My K-5 Author Studies

Posted on October 28, 2009


Here’s a very basic list of the Author Studies I use for each grade I teach:

K – Gene Zion (Harry the Dirty Dog books)

– Else Holmelund Minarik (Little Bear books)

– Paulette Bourgeois (Franklin books)

– Maurice Sendak

– Barbara Park (Junie B Jones)

– Norman Bridwell (Clifford)

– Dr. Seuss

– Bill Cosby  (Little Bill books)


1st – Patricia Polacco

– Tomie de Paola

– H.E. Rey

– William Steig

– Marc Brown

– Mary Pope Osborne (MTH series)

– Stan and Jan Berenstain

-Arnold Lobel

– H.M. Bemelman (Madeline)

– Laurent de Brunhoff (Babar)

-Ezra Jack Keats


2nd – Patricia Reilly Giff

– Suzy Kline (Horrible Harry series)

-Chris Van Allsburg

– Magic School Bus

– Peggy Parish (Amelia Bedelia)



3rd – Debbie Dadey and ? Jones – (Bailey School series)

– Laura Ingalls Wilder

– Beverly Cleary

– Chris Van Allsburg


4th – Shel Silverstein (esp. Lafcadio)

– Gertrude Chandler Warner (Boxcar children series)

– Roald Dahl

– R.L. Stine

– Louis Sachar (esp. Sideways Stories)

– James Barrie


5th – Lemony Snicket

– Mark Twain

– Edgar Allan Poe

– J.R.R. Tolkien

– J.K. Rowling

– Antoine de Saint Exupery (Little Prince)


I don’t always do the same authors every year with the same grade; I vary it depending upon the students’ reading levels and interests.  I also find new authors to keep myself from getting bored.


For each author, I start out with their biography, usually on powerpoint.  Sometimes I print out a large photograph or portrait of the author, and pass it among the students, having them call out their observations, and make inferences about the person’s personality, etc.  That is always interesting, since each class has such different ideas.


The students really like to know about the authors when they were the same age as they are, so I try to include that.  They also like to know if they married, had kids, what their kids names were, when/how they died, etc.  I think it makes it all more real for them, and helps them to see the author as a real person not that different from themselves.


Then I do different activities for each author.  We read a variety of their works.  Sometimes I have art or craft activities for them to complete.  After we finish reading they may prepare and stage a puppet show based on what we’ve read, and present it to another class.


At other times they make a movie of the story, or a continuation.  Murals are fun, too.  Frequently I have a contest at the end, based on the books we read and the author we studied.  I do word searches, crosswords, cryptograms, trivia contests, and seeing how many words you can make out of a phrase.  Winners get candy or a prize from my prize cabinet.


I also show movies of the author’s works, and we compare them to what we read.  They are very good about pointing out any changes made to the original stories.  We also talk about making the books into movies ourselves, and who we would cast to play each part.



Posted in: Authors, Lesson Plans