Completing an author study is a great opportunity to dig deeper into the books your child is reading. An author study involves reading several books by the same author and then learning about the author’s life as well. It is a little more work than just letting your children read, but the benefits are worth the extra work.
Choose an Author
While their are thousands of children’s book authors that you could choose from, you may want to stick to authors that fall with in a certain set of guidelines to get the most out of your study.
- Multiple books – choose an author who has written at least four books if not more. (Your study will also be richer if the books are not just one big series.)
- Correct reading level – choose an author whose books are at or below your child’s current reading level. You want your child to easily be able to understand what the author is trying to teach in each book without struggling with reading the individual words.
- Interesting stories – choose an author who has written stories that your child will be interested in. This study is not the best time to try to force your child to read fantasy books if they usually prefer sports stories.
Authors like Roald Dahl (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda), and Lois Lowry (The Giver, Number the Stars), and Judy Blume (Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Superfudge) are great examples of authors who would be perfect for an author study.
Read the Books
Read at least three of the author’s books with your child. Of course, you can always read more than three if your child is interested in reading more. Once you have read several of the books, there are many activities you can do with those books.
- Compare and Contrast – fill out a Venn diagram comparing and contrasting two of the books. You could compare the books in general or just focus on the settings of the books or the main characters.
- Theme – find the theme of each book that you read. Then try to find an overarching theme for all the books. Often times an author will have a message that they are trying to get across in all their books such as friendship, family, or truthfulness.
Study the Author
Help your child find information about the author of the books you have read. You can find information about a whole list of popular children’s authors at the Scholastic Book Club website. Encourage your child to try to understand why the author chose to write the books they did or use the themes they did.
Doing an author study is a fun way to read a little further into a set of books by trying to understand the author and their choices in writing. What author would your child enjoy studying?