The "To Understand List" is a forum for discussing Ellin Keene's latest book To Understand: New Horizons in Reading Comprehension. The discussion is progressing chapter by chapter with approximately two weeks for each chapter.
Author Studies are a powerful teaching tool. There is no better way to turn kids on to reading than to build a community joined by a great book. The goal of an author study is to make a connection between a book and an author's life. This shows children that authors are real people, develops motivation to seek out other work by the same author and hopefully inspires children to write.
When beginning an author study you should set up a corner in your room that represents the author. Place a large photo of the author along with information about their life. I like to make a poster and have the children decorate it. Also, I place artifacts that represent the author's life. For example, for Patricia Polacco I place a miniature rocking chair because she like to rock as she writes. This corner creates the special bond and let's everyone who enters your room know you are conducting an author study.