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Exploring Biography through an Author Study: Jan Brett

Author: Charlena Watson


S. Weir Mitchell Elementary School

Year: 2016

Seminar: Biography as History, or, Perhaps, History as Biography

Grade Level: 1-2

Keywords: biography, Critical thinking

School Subject(s): English, Language Arts, Literature

This curriculum unit will help students build critical thinking skills by having them analyze text and illustrations and make connections between an author’s life and his/her work.  This interdisciplinary unit will focus on a variety of activities and strategies.  Author studies promote reading as a learning and thinking tool and provides models of good literature and writing. Students will make connections between texts that lead to analysis of theme, character, setting and point of view.  By studying the works of a particular author, students will also be motivated to know more about the author ad understand that biographies give an account of a person’s life.  Students will bring knowledge of the author’s life to life by interpreting their stories.  Biographies are stories about real people.  A biographer recounts an individual’s life story and needs to attend to the literary elements of a narrative that comprise a compelling story such as plot, theme, character development, and setting.  Biographies work well when readers can identify with these life stories.

The culminating activity will be for the students to create a biography on a notable person of their choice based on biographies that have been made available in the classroom as well as the school library.

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