During the first two weeks of school, I engage my first grade students in an author study. This is a great way to introduce your students to the elements of literature and your favorite author. I personally love Eric Carle and find him to be a hit with most kids because of the nature of his stories. His illustrations are also very recognizable for young readers.

How to: I begin by telling the students about the author. I show pictures of the author and give a brief history of the author’s life. Each day I read a selection from one of Eric Carle’s collection of books. After a story has been read, the story is discussed in detail (title, author, patterns in the illustrations, story plot, etc.). Using large chart paper, I make a large graph to hang during our author study. The graph is something that we fill in as we read each book. The graph allows us to see commonalities between the books the author has written. An example of the graph categories are:

Book Title     Kind of Pictures     Main Idea     Main Characters     Setting     Problem     Solved?

I then lead the class in a written activity based on what we discussed about the book. I have on hand a copy of the front cover of the book (for the kids to refer to) and an overhead projector. I use a transparency of the “Author Study Worksheet” on the overhead projector and guide the students through the completion of their own worksheet. This activity is a great way to assess your students’ handwriting and speed during those first days of school.

Extension: For each book we study, I also have the students engage in a follow-up art activity in which they can make a character or something related to the book.

An author study can be a great project for any time of the year. Complete one so children understand what an author study entails. Children can then choose their own author to study by reading from their collection.

These are the books I suggest by Eric Carle:

[asa]0399247459[/asa]The Very Hungry Caterpillar

[asa]0064431622[/asa]The Mixed-Up Chameleon

[asa]0399237313[/asa]The Honeybee and the Robber

[asa]0399215921[/asa]The Very Busy Spider

[asa]1416979166[/asa]The Very Foolish Tortoise

[asa]1416903097[/asa]A House for Hermit Crab

[asa]0698118308[/asa]Little Cloud

[asa]0399227741[/asa]The Very Lonely Firefly

[asa]0689822464[/asa]Pancakes, Pancakes!

A list of additional authors for your study can be viewed here.