Embarking on an author study with young minds goes far beyond the pages of a book—it’s about fostering curiosity, sparking creativity, and igniting a passion for learning. In the realm of elementary classrooms, author studies become a powerful tool for cultivating a love for reading, writing, and exploration. The following author study activities invite you to step “Beyond the Book” as we delve into the captivating world of The Questioneers Series written by Andrea Beaty, where characters like Ada Twist Scientist, Iggy Peck Architect, and Sofia Valdez Future Prez come to life with boundless curiosity and ingenuity.
How to do an Author Study
When starting an author study the first step is to explore all the books of whatever author you have decided to study. It might be helpful to gather as many of the books as you can to share with students. As a class, we talk about our schemas and if we have ever encountered any of the books before. Then, we explore the books. Sometimes I even have them out for students to look through and read on their own a few days before we begin.
Another great way to get to know an author is to see if they have a website or if they have any recorded interviews to share with your students. If you’re lucky the author maybe has a recording of themselves reading one of their stories too.
Next, we dive into the first book by the author. I tell my students about some key things we will be looking for as we read. They can silently store them as they listen. This is a huge part of being an inclusive teacher. It accommodates all students, but also students who need more support to recall facts or events in a text.
Then, depending on the length of the text I will reread the text pausing for the key components we were looking for: character, setting, problem, solution, moral or lesson, etc. If it is a longer text I will skim through jumping to where those elements were found and explore the page with students. Again, by going through the elements together with your class you set up a higher percentage of students for success with comprehension and when asked to summarize. I try to offer multiple opportunities to have students practice summarizing throughout the year. The skill is so helpful with not only author studies but throughout their reading experiences.
After surfacing the key elements in the story and going through the summarization process, making text connections naturally occurs. When selecting an author you may want to think of what other skills you can naturally make connections with. Finding text-to-text connections can be a great focus for author studies.
Why Should I Do Author Study Activities with My Students?
There are so many reasons why author studies are a great addition to your classroom. First, they build critical thinking skills through comparing and contrasting themes and writing styles, making connections between the reader and their work and from the reader to themselves. Next, you are exposing your students to different authors of course who have different voices, styles, and experiences that have shaped their writing. Another one of my favorite reasons to incorporate author study activities is that your students are making deeper connections to the books they read. This might be just the series that inspires a child in your classroom to love reading and that is the best!
The Questioneers Series
The Questioneers Series written by Andrea Beaty is a great author study for elementary students. It’s easy for students to make text-to-self connections because the main characters are elementary-aged children who go through similar challenges and successes and have interests just like the students in our classrooms. This series also lends very nicely to text-to-world connections, because the characters are mirroring adult interests such as engineers, architects, teachers, illustrators, scientists, and government leaders. Many of our students have seen these people and their products in their community and the world around them.
Let’s take a closer look at the books in this series…
Aaron is a boy who loves stories, listening to them and telling them, but he struggles with reading. He learns to express his stories through his beautiful illustrations while he continues to work hard on his reading skills.
Click here to purchase a copy of Aaron Slater, Illustrator in my Amazon Store.
Iggy is a little boy who has always loved to build. His family and friends have always loved and supported his passion. When he gets to school his teacher feels differently and his passion is quickly drained until he gets the perfect opportunity to prove why engineering is very important in all parts of our lives.
Click here to purchase a copy of Iggy Peck, Architect from my Amazon Store.
Rosie is a girl who loves inventing ways to solve problems. She comes up with the wildest, outside-the-box ideas to help others using her inventions. Some are a success and some are not. She learns a valuable lesson that even our mistakes and failures are successes.
Click here to purchase Rosie Revere, Engineer from my Amazon Store.
Ada is a little girl who didn’t speak for her first years. She never saw the need to, until one day she wanted to know “why?” From that day forward she spent each waking moment researching, experimenting, and searching for the answers to her many, many questions. Can you help her solve the last problem she has in the story?
Click here to purchase Ada Twist, Scientist from my Amazon Store.
Lila is a girl who worries a lot about the “what-ifs” in life. One of her teachers teaches her a valuable lesson about “what-ifs” and how she can turn them into positives. Though she does still worry from time to time growing up and as an adult she becomes an amazing teacher using that lesson she learned again and again.
Click here to purchase a copy of Lila Greer, Teacher of the Year from my Amazon Store.
The resources in these reading comprehension units focus on the author’s purpose as well as summarizing the text. You can purchase the individual units by clicking on the titles or images above or all together with my Author Study Bundle. The Questioneers Series books can be purchased by clicking on the Amazon links above. (As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)
Check out another one of my author study activities here for free!