Author study ideas
[The objective would be for students to use their library skills to find
and focus on the works of one author. There are endless possibilities at
various developmental levels for reinforcement of standards and objectives
in many content areas. At the very least, studying one author gives students
an opportunity to think of themselves as authors and to learn what writers
do and to provide individual choices through a wide range of readabilities.]
To listen to the how-to presentation of this lesson,
Find an author who has a least 3 books in this library (library and research
Skim, scan, read the books with a partner or group of three.
Things to look at:
Characters, copyright, sequence, time, place, illustrator’s point of view,
Do the illustrations support the author’s story or does the illustrator
have his/her own story to tell?
Things to look for:
Storyline, message, themes, Lifeskills, lessons
Who the characters are – type, same throughout all the books?
Similarities and differences
Things to do:
Focus on reading
Explore, discover, compare/contrast,
Check the encyclopedia for biographical information on the author.
Reinforce, explicitly teach, reading skills
Open ended questions to guide the experience:
What type of books does this author write?
Who are the characters? Are the main characters the same or different in
the books that you found/read?
Is the setting similar in all or some of the books? If so, why do you think
the author chose this particular setting?
Are there particular messages that the author wants to voice?
Are the characters similar? Compare and contrast the main characters in
2 of the books (short stories).
If you put this author’s books in chronological order by copyright date,
does a pattern emerge? If so, how might you characterize this author’s
writing development or sequence?
Use an encyclopedia to look up information about the author, or see if
there is a biography (or auto biography) for this author. What in the author’s
life might have influenced his or her writing? What was happening historically
in the author’s home country at the time of his/her major works?
Did the author publish works in more than one genre?
What do the author’s books tell you about the author’s culture?
Extension ideas by grade level band:
Primary + grades
Illustrations - support of character development
Using cloze passages for emergent literacy/vocabulary
Problem solving and safety
Examine descriptive language used by author to have the reader visualize
Point of view – does the author tell the story through a narrator, one
Extend the author study concepts to genre studies
Folk tales and tall tales
Cross cultural fairy tales
Critical thinking skills
Use technology to research your author on the World Wide Web
teachers can also use this type of study concept to examine
lyrics of song writers such as Oscar Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim; or lyrics
in categories of songs, show tunes, spirituals, hymns, patriotic songs,
Middle School to High School and Adult
Author’s bias – how personal views influence approach to content
Research and analysis
Literature concepts; symbolism, analogy, alliterations, anthropomorphism
Cultural and historical influences on literature
Author’s craft, elements of style
Web links to authors and other ideas
|Children’s picture book authors
Berenstein, Stan & Jan
Milne, A. A.
Rey, H. A. & Margret
Scieszka, Jon & Smith, Lane
Suess, Dr. (Geisel, Theodore)
Van Allsburg, Chris
|Short stories, short novelists
George, Jean Craighead
Lewis, C. S.
Rowling, J. K.
Warner, Gertrude Chandler
Wilder, Laura Ingalls
Poe, Edgar Allen
Stevenson, Robert Louis
Rey’s Curious George
A list of authors through this writer’s workshop page:
Yahooligans very extensive list: