Guest Author - Alissa Moy
Featuring an author monthly is an idea that works for any homeschool age group. The first step is to create a list of authors you would like to use for the school year. These authors might coincide with current studies, be all time family favorites, or authors you may want to learn more about. This idea can be done with every grade, using authors ranging from Mercer Mayer to H.A. Rey to Beverly Cleary.
Once you have created a plan for your featured authors each month, set up an area in your home or homeschool classroom to display this information. Poster sized pictures from the author's best known stories, a list of notable books, or even a printed copy of the author's picture is great to display. Decide how many stories you plan to read by this author, and how often. A starting point for the Elementary grades, non chapter books, is one a week. For older students reading medium sized chapter books two are usually sufficient. Read aloud family times are often perfect for these stories, as everyone can enjoy re-reading classics or discovering them anew. Utilize the library and book stores to explore the author you choose.
Other activities include researching the author. Many books still contain an "about the author" section , most often on the back flap. Use the Web to google the author (do this yourself to check for an appropriate site) and garnish information about him or her. Kidsreads is a fun and engaging site with a variety of author resources and child book reviews. Once you have gathered information about the author you are studying you can prepare a project. Writing about the author in a journal, creating a posterboard, or doing an oral report dressed as the author can be great ways to solidfy understanding of the author's works.
Art is a way to add to the fun of studying an author. Create endings of your own to some of your chosen author's beloved stories. Illustrate the pictures, create a collage to represent the author, or draw and color your favorite story parts.
Utilize writing skills to write a book review, complete Venn Diagrams comparing and contrasting the books, and create a list of books you hope the author might write in the future. Don't forget to access sites that are owned by the authors, many of them have ways your child can write to them and request a "fan pack" or even get a personal response. Also on their website there are often games for children, lesson plans and resources, as well as information on appearances the author may be making. You never know when your favorite author might come to town!
However you choose to celebrate your featured author be sure to have fun and enjoy the delight in Reading.