When planning an author study, one of the most important considerations is (of course!) deciding which author to focus on, as your students will be spending a good amount of time getting to know them. While selecting an author who you know already resonates with your students is a great place to start, there are three other key factors that can ensure your students get the most out of their author study.
1. A Variety of Titles
Look for an author who has a variety of titles appropriate for your students’ grade level. This will enable students to easily make comparisons across texts, identify common themes and styles, and determine how an author’s personal experiences may have contributed to their works. Patricia Polacco, for example, was bullied as a child for her dyslexia, and her life experiences have shaped many of her stories.
2. New Genres and Styles
Think about if your students may benefit from exposure to a different genre, author voice, or style. Rick Riordan’s books, for instance, can help older students discover the nuances of fantasy mystery novels, while young readers may learn about new traditions through delightful stories like Bringing in the New Year from Grace Lin.
3. Curriculum Syncing
Finally, determine how a particular author will boost your broader curriculum. If your young learners are exploring spring themes and animals, Gail Gibbon’s collection of nonfiction titles can be a great accompaniment to these lesson plans. For older students exploring more complex topics of natural science, Gary Paulsen’s wilderness-themed novels can help students make deeper connections with nature.
By exploring these collections with your students, you can help build their reading fluency, deepen their understanding of stories, and develop their critical thinking skills.
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