect student illustrations and narratives from the same favorite author and bind or staple them together to make a favorite author book for the class library.
Supporting All Learners
Take dictation or write translations for students that are not yet writing using conventional forms.
Have students write a letter to their favorite author, sharing what they liked about the selected book. Use the narratives the children wrote in this lesson to create the letter. Help the children by addressing envelopes to the author (usually through the publisher) and take the letters to a mailbox or post office.
Assess Students: Observe whether or not students can locate the author's name on books and how they participate in the class discussion. Notice how they observe and synthesize the themes or patterns in the author's books and how they demonstrate that through drawing and writing. Note sound/symbol connections and letter, word, and sentence formation.
Invite students to ask their parents about their favorite authors when they were a child or as an adult.
- Sort books by author.
- Draw and write about a favorite author's style.
- Did the students identify the author?
- Did they participate in sorting books by author?
- Were the students able to tell, draw, and write about their chosen author's style?
- Was there enough time for students to be successful?
- What would I do differently next time?
Observe whether or not students can locate the author's name on books and how they participate in the class discussion. Notice how they observe and synthesize the themes or patterns in the authors' books and how they demonstrate that through drawing and writing. Note sound/symbol connections and letter, word, and sentence formation.